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10 Ways To Avoid Accidents With Horses

1. If your horse does something he has never done before, such as act up when you put the saddle or bridle on. Realize something is wrong and do not get on. Take him to the round pen and work the horse, get rid of his energy, then put saddle back on and round pen, to make sure something with the saddle is not bothering him. Put on the bridle and without getting on, put pressure on the reins. Turn him both ways and back him up. If still not normal do not ride today.

2. Your horse is normally not spooky but he just spooked at something. Realize something is wrong, Do not get on. Take your horse to round pen and work him and desensitize him until he is no longer spooky. If he continues to be spooky do not ride today.

3. Your horse kicks out. This is a sign of pain or frustration. Do not get on, figure out what is causing your horse to kick out. Is it pain or is he protesting he doesn't want to do something. Get his respect. If he still kicks out, do not get on.

4. If your horse is rearing or bucking in the round pen when loose, or in the pasture, your horse is feeling too good for you to get on. Work him in the pasture or round pen until he no longer is rearing or bucking and is quiet and relaxed, otherwise do not get on.

5. Your horse moves when you go to get on. Work him from the ground until he will stand still without anyone holding him. If he won't stand still, do not climb on. You need to get rid of his anxiety and get him relaxed and standing still before you climb on. Today you should not ride but work him until he stands still. If he has never stood still, then you are just waiting for an issue to happen. Get a trainer to help you. 

6. Your horse has not been worked in a couple days. Horses need to get rid of their energy, otherwise they will be reactive to things and not calmly handle situations. Work your horses energy off before you get on.

7. The weather has changed from warm to cold or It is windy out or maybe there is construction or a show at the barn. All these things, will make your horse more reactive. Work their energy off and their brain until they are thinking instead of reacting. 

8. Your horse is just not acting normal. Horses can not speak and tell you they are in pain. They will show you they are in pain by reacting to it. So if they have back pain and you put a saddle on, and get on. The back pain is now worse and they may buck or rear from the pain. If your horse is just not acting right, do not get on. If you cannot figure it out, call the trainer and the vet.

9. Do not walk in front of or behind a horse acting up. Keep your distance as horses can react very fast and get away from the handler. Same thing with riding, if a horse is acting up keep your horses away from it. If your horse begins to feed off the horse acting up, then separate the horses, or get off and walk home. Everyone needs exercise. If you don't you may not be able to walk if you fall off. 

10. Today the arena or trails are just crazy. Your horse begins to act up as he cannot handle the situation. Immediately get off while you have time and do not ride today. There are many days to ride. The only way to keep those days is by reading your horses behavior and not taking chances. 

REMEMBER - Always observe your horse's behavior and stay in the moment. If you want to stay in the saddle, you need to observe how your horse acts every day. You also have to be up to the challenge of riding. So if you are tired or just don't feel good yourself, then stay off your horse and do not let anyone pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with.

Gaye DeRusso
Published on 2019-07-01