Avoid being kicked by a horse

Avoid being kicked by a horse

As Mikki mentioned, Moonshine injured her hoof a little while ago and we’ve been treating it several times a day. Each treatment consists of cleaning out the wound, applying an antiseptic spray and then packing it with an antibiotic. The treatment calls for close personal contact with my horse’s left rear hoof, exactly the kind of position that leaves a human vulnerable to serious injury from a kicking horse.

Everytime I’m around a horse, I’m always especially careful around the rear legs, both beside them and behind them. I’ve read that you need to read the horse’s body language and pay attention while you’re walking around them. I’m not scared, mind you, but I am cautious. Part of it is because I’m new to horses, part is because previous injuries have taught me to be cautious around anything dangerous. And part of my nervousness is from the video below. I saw this video before we ever seriously considered buying a horse. And while it seems most people find it funny, it reminds me just how powerful horses are and just how quickly something can go wrong. Now even if you’re not planning on branding your own horses (I’m not), there is still a lesson to be learned here. WARNING: there is some audio, in which is an implied expletive. The video is 3 seconds long so it won’t take long to load:

Did you see how fast that horse was able to kick? We don’t get to see the damage (thankfully) but I’m sure at the very least it hurt alot.

So here are a few simple tips I’ve learned so far for avoiding injury when working horses’ legs and hooves:

  1. Spend a few minutes with the horse before touching its rump or legs. Even if you’ve had the horse for a while, you need to know what kind of mood it’s in, if it’s spooked, nervous or upset.
  2. When walking beside and around the horse gently pat and rub it as you go and notice any apprehension on the part of the horse.
  3. Don’t take your eyes off of the horse when walking closely to the rear end, in particular. Pay attention to its body language and what it’s doing with its feet.
  4. Don’t walk directly behind the horse. Give yourself at least an arm’s length of buffer room.
  5. Be mindful of things that could spook your horse. A barking dog down the road, a car driving by, other horses, you sneezing, an evil plastic bag blowing in the wind, a snake in her stall, etc. If you’re in the wrong spot when your horse is spooked, it takes a fraction of a second for the horse to react and that could mean serious injury or death.

I’m sure there are many more practical tips but these have so far kept us from being kicked.

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