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The Way To Approach a Horse For The First Time
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The Way To Approach a Horse For The First Time

Approaching a horse refers to making the initial contact with it. There are different types of horses regarding their reaction to the person approaching them; some might get very anxious and disturbed while others cannot get frightened that easily. A horse’s reaction to a person approaching could manifest either in kicking, biting, or running away. It’s not hard to maintain a good connection with a horse if you do it the right way.

Let Him Know You're There

It’s always a bad idea to approach a horse from behind. Its reaction to a person sneaking upon could be critical; it could instinctively kick out or run away in a frightened manner. While walking towards a horse, it’s the best idea to refer to it in a calm and soft voice. It’s recommended that the horse be able to both hear and see you while you are approaching him. In any case, you must not approach the horse from behind. If there’s no other way to walk to it but from the rear side, make sure that the horse can hear you approaching.

Avoid Loud Noises

Being prey animals, horses generally react adversely to loud and scary noises. Any disturbing sound, whether it’s screaming, yelling or shouting or just loud uttering, can make horses very nervous and restless. It’s important to be calm and controlled while walking towards horse as well as while handling it. It takes patience and time until the horse gets used to your presence as well as loud sounds you may make.

Let the Horse Smell You

While making your first contact with a particular horse, it’s advisable to calmly reach your hands towards it to let him smell your fingers if needed. Horses are wired in such a manner of being able to feel and distinguish possible dangers from food while using their smell sense. In such case, it’s recommended to offer the horse some food and what’s even more important is to let him eat it from your hand. While doing so, put the food on your palm and keep your fingers entirely flat and together in order to avoid any potential biting. Caress the horse gently on its muzzle, neck and sideways after it has smelled your scent. If the horse doesn’t reject you petting him, you are most likely looking at developing a good connection as it has accepted you being near.

Problem Behavior

Due to many circumstances, particular horses are very hard to approach and thus likely very dangerous. In any case, you must not chase a horse while it tries to run away. If the horse behaves in the manner of pinning its ears, bearing its teeth, kicking or rearing, you should immediately stop whatever you’re doing and move away from it. Such behavior signal that an intervention by a professional trainer is required to maintain the safety of every person nearby. You should never go into the stall or pasture with a horse you haven’t established a connection with unless you get permission from a professional trainer to do so under their supervision.

 

Image source: Flickr's Creative Commons

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