Are Horses Dangerous To Humans

James Smith
• Saturday, 21 November, 2020
• 17 min read

My “what-if” mentality persisted well into adulthood until I finally realized that there was a lot I could do to decrease the chances of dangerous horse experiences. While horses can be dangerous, risks can be substantially mitigated with things like knowledge, situational awareness, and safety equipment.

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Yet, if you ask any seasoned equestrian about how the risks associated with horses influence their decisions to ride, the vast majority will tell you that danger and injury are a negligible part of horse riding and pale in comparison to the appeal of horse/human partnership. Most equestrians agree they gain far more than they risk by spending time with horses.

Practical preparedness includes, at minimum, a proper-fitting helmet, safe footwear, and a qualified coach or mentor. Boots that are safe for horseback riding have at least a 1 heel that minimizes the chances of accidentally getting stuck in the stirrups during a fall and causing you to be dragged by the horse.

Boots with heels also help you keep your feet securely in the stirrups, increasing your balance, while riding. Safety gear is essential, but finding a qualified and knowledgeable equestrian guide also is critical.

The emergency dismount is a method of jumping off a horse’s back quickly in case things get out of hand. Stay Calm If you haven’t noticed already, you will soon find that horses are incredibly intuitive animals.

Instead, they simply sense your fear, and think that your emotions are cueing them in on a greater danger… like tigers! There are several things that new horse riders can learn from basic equine psychology.

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Another thing you need to realize is that horses can be startled easily, so don’t make big, sudden movements around them. Likewise, don’t make loud and unprecedented noises that might scare them.

A strong but peaceful presence will foster trust between you and any horse you encounter. We get to interact with remarkable, profoundly intuitive creatures that genuinely want to be our friends.

She focuses on communication between horse and rider, with an emphasis in kind training tactics. She resides in Auburn, WA, USA, with her husband, and daylights as a non-profit administrator.

I just bought a 14.3 hand Quarter horse and I believe she was beaten by someone very badly. I have tried bringing her out short but that won't work either.

She is only about 7 (I think) I don't know because she is VERY head shy and won't let any one touch her teeth. It's the humans who abused the animal who are the villains here and the dangerous ones.

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Gaining the trust of a horse is like rehabilitating an abused human. It would require a very consistent program of basic interaction that was geared to help the animal come to trust.

Bear in mind it is not as much about this horse as it is your skills as a trainer. Every 'good' experience, where the human is able to appropriately and successfully lead an action, is how the animal comes to trust a human's interaction and communication again.

Remember your horse is innocent, no matter how the rehabilitation goes. Some abuse is too severe to be overcome very fast.

However, I have yet to encounter a horse that did not respond favorably to appropriate, respectful, thoughtful and 'right on' communication. Your intention is extremely important along with your skills to 'read' the horse ADN to keep yourself safe.

I would forget riding for a little while and concentrate on getting your relationship together on the ground. Appropriate simple activity (leading, backing, stopping, turning, side passing) that you lead the horse through consciously is like a dance that helps the two partners get connected.

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If you are very skilled, the horse will dictate the time frame. You or someone else could get hurt........... Try to have a vet check this horse to make certain there is no pain that is contributing to her problems.

During her second journey through “America’s Outback,” the experienced Long Rider made a discovery regarding equine behavior. Her eyewitness experiences resulted in the creation of a simple, effective and inexpensive device that could save human lives.

While those who inhabit an urbanized world may be unaware of it, horses have long presented a potentially lethal threat to humans and other animals. The image (above) shows a mustang stallion in Wyoming’s Red Desert trying to kill a dog owned by photographer Rob Palmer.

The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration explains that for the first time in history large numbers of humanity have no meaningful daily experience with the animal world. Professor Richard Bullet has warned there is a danger connected to not understanding animals accurately.

Bullet is a professor of history at Columbia University, one of whose specialities am the influence of animals in the development of human society. Bullet contends that in our current era civilized man has undergone a sea-change in terms of his relationship with animals.

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The result, Bullet cautions is, “a pronounced humanization of companion animals that shows up particularly in their becoming characters in novels, movies, and cartoons.” Thus, the average human being’s daily knowledge of animal nature has diminished to an alarming extent.

In the movie, The Lion King, for example, prey animals, such as a Meerut and warthog, are depicted as wise teachers who counsel the predator. Yet thanks to a variety of recent cultural misconceptions, horses are now commonly depicted as being peaceful herbivores that lack any defense except flight.

Advocates of his theory have forgotten about the “Sultan Stallions” who were observed utterly destroying wolves on the Central Asian steppes. Nor was this equine aggression restricted to one sex, as was proved by Rosette the French army mare who gleefully disemboweled enemy soldiers during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

For example, because of Josef Stalin’s ruthless agricultural policies, 47 % of all Russian horses, fifteen million animals, were lost in the two-year period of 1928 to 1930. As a result of the overall demise of horses in farming, military and travel in the last century, the groundwork was laid for the unforeseen formation of an intellectual equestrian vacuum.

Adding to this collective human amnesia is the contributing fact that the vast majority of people who are still involved with horses primarily limit their dealings to mares and geldings. Thus, despite thousands of years of evidence indicating how dangerous equines can be, millions of people have become largely out of touch with the natural world of horses.

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It may be true that if a horse is presented with an act of deliberate aggression, say a snarling wolf, he may flee. The horse is an agile athlete who can run, jump, rear and turn round in less than the length of his body.

His supple neck sways like a rearing cobra, ready to strike with a mouthful of dangerous teeth. Scientists have established that receiving a horse kick is similar to being struck by a bowling ball travelling at 80 mph.

When horses use their front hooves aggressively, a blow is struck by the sharp edge of the hoof which smashes their enemy into jelly. This used to be such a common occurrence that Charles Dickens’s killed off a prominent character in Great Expectations by having the man die in this manner.

By matching their agility to their ability to deliver crippling blows, horses can strike left, right and backwards with incredible precision. Victims of such an attack, be they harmless humans or dangerous predators, have had their skulls shattered, bones fractured and internal organs severely injured by such heavy blows.

To understand what destructive and powerful weapon’s a horse’s teeth can be, we need only recall the description of one of the many victims of the “Man Eater of Lucknow.” According to nineteenth-century English authors, Great Britain’s King George IV presented a beautiful bay thoroughbred to his fellow monarch, the Maharajah of Rude.

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For reasons not yet determined, after the horse arrived in India he became a repeated killer and thus earned his blood-soaked name. An English journalist, William Knight on, was almost slain by this ferocious beast, who had escaped captivity.

This occurred when Knight on chanced upon a trampled bloody mass which bore a faint resemblance to a human figure. When he stopped the buggy to satisfy his curiosity, the journalist discovered it was the corpse of a native woman who had been terribly disfigured by the horse which was terrorizing the city of Lucknow.

“The body was bruised and lacerated in all directions, the scanty drapery torn from the form; the face had been crushed by teeth into a shapeless mass; the long matted hair, which fell in bundles over the road, was all clotted with blood. The attack, which occurred in Sunderland, England in 2012, left Steven with bite marks, bruising and swelling on his chest.

The combination of agility, strength, speed, deadly kicks and meat-ripping teeth allows a horse to inflict terrible wounds or kill his opponent with relative ease should he feel the need to defend himself. Many people lump horses in with cows; believing them to be non-violent herbivores who use their teeth to nibble succulent greenery.

Though he is well known today for having created Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a devoted student of history and a keen observer of deadly horses. In his book, Sir Nigel, Conan Doyle not only provided a lengthy account of the Hundred Years War, he described the actions of a stallion who had slain many men.

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The infuriated horse catches the victim in his teeth, shakes him viciously, throws him into the air and then stomps him to death. In 1886, he killed his last victim, a Canadian groom named Brady, by shaking the man to death.

The combination of agility, strength, speed, deadly kicks and meat-ripping teeth allows a horse to inflict terrible wounds or kill his opponent with relative ease should he feel threatened or the need to defend himself. For example, English Long Rider James Wentworth Day wrote, “Anyone who has been chased by a stallion, as I once was, will not forget the nightmare of those bared teeth, flashing eyes and blood-curdling screams.

This seldom understood part of the horse’s nature hasn’t disappeared and Long Riders have encountered aggressive equines in a variety of countries. Bill Holt in France, Jane Dot chin in England, Temple Abernathy in America, Memo Phillips in Spain, Henry Savage Lander in Tibet and Bonnie Folk ins in Mongolia, all endured aggressive attacks by equines.

Nor are many miles any guarantee of success, as one of the world’s most well-travelled Long Riders was nearly killed by a horse. American Long Rider Bernice End has ridden more than 25,000 miles during the eight journeys she has made in the United States and Canada.

With several thousand miles under her saddle, the experienced traveler left the paved road, opened a gate, entered a large fenced area, rode a quarter of a mile into the open countryside and made camp as the sun set. She had no tent, so after placing her mare, Honor, on a 25-foot picket line, the weary Long Rider got into her sleeping bag.

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In addition to camping close to a water hole, unbeknownst to Bernice, a large drum of shelled corn had been put out as bait for wild pigs. After scrambling out of her sleeping bag, the terrified Long Rider began fighting for her life.

To protect herself and Honor, Bernice tried to drive the stallion off by swinging and hitting the aggressive animal with a rope. In keeping with the tradition of an attacking equine, he came at Bernice with a lowered head and with his ears laid back.

After she managed to saddle Honor, Bernice tried to escape but became lost in the dark and couldn’t find her way back to the gate. Having been overcome with fear, the seasoned traveler sat on the frost covered ground and wept with relief.

She has had other close calls, Bernice told the reporter, including encounters with grizzly bears, but that nighttime attack was the worst experience she has ever endured. Though he is more often remembered as the “father of evolution,” English Long Rider Charles Darwin was an avid equestrian traveler who rode in South America, Africa and Australia.

“ Horses when savage,” Darwin wrote, “draw their ears closely back, protrude their heads, and partially uncover their incisor teeth, ready for biting…. Every one recognizes the vicious appearance which the drawing back of the ears gives to a horse. And luckily Samantha Szesciorka realized that a common household item could be turned into a potent weapon for self-defense.

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In the summer of 2016, Samantha completed her second extensive journey through the wild horse country of northern Nevada. In stark contrast, Samantha and Sage found themselves either being inspected by curious mustangs or fending off attacks by aggressive wild stallions.

But one notable exception occurred when a herd of fifty wild horses boldly galloped up and entered the Long Rider’s camp. Having endured multiple encounters with wild horses, Samantha gave serious thought to how she might protect herself and Sage from curious or aggressive equines.

I tied an ordinary plastic bag (like you get in a grocery store) to the end of a short English riding crop. Multiple tests, done in the field, with varying numbers of wild horses, proved the effectiveness of Samantha’s device.

So when they charged, I simply pulled out the crop and gave it a few shakes (this inflates the bag and makes that distinctive crinkly sound). And in recalling how Bernice End endured a nighttime attack, Samantha learned that the device works equally well in the dark.

“Unfortunately, the attacks often came in the middle of the night when I was fast asleep, so I took to keeping the crop/plastic bag contraption in my tent with me, so I could rush out to defend Sage. Given the aggressive behavior demonstrated by some Nevada mustangs, a person might be forgiven for thinking that all wild horses are potentially dangerous.

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In fact another Long Rider, making a journey at the exact same time, on a different continent, proves otherwise. Kimberley Delivered is a young Long Rider who is making a 3,500-mile solo ride along Australia's tough Bicentennial National Trail.

Having studied wild horses for several years, Samantha has had time to digest her experiences, reflect on them, and develop perspective. Yet Samantha’s journeys into the sparsely populated and remote regions of Nevada confirm that horses which have little or no interaction with humans can present a potential threat.

The well-known Australian explorer, Mr. Stuart, recorded a striking account of stupefied amazement together with terror which resulted when an Aborigine native witnessed a mounted man for the first time. He stood incapable of moving a limb, riveted to the spot, mouth open and eyes staring.

That might seem to be a quaint episode from the colonial past, except for the fact that as fewer people journey on horseback the sense of amazement has returned when pedestrians witness the unexpected arrival of a Long Rider. Case in point happened in 2011 when Long Riders Billy Benchley and Christine Hence arrived in Uganda.

It is by being accidentally caught up in such a reaction that most humans are hurt by horses. Horses also learn behaviors to avoid anything they regard as a negative experience, such as being worked, which may cause harm to an unwary handler.

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Horses kick at each other in play and dominance disputes, rarely intending much harm, but sometimes causing accidental damage. Kicking is doubly dangerous because captive horses often have steel shoes on their feet, increasing the force of any impact.

If no longer cared for appropriate, the horse can strengthen into advise and attempt to injure you. And in case you holiday them improperly, you are able to heavily harm your self, as an occasion if a horse dollars.

And in case you do something by potential of mistake, like walk around the rear end of a horse devoid of signifying you're there, the horse can kick you unknowingly and that can consequence in intense injuries. I wouldn't say they were dangerous, but they are strong and powerful horses, Even if they did hurt you it would be unintentionally.

Horses are large and powerful animals, and they are perfectly capable of injuring a person, even if unintentionally. But, while the risk is there, it's lessened greatly as long as you respect the horse and don't do anything stupid.

I don't feel they are dangerous as a rule but an animal that large should be respected as being powerful enough to hurt you if it becomes mad. A: We all get a sense that our horses recognize us by our appearance or the sound of our voice, and that they can distinguish us from strangers or less familiar people.

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Certainly we know horses learn associations between a person coming around an expected time and their getting fed, turned out, or exercised. One very old study showed that horses depended on facial features as well as clothing to recognize individuals.

A number of more recent studies have shown that horses seem to be able to tell when the audio recording of the voice and the sight of familiar handlers match u p; that is, compared to when the voice recording is from a different person than the one a horse is shown. This is known as “cross-modal recognition,” because the horses were asked to combine multiple sensory cues.

So these studies suggest that horses, too, are relying on both immediate cues and some representation in their memory. A number of studies show that, in some manner, horses respond to what a person is paying attention to.

And in all the studies, the horses spent more time reacting to the cues that were most incongruent, such as the mismatched audio and visual presentations of people or the known command given by an unfamiliar person. I think both our experiences and the science tell us that horses probably best recognize individual people by using all sorts of cues together: voice, physical characteristics, typical postures and movements, and the sequence of things happening the way they’ve learned to expect them to happen based on simple conditioning and reinforcement.

Although extremely rare, horse to human disease transmission is possible. Is Rarely there an obvious bite wound, so veterinarians often look for signs of colic, vague lameness and neurological problems.

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Higher incidences of anthrax occur in Arkansas, South Dakota, Louisiana, Missouri and California. Though the disease is commonly contracted by touching contaminated nasal discharge, the animals usually present with a cough that can contain airborne bacteria.

In horses, it causes severe eye inflammation, abortions and renal disease. MRSA Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium found in skin wounds and the respiratory tract.

It causes respiratory infection, neurological disease and death in quick succession. After being exposed to infected body fluids, the patients suffered severe flu-like symptoms.

Salmonellosis, Guardian and Crytoporidium barium To put it bluntly, all of these cause diarrhea. When dealing with sick horses wear gloves, change clothes after handling affected individuals and wash hands frequently.

It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat with dirty hands if you’re around a potentially sick horse. Ringworm This fungal infection is easily transmitted from horses to humans.

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Gloves and frequent hand washing are recommended when dealing with any possibly infected skin lesion. Author’s Note: The original version of this article stated Lyme disease, EGE and He could be contracted via your horse.

At the last horse show I was at I saw a man in a cast and the first thing I asked was, “Horse related accident?” to which he responded, “No, I just tripped.” We both laughed and I told him he really needed a better story, or at least a better build up. This spring my 14-year-old nephew broke his ankle/leg when he landed wrong during basketball.

There are many interesting products out there to help reduce the chance of injury. Riding helmets are the most widely known and recommended piece of safety equipment.

Others include safety vests and break away stirrups. PDF will be delivered to the email address you enter as will weekly tip from Stacy.

Utah has plenty of wild animals that are good candidates for being most deadly to humans : Rattlesnakes abound, cougars prowl the foothills, bears raid campsites and irritated elk may charge. Health officials say no humans were known to have died at the fangs, claws, teeth or antlers of those members wild.

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Health officials recommend equestrians wear an approved helmet, with the chin strap fastened, to prevent head injuries in a fall. But that isn't total insurance: actor Christopher Reeves was wearing a helmet when he fell from a horse and was left a paraplegic.

A distant second on the health department's list of deadly lifeforms is the insect kingdom, which accounted for four deaths. Three people died of reactions to bee stings; another succumbed to septic shock caused by an insect bite infection.

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