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Are Horses In Danger

author
Maria Garcia
• Wednesday, 25 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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Contents

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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(Source: funny-pic24.blogspot.com)

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.

We are talking about an animal that on average can weigh up to 1200 pounds and can accelerate up to speeds of 55 mph. Knowing this upfront can help a person stay safer when around their equine counterparts; whether it be in simple contact situations, training, riding, or all of the above.

Many of the horse’s natural behavior patterns, such as herd-formation and social facilitation of activities, are directly related to their being a prey species. Firstly, have knowledge pertaining to the amount of training the horse you are preparing to handle has had.

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Depending on what this horses have or has not been exposed to may help you to gauge what moves you make to maintain as much safety as possible. Walking up to any horse, especially one that has not had much contact with humans, requires you to be aware of your own body language.

If you walk up briskly to a horse and expect to throw a halter over their muzzle, you may be greeted with nothing but a tail following a burst of speed moving far, far away from you (there’s that flight response). In comparison, if you are walking up to a horse softly with a relaxed demeanor, hand held out in order to allow them to sniff you, you have a better chance of being able to slip a lead rope over their neck and then slowly haltering them.

Moreover, there are those horses that are distrustful and require that you take all the pressure away and approach them without making eye contact. Horses have impeccable vision and hearing, developing from years of being a prey animal.

However, they have poor depth perception and multiple blind spots due to the distance between their eyes. Referring to the figure below, it helps one to understand why a horse many spooks if approached from directly in front of or behind.

It is estimated that a horse’s kick can exert anywhere from zero to more than 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. To avoid experiencing this unwanted force to your body, knowing that a horse can kick with both feet directly backward with one or both legs, or even up and sideways with one leg (often called cow-kicking ”), always exercise caution when around the back side of a horse.

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(Source: funny-pic24.blogspot.com)

In this location, you can easily sneak into a horse’s blind spot while being in a position where you would receive the full impact of the kick. Always make sure you stand at a safe distance from your horse’s feet to ensure you are not stepped on if they decide to move unexpectedly.

You should ALWAYS wear strong, sturdy footwear when you are planning to be around horses to prevent any unforeseen issues. Unfortunately, this common response may actually cue your horse to move faster, causing the situation to progress negatively.

Vice versa, a rider who is relaxed with heels down and shoulders tall will imply confidence to their horse which will be well-received and usually returned in full. Hand placement is crucial as your contact with the reins is the equivalent to your hold on the steering wheel.

Bent elbows and a loose rein with little contact with bit unless you pull towards your pocket to slow down is ideal. If a horse is irritable, they may pin their ears back tightly against their head, swish their tail violently, etc.

If your horse is scared, you may see the whites around their eyes and will notice that they appear nervous and unsure, even frantic. If you see a sign indicating that they are irritable, whether it is at you or another horse, discipline them if it can be done safely and remove yourself in situations that may result in your harm otherwise.

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(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel that control is lost, remind yourself of the basics to the best of your ability. In times of chaos, your mind will trick you into thinking that the situation is much worse than what it is and, in turn, usually causes things to result in a less-than-desirable way.

If you can slow down and focus on the facts rather than assuming bailing is the best option, you will likely get better results without having to taste test the dirt. More than likely, animals like the Mountain Gorilla, Giant Panda, Siberian Tiger, and Black Rhinoceros would top the list of the most commonly known.

With all the talk about the overpopulation of unwanted horses in the US and concerns about excessive breeding it might seem ridiculous to consider such an idea. “We’ve been tracking equine populations for nearly 40 years now and have a pretty good idea of the status of each breed and the extent that they are endangered,” Walker says.

Of course, it’s much easier to gain public support for the preservation of the exotic Giant Panda or majestic Siberian Tiger than the humble Shire or the plucky Newfoundland Pony. Still, the Conservancy is hard at work preserving not only horse breeds, but also donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, and poultry from extinction.

Horse breeds currently in the Critical category (less than 200 annual registrations in the US and an estimated global population of less than 2,000) include the American Cream, Caspian, Cleveland Bay, Hackney Horse, Morgan-Traditional, Newfoundland Pony, Shire, Suffolk, and Colonial Spanish Strains like Banker, Choctaw, Florida Cracker, Marsh Tacky, Santa Cruz, and Wilbur-Cruce. When the Conservancy announces their 2015 list later this year, three more horse breeds will be moving into the Critical category : Aliens, Dales Ponies, and Canadians.

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(Source: horses-world.com)

Rare horse breeds in the Threatened category include the Akhal-Teke, Canadian, Colonial Spanish-Combined, Dales Pony, Dartmoor, Ex moor, and Lipizzaner. In addition to personal donation, the group provides a variety of downloadable materials to help you spread the word and share knowledge about endangered breeds at events and festivals.

Also, by purchasing products from local farmers in your area that raise heritage breeds, you can help ensure their survival. Use the Conservancy’s online directory to search for products like butter, cheese, eggs, milk, soap, wool, and fleece.

We contacted the owners of the photo and learned that the gelding, Phoenix, was a resident of a horse rescue in Washington state. We decided to take action and created the Horse Rescue Corner database to help tell the stories of the many organizations who are working for change.

“There are thousands of horses within our nation who are suffering from abuse and neglect,” explained Double D Trailers owner Brad Heath. Depending on what corner of the equine world you spend most of your time, the issue of horses needing to be rescued in the United States and Canada may be a foreign concept.

They are under-fed, under-watered, under-medicated, left alone for long periods of time in poor conditions, and sometimes even cruelly abused by their owners. Annette Garcia of the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue in California told us about many owners in her community that don’t provide enough shade and cool drinking water to accommodate horses in the 124 degree temperatures.

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(Source: www.usbornebooksathome.co.uk)

Rather than a slap on the wrist, these owners need education and resources to help provide for their animals. Bonnie Hammond from SAFE Horse Rescue in Joinville, WA explained that it is important for people to have a plan for a foal’s entire life before choosing to breed a mare.

There is an entire industry that operates in order to ship perfectly good horses to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for their meat. Nikki Branch of the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue talked about when she first learned about horse slaughter.

This means that even horses from loving homes who are responsibly sold to new owners have the potential to end up in auction houses. Discarded Amish plow horses in Pennsylvania and Ohio are easily sent to auctions where they are fast-tracked up to Canada.

Representatives are poised to vote on a new bill that may once again allow taxpayers money to be used to fund slaughter of horses within our borders. Many of the foals born from these mares are either used to replace their worn out mothers or sold at auction where they end up in the hands of meat-buyers.

In the racing industry, nurse mare foals are those young colts and fillies who are born simply so their mothers could come into milk. The unwanted foals are often killed, allowed to starve, or their hides given to tanners to create Cordovan leather products.

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(Source: www.usbornebooksathome.co.uk)

While creating the Horse Rescue Corner, we have learned many heartwarming stories of animals that were saved after being at the brink of death’s door. He was brought into the rescue years later with open sores all over his body, severely malnourished and a huge abscess on his jaw.

Orphan Acres was able to rehabilitate him and provide a loving home until his eventual death at 29 years of age. A grandson of Seattle Slew, Champion Arabian mares or stallions, one granddaughter of Secretariat, and hundreds of other horses with real potential if they were only given the training and care to excel.

Luckily, our country is also home to hundreds of kind and loving workers who make it their mission to save as many horses as possible. Check out Part II of this article where we talk more about the awesome potential of rescued horses.

They make neither, in the wild horses find a protected place to be and always have an ear listing for danger. Horses sleep standing up because out in the wild they had no protection so if there was danger they could bolt.

That is why horses have such long legs; they're built for speed. Horses in the wild, live out in the open to see danger coming, so they can get a head-start.

wild onaqui mustangs danger mountains horse
(Source: www.horsenation.com)

Horses have eyes on the side of their head; to watch for danger. Horses generally sleep standing up, so they can be prepared to run.

A year ago or so, there was an article about how wild horses were being shot, and as any hunter should know, shooting horses in specific provinces is illegal! There're coyotes and wild mountain cats, that will easily attack baby foals or even grown horses out in the wilderness.

Horses have a fight or flight instinct when it comes to facing danger. They will try to outrun the danger, but if that is not possible, or there is no place to run they will fight.

Fighting for a horse is trampling, kicking, biting, rearing, bucking, and striking No, though the management practices by the Bureau of Land Management of these feral horses are quite controversial and make many people believe that these horses may be in some level of trouble of danger, however their populations have remained stable to cause little concern...except when it comes to the opinions on the use of American public lands.

*Transportation *A way of alert when danger is near *Trading subjects *And in some unlikely cases food They run as fast as they can and hope they don't get caught, like wild horses do.

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In fact, most of the horse deaths at Santa Anita Park in recent months were due to limb injuries. For instance, in March 2019, bipartisan U.S. lawmakers introduced a federal bill, the Horse racing Integrity Act of 2019, that would create a uniform national standard for drug testing racehorses.

The Jockey Club, which works to improve Thoroughbred breeding and racing, supports the bill. “It’s time we joined the rest of the world in putting in place the best measures to protect the health and safety of our equine athletes,” the organization said in a statement.

That’s because horses have so little soft tissue in their legs that the bone often tears through skin or cuts off circulation to the rest of the limb, leaving them prone to infection. If horses can’t distribute their weight relatively evenly, they risk laminates, a potentially fatal inflammation of tissue inside the hoof.

A 2013 analysis of about five years of California horse racing data showed 184 jockey injuries from 360 reported falls. Most of the falls occurred during races and were the result of a “catastrophic injury or sudden death of the horse,” the study found.

Trainers have been accused of making an already risky situation worse by drugging horses with performance-enhancing substances or painkillers, animal welfare advocates say. If we want them to respect our privacy, we have to show them where our personal space begins.

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(Source: americanwildhorsecampaign.org)

When we show what we are and are not okay with, we’ve drawn out a sacred space where a relationship can move in and make itself a home. The lack of boundaries, on the other hand, can cause an otherwise talented and kind horse to become dangerous.

Consistency will make them less tense and fearful, and less likely to spook or react in a bottled up tantrum. But in order to bring forth an even-tempered horse in our training, we need to implement boundaries consistently in the smallest things.

For example, if I let my horse rush ahead of me when coming out of the stall, will he listen to me when I ask him to stop on the trail? What we don’t often think about in handling is how our horse suffers for our lack of boundaries.

For most domesticated horses, this produces fear, because they don’t necessarily want to lead. To make matters worse, when we don’t implement small boundaries, we will overcompensate when our horses escalate their behavior.

This only produces more confusion, tension, and fear in our horses around being handled. The amazing thing about boundaries is that they start to take effect immediately.

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Follow these simple steps to start transforming your partnership with your horse from hazardous to healthy. Don’t Allow Bad Habits to Form or Persist I know we all struggle with this one from time to time, we need to draw a line with bad habits in our horses : habits like stomping their feet, anxious movement at the mounting block, biting, kicking, rushing past you when walking, or ignoring your aids.

A confused horse will more often be tense, fearful, flighty, or aggressive. Horses are big animals, and we don’t necessarily want to piss them off.

If you allow this to escalate, you could end up in a new and scary situation on the back of a horse that won’t listen to your direction. Simple rewards include a pat on their neck, soothing touch or tone of voice, or providing them a break from their task.

I thought that exercising boundaries would kill me when I started to practice them. But what I found instead was that boundaries provide the other half of a partnership a means to relate to you and trust you.

When you reward the baby steps towards progress, your horse will be encouraged and learn more quickly. But more importantly, it will set your horse’s mind at ease, knowing that he’s not the one that has to call the shots.

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They also will typically give plenty of warning signs. For example, a horse rarely bites without pinning his ears and swinging its head toward the offender first.

For example, you cannot wait for the horse to show dangerous behavior to correct it. Every sign of disrespect needs to be addressed so that this horse knows you’re paying attention, and that you’re not going to let anything slide.

You also need to be exceptionally aware of where your body is in relation to the horse so that you can always keep yourself out of kicking or biting range. Horses also don’t typically attack without warning or without reason, which is why it’s important to be able to read their body language.

Even though this helps, castration is not necessarily a magical cure for poor behavior. Horses gelded at an older age may continue to display behavior problems out of habit.

Killing another horse removes another set of eyes and ears that can alert the herd to predators, for example. Still, the fight ends when one horse admits defeat, and this tends to happen before any real harm is done.

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Regardless, a kick to the head or a bite that severs an artery could result in death. You must evaluate the dangers and decide what risks you and your family are prepared to take.

We will help you understand some dangers, and we will guide you to make your visit to our farm and your interaction with our animals safer; but we cannot make it safe. If you are planning to bring another parent's child, we ask you to print this form and have that child's parent sign it and bring it when you come.

If you are thinking of buying your own to bring to Ashore, it would be helpful if you bought a color that's not white, and if you label your helmet with your name. On land, the helmet is primarily there to protect the rider's head from a kick or a hard object like a rock if the rider falls.

The horses feet are deep in the water and unlikely to come into contact with the rider, who is kept afloat by her PFD. So, when riding a horse in water, we do not use a helmet, but we do require that the rider(s) wear a personal flotation device (aka a life vest or PFD).

We do this so that a small child who is nervous about riding a swimming horse (and may not be able to steer the horse) can rider in front of an older, experienced rider. We recommend against using bicycle helmets for horse riding.

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(Source: www.pets4homes.co.uk)

The senses are an important part of what makes horses behaviorally distinct. Animals, like humans, have five basic senses: vision, audition (hearing), olfaction (smell), gustation (taste), and touch.

The senses are an important part of what makes horses behaviorally distinct. In other words, we try to understand how they might see, hear, taste, smell, and feel their surroundings.

As we learn more about what motivates horses and how they perceive various stimuli, we can do a better job of working with them and shaping their behaviors. This unique anatomical feature allows horses to focus on the direction from which the sound is coming, isolate it, and run the other way.

The horse’s range of smell is more acute than that of humans but less sensitive than that of dogs. Horses can identify medicine in feed even when we attempt to mask it in tasty treats.

Horses may have a seemingly irrational fear of some smells, such as strong odors associated with pigs. Horses prefer sweet and salty tastes, so they will usually meet their requirement of salt if it is provided in a block form.

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After a period of time, however, don’t be surprised if they wise up and refuse that medicine treat! Scientific research has proven that horses don’t possess nutritional wisdom beyond eating when they are hungry and drinking when they are thirsty.

If a horse is scared or in pain, it will seek ways to escape the pressure it is feeling. It is extremely important to use the sense of touch to create a willing partnership between horse and human rather than a servitude based on fear.

Binocular vision (seeing the same out of both eyes) is used on a limited basis and primarily when the horse is looking straight ahead. Even though horses have poor color vision, they can differentiate blue and red hues from gray ones.

They can’t tell a trailer from an endless tunnel or a mud puddle from a bottomless lagoon. This is why horses cock their head in different ways to see close versus distant objects.

This is why a horse is much flightier on windy days; things that are normally stationary are now moving and perceived as a potential threat.

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