Whoa, partner! There’s nothing better than horseback riding, but let’s gain some confidence in handling that horse before you mount up. There are some things to understand about horses that will make both of you feel happier and more secure.
Horses are prey animals with a strong urge to flee from potential danger, so one thing to remember is not to startle them. It’s best to talk quietly when approaching them: it lets them know where you are and, besides, they like being talked to. “Easy” is a word commonly used to calm a horse; it shouldn’t be a loud, staccato command, but rather a drawn-out “eeaassyy” spoken in a low, soothing voice.
It’s also best not to approach from directly in front of them. They were designed with their eyes on the sides of their heads to see danger approaching them from the sides or the rear. Their vision directly in front isn’t as clear and they can be startled by a hand suddenly waved in front of them.
When you walk behind a horse, always stay close enough to rest your arm on it‘s rump. That way it can’t kick you – not with enough momentum to hurt, anyway. Most horses aren’t kickers, anyway, but when dealing with an animal that probably weighs ten times what you do and wears iron shoes, you wouldn’t want to take any chances.
They like to be patted, but pat them in accordance with their size. If you pat a horse the same way you pat your cat or dog, they’re apt to mistake you for a fly! Don’t whack them, but don’t tickle them, either. A nice, firm pat along with a gentle word is a great way to befriend a horse.
Horses are graceful, beautiful and generous animals that will do their best for a kind word, a pat on the neck and maybe an occasional treat. Treat them with the respect and kindness they deserve and you’ll never regret it.
To paraphrase an old saying: There’s nothing as good for the inside of a human as the outside of a horse. For more inspiring quotes about horses, see our “Horse Quotes” page and be sure to contact us for information about coming out to ride some of our amazing horses during your next vacation at Black Mountain Ranch.