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Staying Safe Around Horses: Avoiding Potentially Fatal Kicks

Preventing Kicks by Turning Horses Loose Into a Field Correctly

When bringing a horse back into its field after exercising or training, it’s important to do so safely. If a horse feels trapped or cornered, it’s more likely to kick out of fear or frustration.

Instead, approach the horse slowly and calmly from the side using a lead rope and halter. Once you reach the gate, use your free hand to undo the latch and then gently guide the horse into the field.

Once the horse is standing safely inside, remove the halter and lead rope and back away slowly.

Preventing Kicks by Approaching Horses From the Side

When approaching a horse for any reason, it’s best to do so from the side. This approach will show the horse that you are non-threatening and not a predator.

It also gives them a clear view of you and your actions. Avoid sneaking up on or approaching a horse from behind because it could startle or panic the horse, leading to a kick.

Remember to keep a respectful distance and move slowly and calmly around the horse.

Preventing Kicks by Avoiding Startling Horses

Horses can be easily spooked by sudden noises, movements, or objects that they are not used to seeing. Loud noises, sudden movements, and unfamiliar objects can startle a horse and cause them to kick out of fear.

To avoid this situation, be aware of your surroundings and try to minimize sudden movements or loud noises. Make your presence known with a soft, gentle voice and approach slowly.

Additionally, if you’re approaching a horse while it’s eating or sleeping, try talking softly or whistling to signal to the horse.

Preventing Kicks by Keeping Your Distance When Horses are Worked Up

Even the most well-trained horses can become agitated or worked up under certain situations. When a horse is upset or unsettled, it’s essential to keep your distance.

Give the horse space and wait until they have calmed down before approaching. Also, always keep an eye on a horse’s body language; if the horse appears agitated or snappy, stay back and avoid interaction.

Knowing Where the Safe Zones Around a Horse Are

There are specific areas around a horse that are considered safe, including the “sweet spot” behind their ears, the girth (where the saddle sits), and their shoulders. These areas are typically safe to touch and will not startle a horse.

Stay away from the rear of the horse and avoid standing directly in front of the animal. Instead, position yourself off to the side where you can see the horse’s body language and respond accordingly.

How to Avoid Getting Kicked by a Horse in Tight Spaces

In tight spaces, it can be easy for a horse to become anxious, claustrophobic, or feel like it’s lost control of its movement. To avoid a kick, make sure that any tight spaces are well-lit, clear of obstacles, and have plenty of open space for the horse.

This visibility will help keep the horse calm, and less worried about where it’s going. It’s also essential to communicate with the horse and let it know where it needs to go.

How to Avoid Getting Kicked While in a Group of Horses

If you are among a group of horses, remain aware of their position and body language. Generally, horses will establish pecking orders within their groups, and you need to be aware of who the leader is.

This awareness will help you understand how the horses will interact with each other and help you avoid becoming caught in the middle. It’s also important to maintain a respectful distance and avoid any sudden movements or loud noises.

Why Avoiding Getting Kicked By a Horse is Important

Horses are powerful animals with a potentially deadly kick. It can cause significant injury or even death.

Avoiding contact with a horse’s back legs is essential because even gentle kicks can result in serious injuries. And while not all kicks are intentional, it’s best to be cautious and prevent the situation before it has an opportunity to occur.

Horses Can Pack a Powerful Kick

Horses have powerful muscles in their hindquarters which allows them to run at high speeds and jump distances. Combined with their weight, this strength can create a forceful kick.

Kicks have enough power to break a bone, cause a concussion or kill.

Avoiding Fatal Injuries

Caring for horses requires the owner or handlers to take serious safety precautions against horse kicks. Injuries caused by kicks can range from minor bruises to skull fractures and can be deadly in some cases.

If there is any indication that a horse may be agitated or stressed, it’s best to maintain a safe distance until the horse has calmed down. Even when interacting with a well-known horse, it’s essential to maintain caution and stay aware of the horse’s body language.


In conclusion, horses are beautiful and intelligent creatures that require special care and attention. Knowing how to avoid getting kicked by a horse is essential to your safety and the wellbeing of your horse.

Always approach horses slowly and from the side; avoid sudden movements, loud noises, and tight spaces. Stay aware of the horse’s body language and maintain a respectful distance.

Following these safety guidelines can help prevent injuries, even those that could be fatal.

Mistakes to Avoid When Approaching Horses

Approaching a horse can be a delicate procedure. Horses are large animals and can be easily frightened, which can lead to injury for both the horse and the person.

To avoid mistakes, it is important to approach them carefully and respectfully. Here are some mistakes to avoid when approaching horses:

Approaching a Horse From Directly Behind It

Horses have a natural flight instinct, and their blind spot is directly behind them. When approaching a horse, it’s crucial to be visible in their eyesight and approach them from the side.

If you must approach from behind, make sure the horse is aware of your presence by speaking softly and making your presence known.

Approaching or Abrasively Touching a Horse on the Front From Its Blind Spot

Horses have a blind spot in front of their faces, and some may become easily frightened if an unfamiliar person enters that space. When approaching a horse, make sure that they can see you and slowly approach them while speaking in a soft and gentle tone.

Abrasive touching or quick movements could spook the horse and result in injury.

Being Too Quiet While Approaching a Horse

While approaching a horse, it’s important to make your presence known. Horses are prey animals and are naturally skittish, so approaching quietly might startle them.

Speaking in a soft and gentle tone while also making noise with your feet can help to alert the horse to your presence and reduce the risk of them becoming frightened.

The Importance of Bomb-Proofing or Desensitizing Training for Horses

Bomb-proofing, also known as desensitizing training, is an essential training technique that helps familiarize horses with unexpected and loud noises, strange or unfamiliar objects, and all sorts of other seemingly frightening or uncomfortable situations. The primary goal of this training technique is to help horses cope correctly with uncomfortable situations, which can help to reduce the risk of injury to both horse and handler or rider.

There are several benefits to bomb-proofing or desensitizing training for horses. One benefit is that it prepares horses for unexpected events, which is important when riding or handling them in unfamiliar environments.

Additionally, it allows the horse to focus on the rider or handler, rather than becoming distracted by unfamiliar surroundings or loud noises. Another benefit is that it can help horses develop confidence and trust in their handlers, which can lead to a better relationship between the horse and handler.

Horses that undergo bomb-proofing or desensitizing training are less likely to spook or become agitated in stressful or unfamiliar situations, which can help to reduce the risk of injury. Bomb-proofing and desensitizing training should start when the horse is young to create a solid foundation of confidence and trust.

It is essential to maintain consistency during training sessions, rewarding the horse’s good behavior while ignoring negative behavior. As the horse becomes more comfortable, gradually increase the level of difficulty of the situations, helping the horse to develop the ability to cope with even the most challenging circumstances.

In conclusion, approaching horses with care and respect is essential to reduce the risk of injury to both the horse and a person. When it comes to equine training, bomb-proofing and desensitizing training is a must.

The benefits of this training are endless, from horse and rider safety to a better relationship with the animal. By taking these tips and guidelines into account, you can rest assured that you are approaching horses correctly and safely, which will lead to a positive and successful experience for both you and your equine partner.

Signs That Horses are Worked Up

Horses are intuitive animals, and they have an innate ability to sense danger or perceive situations as threatening or uncomfortable. When horses become worked up or stressed, they typically exhibit noticeable signs that can help handlers or riders determine their behavior.

Recognizing these signs is crucial for preventing accidents or injuries. Here are some signs that horses are worked up:

  • Tail Swishing: Horses sway their tail when they are upset or agitated; this is a sign that they are unhappy or feeling uncomfortable.
  • Sweating: When a horse is worked up or scared, their body will start to sweat. Sweating is the body’s natural reaction to stress, and it will usually be noticeable on their body and around the neck.
  • Shaking: Horses shake their heads when they are upset, uncomfortable, or trying to get rid of pests.
  • Pacing: A horse that feels agitated or trapped will often pace frantically, moving back and forth in a confined space.
  • Vocalizing: Horses vocalize by squealing, neighing, or whining, which can be a sign that they are upset or stressed.
  • Body Language: Understanding a horse’s body language is essential. They may rear, stomp the ground, pin their ears back tightly against their head, try to bite or kick. It’s important to recognize these signs and respond to them appropriately.

When horses show these signs, it’s best to keep a safe distance and try to calm the horse using a calm and soothing voice.

How to Safely Return a Horse to Their Field or Stable

Returning a horse to their field or stable is an essential part of horse care, and it’s crucial to do this safely and correctly. Improperly returning a horse to their field or stable can lead to injury or accidents.

Importance of Properly Returning a Horse to Their Field or Stable

Returning a horse back to their field or stable is not as simple as undoing the gate and leading the horse inside. It’s essential to have a plan and follow certain guidelines to ensure that the horse is returned safely.

Properly returning a horse to their field or stable can also help to reduce the risk of injuries or accidents. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  • Approach the Horse Calmly: When approaching a horse to return them to their field or stable, it’s important to do so calmly and patiently. Make sure that the horse is aware of your presence by speaking in a soft and gentle tone.
  • Maintain a Safe Distance: Always maintain a safe distance between yourself and the horse. Never turn your back on a horse, and be aware of where the animal’s feet are at all times.
  • Secure the Horse’s Halter: Always secure the horse’s halter before leading them back to their field or stable. This will help to ensure that you have control over the horse and that they do not accidentally injure themselves or you.
  • Lead the Horse Carefully: Lead the horse calmly and carefully back to their field or stable at a slow pace. Make sure the route is clear of obstacles and that the horse has a clear path.
  • Release the Horse Safely: Once you’ve led the horse back to their field or stable, make sure that the gate or stall door is secure and then carefully release the horse.

In conclusion, understanding the signs that horses are worked up and being able to safely return a horse to their field or stable are essential skills for horse handlers or riders. Recognizing the signs of stress or agitation in horses can help prevent accidents or injuries, while properly returning a horse can reduce the risk of injury to both horse and person.

By taking the necessary precautions and following these guidelines, you will be better equipped to keep horses safe and healthy. Proper horse handling is crucial for the safety and well-being of both the rider or handler as well as the horse itself.

Approaching horses safely, recognizing the signs of a worked-up horse, returning a horse to its field or stable, and training them in bomb-proofing or desensitizing are all essential skills to master. Applying these guidelines and being aware of the signs of stress in horses can help prevent accidents, injuries and enable a better relationship between the horse and rider or handler.

It’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both horses and riders during all interactions.


1. Should you approach a horse from the front or back?

It’s best to approach a horse from the side, where they can see you and you are visible in their eyesight.

2. What are some signs of stress in horses?

Tail swishing, sweating, shaking, pacing, vocalizing, and aggressive body language are some of the signs of stress in horses.

3. Why is bomb-proofing or desensitizing training important?

Bomb-proofing or desensitizing training helps familiarize horses with unexpected and loud noises, unfamiliar objects, and uncomfortable situations. This training technique prepares horses for unpredictable risks and helps them cope correctly becoming calm, and relaxed in unexpected situations.

4. How do you safely return a horse to its field or stable?

Approach the horse patiently and calmly, maintain a safe distance, secure its halter before leading it back at a slow pace, and then safely release the horse into its field or stall. Ensure the field or stall is secure to prevent the possibility of the horse wandering off.

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