Winter Weather=Feisty Horses
Cold weather, snow and ice can sometimes mean our horses stand in their stalls more than usual. Giving them a whole bunch of time to build pent up energy.
The energy that will be ready to explode when they can finally go back outside again.
Know The Horses In Your Barn
Most likely you should be pretty familiar with all the horses at your barn. The more you know about them can make the turnout go a lot more smoothly.
If you know certain horses in the barn get more anxious than others, be sure to turn them out first.
Kemerton and Cool
My old man Kemerton and Amelia’s horse Cool tend to be the hardest to turn out. They are both big thoroughbreds so are a handful to turnout when they have been a in for a while.
Use A Halter
I know a lot of us( including myself ) are guilty of sometimes just throwing a rope around a horse’s neck to lead them out. Take it from me, someone who has chased a loose horse that got away just because I trusted it to behave with just a rope over its neck.
It sucks having to chase them down. Just when you think about it, it doesn’t take that long to slide the halter over the horses ears and clip it on. Much less time than chasing a loose horse around the farm.
Use An Average Length Lead Line
My stall doors all have a variety of lead ropes on them. Pick one that is not so short that it could easily be yanked through your hand. Also, you don’t want so long your hands or the horses legs could get wrapped up in it, if they dance around or act a fool.
Go In The Stall To Put The Horses Halter On
When you go in to get the halter on, shut the door behind you. I know from experience a feisty horse that has been stuck in a stall for a while is very likely to try to push past you, and get out the door. Again, we are trying to avoid loose horses! So don’t forget to shut the door.
Position yourself at the horses left side of course.Bend your elbow and press you arm against where your horses shoulder meets his neck. It isn’t a special magical spot, but somewhere in that area.
Why would I want you to press your elbow into your horses neck. With you walking in the correct position with him at your shoulder if he decides to act up his head will come toward you and body away from you. That way if your horse acts up, you can easily turn him around to circle you to help him calm down if necessary. Also the back end is going away from you to avoid any flying hooves. We all know that most of our horses wouldn’t kick us intentionally. That can go out the window though if your horse gets over excited. Remember, when they are a high energy state, they are only thinking about getting out with their friends. Often times, in these situations they forget their good manners.
This Is How I Feel Most In Control
The horse might circle me, or jump around, or whatever weird behavior it comes up with. Positioning my body like this though makes me feel like I’m in the safest position possible, to avoid tossing heads and flying hooves.
Don’t Let Them Gain Too Much Momentum
At our barn this is an extra problem because the horses are going down hill to their turn outs. You can stop and start walking again a few times, just to keep their attention on you, and not the wind or other horses running around in the field like idiots.
Treat In Your Pocket
Having treats in your jacket pockets sometimes distracts the horse from all their crazy energy. The focus more on you and the treat. This usually makes them walk a little slower as they do it.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to give the horse a treat at the field when he got to the field if he didn’ behave. If he is good you can give the treat to him when he is in the field and waiting quietly to take his halter off,
Always Turn The Horse Around To Face Towards You
This is a safety rule that most learn early on. You always want to turn the horse all the way around to face you when you get through the gate. This is so if the horses takes off kicking or running, you will be on the safe end of the horse.
Pause Before You Take The Halter Off
I always try to take a deep breath and stand and pause a moment before taking the halter off. Hopefully the horse will settle and not yank his head as he is trying to to take the halter off.
Before you take the halter off make sure the lead line is not wrapped around your hand. Or that your fingers are tangled in the halter in any way at all. That could lead to serious injury and that is what we are trying to avoid!!
Let Them Settle Before Adding Another
If you turn out one horse that goes out particularly wild like a firecracker. Once that horse is safely out, give the herd a minute to run around and settle back down before you get another one.
Putting a wound up horse into a field of already wound up horses is dangerous for the handler. It definitely won’t do anything toward calming the horses down.
Also, one cool thing is once the horse you are leading is in safely in the field. If you take a break for a second and grab your phone this is a time that you might be able to get some really cool photos of the horses.
Everyone Has Their Own Way Of Doing Things
To each their own. There are a zillion ways to do things with horses. This is just what I have found works well for me, with my setup and my horses.
I learned a lot of this from when I was a working student. Daily handling a stallion in a barn full of mares can be quite exciting( not in a good way). I learned a lot from it though, and managed to stay alive!
There is not a horse in the world worth getting hurt over. Only do what you are comfortable with and never be afraid to ask for help!
What National Day Is It?
National Cherry Pie Day
National Love Your Pet Day
National Muffin Day
National Comfy Day
I Did A Good Job Celebrating This One
I had an English muffin for breakfast. After barn chores I was in my comfy clothes all day. I love my pets all day every day! All I have left to do is eat some cherry pie!