You have about a thousand pounds of motivation to keep a horse calm and not startled. That’s how much the average horse weighs. And if he’s surprised or scared, that weight can lead to injuries—of him and those around him.
Though genetics and breeding have a lot to do with how a horse behaves, sudden noises and sights can cause even the mildest horse to become startled or jumpy. So learn about and teach others about horses. That can give our four-footed and two-footed friends a nice experience, whether they’re riding or just visiting these majestic animals.
The eyes have it: Though horses have an impressive field of vision, there’s a blind spot in a place that some people don’t expect: directly in front of them! They also can’t see you if you’re directly behind them, of course. Further, if their head is down, as when they’re eating or drinking, they also don’t see things well that are close up. Keep this in mind when you approach one of these fellows.
Hear, hear! A horse’s hearing is one of its best defenses against danger, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Studies show that of all their senses, horses are most sensitive to sound, especially sounds they’re not expecting. They even hear and react to things that we can’t hear—like a horse fly. Horses are less likely to become startled in areas and around people they’re used to, and might be more likely to be jumpy in unfamiliar situations.
With these facts about a horse’s eyes and ears in mind, help keep a calm horse by remaining calm yourself. First, and only with the owner’s permission, approach a horse from the side. Stroke the neck and then give a gentle pat. Show that you’re friendly by speaking softly. You can even offer a treat if the owner gives the ok and shows you how to do it.
Being aware of any animal’s sensitivities can help you build loving, lasting and trusting relationships.
Share this article with your horse-loving friends!