Teaching horse safety for kids (and for adults) is one of the ways we can minimize the risk of enjoying horses. As a mother, I had one of those “uh oh” incidents years ago when my daughter was about four and I had just brought home a new horse. The first day I turned my mare out in a paddock then realized I’d forgotten something. I told my daughter to stand in the barn while I ran into the tackroom. Less than a minute later I found her in the middle of the paddock, stroking the mare’s nose.
Resisting the urge to run over and scoop her up, I saw how gentle this new mare behaved with my tiny daughter and was grateful that nothing terrible had happened. It turned out that Dezzi loved all small creatures. I found her nuzzling a gosling with a hurt wing a few weeks later. She always took great care around babies of every species.
But horses are large and unpredictable. They can hurt a human (small or large) by swinging their heads, stepping on a foot, or knocking us over. It’s very important that if your kid are going to be around horses, that they understand what’s safe — and what isn’t.
The folks at Wholesale Vinyl Fencing sent me this graphic. Note: I don’t do sponsored posts, but I do include information that I think is helpful and this is an important topic.
Keeping your children safe around horses involves setting some simple rules.
In addition to the rules listed above, your children should
- always be supervised by adult (and not one that dashes into the barn)
- never wrap their hands in a lead rope
- always wear hard shoes that protect their feet
- never walk into a herd of horses with treats (that’s super scary)
- not approach a horse they don’t know without an adult
- not kiss a horse’s nose. I know it’s tempting but that large head can move suddenly.
- Not run around or wave their arms. Horses can be easily spooked, so it’s best to stay calm.
Of course, it’s not possible to eliminate all the risks associated with riding. Most horses are pretty tolerant of children. Curly is a saint with her owner’s young kids and has taught them how to walk, trot and canter on a lunge line. Zelda has been used for pony rides, but she’s so big I don’t trust her at faster gaits. After all, it’s a long way down to the ground.
Any other advice you have for introducing your horses to kids safely?