Meeting a new horse (part 2)
Published 09-14-2010 11:48 AM | Fernanda Camargo
We have been talking about the issue of new people wanting to pet or even ride your horse. Before they even get close to your horse, they need to be educated on how to behave near a horse.
3. Children: Most children are drawn to horses, but some of them find them frightening. Whatever the case, make sure to explain to the kids that horses do not like loud noises and little people running toward or behind them. Children must be carefully supervised at all times, because kids are unpredictable (Please read my blog post "Safe does not come naturally"). Do not rely on parents to know what is and what isn't safe around horses, and do not hesitate to correct someone else's child to keep them safe. If the child is going to ride the horse, make sure an experienced person leads the horse, while another adult walks beside the horse, ensuring the safety of the child.
4. Make the first ride simple: The best way to have a successful first ride, is to make it simple. Start with having your guest brush your horse, explain to them how to tack and how the bit works. If your horse can ride with a bitless bridle, that may be a good choice, so you can spare his mouth from unsteady and inexperienced hands. If not, your horse would probably be better off with a snaffle. Explain to the person that for that ride all they need to know is to get the horse to move at a walk, stop and steer. Then they can go around the ring at a walk, or down an easy trail.
5. Helmet: Make sure the guest is wearing a properly fitting helmet before they attempt to ride.
At the end of the ride, have your guest help you untack the horse and put the horse and tack away. This will show new people that owning horses is rewarding, but it is also a responsibility. We should own our horses responsibly and teach new people to do the same.