Written by Ada Crain
Handling horses is something that comes easily to many but not others, but it is all knowledge that just need to be practiced.
From what I can understand, people believe that horses are these massive scary beasts that are uncontrollable and kick and bite you whenever they have the chance. I mean I’m not saying that they won’t do that but in my experience they only do this when given a reason to.
When horses were brought over in ships, they were an intricate part of working Australia. They pulled carts, ploughs and basically were today’s tractors and cars, and now they are bred for racing, showjumping, and competing in many different events around the globe. These animals are so diverse in not only their personalities and behaviours but their abilities and interests.
Yes they are big animals and yes they could potentially kill you, but I have been around them my entire life. With more knowledge as a vet student, here is how I care for horses…
Exposure to their environment
I grew up with stock horses! I think this breed is one of the best. They are loyal, kind natured and good at anything you throw at them. They are truly the most versatile breed. I know the stock horses I have at home are very quiet. They don’t get spooked easily and are pretty easy to handle in a big situation.
Campdrafting tests the ability of horse and rider to control a cow around a course, whereas gymkhanas are fun day where various types of horses compete at a day which involves jumping, bending poles and other various events. And my horse is able to handle it all, when she was not trained for it. But because stock horses have amazing temperaments, they are able to adapt and trust what you are doing.
An example of stock horses and they abilities is ‘The Rooftop Express’ that were at ‘The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival’, they have trained their horse to go up on top of a trailer, and really no words can express how amazing this is.
Make friends with them
Understanding horses can be difficult! But getting to know them is a good start. Simply brushing them down and patting them is a great way to learn a horses’ temperament and what they may not like and things they do like, and this may help you when handling them.
For example, my horse, Scarlet, hates having her ears touched, I don’t know why but it has always been a thing, so to keep her calm and avoid her and me getting hurt, when putting on a halter and bridle, I do it quickly and efficiently while she has her head low or eating.
I also suggest:
- Constantly brushing down to keep hair unmatted
- Constantly checking and cleaning of hooves
- And making sure that the paddock that the horse is in does not have anything that could harm to horse like stray wire, and weeds toxic such as cape weed
- Implement a routine for proper dental care
Ultimately, horses are truly wonderful animals and hope some of these tips help you in your course or if you have interest in learning more about them.