Handling horses in the wind: coping with spooky horses

Good news! You’re reading this post, which means you haven’t been blown away in the night!

Wow, that was certainly some weather we had going on there! As I write this, those deadly gusts are calming down and the sun is timidly trying to poke its head around the looming black clouds.

However, mucking out the ponies this morning was a completely different ball game. It’s a good job nobody had their video camera on me, as chasing empty haynets and rolling feed buckets around the yard would have earned a slot on “You’ve been framed!” Just as I got ready to pounce they would shoot off in a different direction! Argh well, I am sure I burnt extra calories.

Handling horses in the wind is not such a laughing matter. With their wild instincts still very much to the forefront of their natures they are easily spooked, regardless of how placid and calm they normally are. A stable door banging on their sides as you lead them out can be enough to make them wary of doorways for life as they have incredible memories.

When we train horses, we make use of their memory to install good habits and safe behaviours, but it can also work the other way as well. One little slip up and you can inadvertently create a spooky horse. So learning the safe way to handling horses in the wind protects both you and your horse.

I’m pretty lucky with my yard, as I have a small paddock directly attached. This acts as the fat pony paddock in summer, and the bad weather paddock in winter. I can literally open the stable doors, hold it safely so it doesn’t spook the ponies, and let them wander out at their leisure.

This also means I don’t have to worry about handling horses in the stables, with the rooves creaking and groaning, and something unidentified banging on the wall and causing their heads to shoot up, eyes rolling and nostrils flaring. I don’t have to put myself or my horses into any danger, which on a windy day such as this morning is absolutely vital.

Having been around horses for more years than I care to admit, I pride myself on having a good eye for risks and hazards, and always try to be one step ahead. But it doesn’t take much for accidents to happen, and the risks in bad weather are increased. Being prepared and aware helps keep you and your horses safe.

Safety around horses is my number one concern; that’s why I wrote the course “How to handle horses safely”. Too many people don’t take the risks seriously. If you’re one of those who appreciates how dangerous handling horses in the wind, and in general, can be, then let me help you keep safe.

You’ll find the course at http://www.learn2horse.com/product/basic-horse-handling/.

For now, keep you and your horses safe in this weather – and roll on spring!

Take care

Chrissie

P.S. do you genuinely love learning more about horses? Do you enjoy studying from home, at your pace? Then check out our courses and let your learning journey start.

Learn2horse, the home of accessible equestrian learning.

29th January 2016

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