Herd Behavior Safety Tips
- Herd behavior
Separate herd horses on a regular basis so they don’t become herd bound and panic when one in their herd leaves.
Note: This will eliminate a LOT of behavior problems under saddle as well. It is never fun to work with a horse that is always worried about where his buddies are. His full attention should be on you.
- Body language
Understand horse behavior and remember that horses will often vie for position with other horses.
Note: Learn to read the body language of horses. Injuries most often occur at the paddock gate, leading horses too close together or riding to near another horse. Never ride through a field of loose unknown horses.
- Buddy sour
Try to keep horses from becoming buddy sour and if they do, ride them far away from each other. Remember that just because you can't hear the left-behind horse, it doesn't mean that your mount's excellent hearing doesn't pick up their friends' calls.
Note: Work with your horse on a daily basis in order to keep them from becoming herd bound. Put them in a different paddock, make them spend extended amount of time without their friends, trailer them alone, etc.
- Other horses
I was riding the trails with my new horse and the horses ahead of us took off running. I held her back because she wanted to gallop and it wasn’t safe. She bucked me off. Make sure that riders in front of you let you know that they are about to gallop so you can collect yourself.
Note: Even if there are other riders on the trail that aren’t with your group make sure they know about your presence. It's good trail (and riding in general) etiquette to watch out for each other.
- Know Herd Dynamics
I had been feeding multiple horses inside the paddock and fed them in correct order of top horse first. Someone had put another top horse in the paddock which shifted the dynamics. It caused me to be in the shuffle with grain in my hand. I was kicked and had the wind knocked out of me. Note: Always communicate with other borders etc. about situations that might become dangerous (as this did). It’s everyone’s responsibility to communicate