Updated: Apr 13, 2020
When handling your horse while your vet or farrier perform their duties it is your responsibility to keep both you and them as safe as possible. Here are some helpful handling tips your vet and farrier will be grateful that you know and implement!
Tip #1: Make sure the work area is tidy. To ensure the safest environment as possible, remove all potential hazards from the work area. The work area should also be large enough for you, the horse and the professional to fit in with escape routes if needed.
Tip #2: Use fly spray. During fly season be sure to spray your horse with fly spray before the professional starts their work (unless otherwise requested). This will help ensure that your horse stands more quietly while being attended to by the professional.
Tip #3: Focus on your horse. It is important to not become too comfortable around your horse no matter how quiet, broke or non-reactive you believe your horse may be. Being a flight animal, a horse can react lightning fast and sometimes with minimal warning. Staying present and focused on your horse while the professional does their job can help mitigate some risk should your horse react suddenly. Tip #4: Be mindful of your horse’s head. Make sure to keep your horse’s head up. This will keep his body more balanced and thus easier for the professional to work on. A horse who is moving his head is distracted and more liable to startle. Also, keep your horse’s mouth off of the professional as to prevent them from being bitten.
Tip #5: Do not stand in front of your horse. Make sure you are positioned at or near or horse’s shoulder where the professional is working. You can always ask the vet or farrier where they prefer you stand while they work. If the professional happens to be working on a hind leg, then always be sure to stay on the same side of the horse as the professional is. This way, if the horse moves, he will most likely move his haunches away from the both of you. Tip #6: If your horse is anxious when alone, bring them a friend that can be kept close by. By having a visible or near by companion your anxious horse may calm down. This will help them stand more quietly which will keep both you have the professional more safe. Also, try not to schedule appointment around feeding times as your horse may become more agitated around that time. The above are just a handful of handling tips that can help keep you, your horse and your service professional more safe during their visit! Always talk to and listen to your vet for suggestions that can help make their next visit even easier.