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Riding and caring for a horse is a great way to teach a child responsibility, compassion, and self-confidence. Horses must be taken care of properly and respected to prevent severe accidents and injuries from occurring. Make sure to teach youth the importance of safely caring for horses with these tips.

Always Use Words During the Approach

Silently approaching a horse can startle them and cause an accident to occur. Never assume that a horse has seen someone who is approaching. The way that a horse’s eyes sit on their face gives them excellent peripheral vision but can cause blind spots in the front and behind. This could prevent a horse from seeing a child that is approaching. Teach a child to calmly talk to the horse and approach from the side at their shoulder.

Take Care During Feeding

Children will enjoy giving their horses a small treat after riding, but it’s essential to teach them to do it correctly. Never bring food into a group of horses and stay aware during feeding time. Horses have a hierarchy regarding the relationships they have with one another; this is apparent during feeding time. A horse may kick or jostle a small child, injuring them if they mistake them for another horse invading their feeding space.

When giving a horse a treat, it’s best to put the treat into a feeding bucket. Those who want to feed a horse by hand need to make sure they keep their palms completely flat to prevent accidental nipping.

Never Turn Your Back on a Horse

Horses are naturally curious; running away from a horse may cause them to chase and trample a child. Instead, face a horse head-on and back away slowly when trying to get away from a horse or move to another area.

Always Ride with Supervision

It can take years for a child to learn everything they need to about proper riding and handling, and even then accidents can still happen. Until a child is well-established in their skills, it’s best never to let them ride without supervision.

Taking care while riding and grooming horses can prevent tragic accidents from occurring. By teaching a child a few simple rules, caring for and handling horses can turn into a lifelong joy.