When you begin your journey with horses, it’s important you learn how to properly approach and interact with them. They’re sensitive animals that can be startled, especially with sudden or quick movement. Because of their size, you’ll want to practice safe handling at all times!
Correct Way to Approach a Horse
Your interaction starts with reading the horse’s body language. You want them to know you’re coming. Begin by looking at their ears and the direction they’re facing. If their ears are facing a different direction, then you don’t have their attention. You can talk or kiss to them if order to make your presence know.
First, approach their shoulder. You’ll want to avoid the hindquarters and head as those are vulnerable areas for horses. The horse will likely turn and sniff you. You should talk to them in a low, quiet voice, while stroking their shoulder. Loud sounds can make them anxious.
When walking around to the other side, you’ll want to stay as close as possible to their hindquarters. Keep one hand on their hip as you move around. Most will turn to look at you on the other side.
The Utah State University Extension created a short video guide to help equestrians learn how to interact with horses.
Safety first when handling horses!