This guide is about how to survive a horse attack. Even though they are rare, many of us are homesteaders and are around horses often. It’s important to know how to be safe around them.
If you have little ones at home, you know how challenging it can be to keep them safe when an animal gets the best of them. While an explainer of why horses have hooves and what they do might not come easily, we all understand that horses get scared easily and attack when cornered. In cases like these, a quick and simple guide on how to survive a horse attack may be helpful. Keep reading for everything you need to know about horse attacks.
Stay calm and relaxed
The first and most important rule when dealing with a horse attack is to stay calm! While panic can lead to potentially dangerous consequences, such as a miss calibrated spur, uncontrolled shaking, and even a runaway, calm, and collected reflection will likely reveal a more aggressive behavior. This is normal as the equine mind works in a distinctive way that is distinct from ours. It is important to understand that an attack by a wild animal is unpredictable and may be accompanied by a display of normal behaviors, such as a neigh, a vocalization, or a bray, in an effort to attract attention. If you feel a sharp pain in your side or leg during an attack, try not to worry as this is normal and the spurs are simply causing irritation. Additionally, when an attack is imminent, it is often accompanied by muscle spasms and increased heart rate.
Use a calming approach when riding or handling your horse. If you need to break up a bad scene, try using some soothing words or melodies as you ride. This can help reduce stress levels and help you avoid a stampede.
Stay In The Lead
When a horse feels threatened, it may display aggressive behavior towards others. The danger in this is that the horse may charge at you, causing serious injury. The best approach is to stay in the lead and stay calm. If the horse feels threatened by you, it will likely follow you. Make eye contact with the horse, turn your head to the side, and look at another direction. This will help the horse to disengage from its aggressive behavior and return to a calm state. If you feel the need to challenge the horse, don’t just mount up and kick it, talk to it.
It’s important to keep in mind that your horse is only as safe as you are. If you’re in a vulnerable position (like walking next to the horse in the barn), you should be in the lead. If you’re leading a group of horses, it’s the rider’s responsibility to be in the lead at all times. If you’re not the leading horse in a barn or arena, this rule doesn’t apply to you. You can always put yourself in a position where you’re more vulnerable, but the horse must always be in the lead.
Don’t Sit On The Floor
If your horse is kept in a harness or a collar, you should never sit on the floor with them. This could cause severe injury and could even lead to death if a horse falls on you. Instead, stand up slowly and put your weight on your good leg while keeping your back leg out straight. This will help you stay balanced and avoid putting pressure on your backside. Moving your backside quickly could cause internal injuries. If you’re riding or handling your horse in a stable or other environment with hard floors, you should consider removing your shoes before sitting or mounting. This will help prevent blisters and injuries caused by hard footfalls.
Stay In The Shower
When a horse is cornered and feels an increased sense of threat, it may vocalize in an attempt to get the attention of other equine species. This is often referred to as a “roar.” While a horse’s normal sounds, such as a bray, are present, a roar may be preceded by a sharp “snort” that is an indication of alarm. If you think you are in danger and are surrounded by horses, first try to get out of the shower and stay calm. Once the horses have scattered, you can head back into the shower and start the process over again, staying calm the entire time. If the situation persists and you feel you must face a charging horse, you can always retreat and use cover to protect yourself and your mount.
You could also choose to keep your horse in the stall during shower breaks, but this is not ideal because it’s hot and humid inside the stall. Most stallions like to bathe in the early morning before the rest of the stallions can get their turn, so keep this in mind if you’re choosing this option.
Learn How To Ride
If you are able to mount and dismount a horse, you will notice a difference in your skills when faced with an actual threat. When an attack is imminent, it is often accompanied by an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. As the horse gets closer to sync with you, these signs will lessen and eventually exit the body through the skin. If you are able to presicely time your movements to avoid being charged, this will not only improve your riding skills, but will also make you less likely to be injured in an attack. If you are unsure how to start learning to ride a horse, there are many books and videos on the market that can help, as well as online lessons.
Awareness Is The First Step
The best way to protect yourself from a charging horse is to be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings before you go to bed, while you are at home, and while you are outside. Stay alert and watch for things that might warn you of an approaching threat such as a distinctive coat pattern, a wave, or a distinct odor. If you see these things, you can either run away or charge at the horse, protecting yourself and your mount.
Protecting Yourself From A Charging Horse
Horse attacks are often provoked by circumstances such as a rider being too close to a fence, a brush with danger, or coming upon an abandoned animal. If you are able to avoid these situations, the chances of a charging horse being provoked are very low. It is important to remember that even when a horse is cornered, it is in a state of anxiety. This anxiety can be vocalized as well, which can be detected by the “roaring.” If you notice an increase in the “roaring,” assume there is a problem and take action. If an attack occurs, mount up and use your seat to help you stay balanced. Once you have control of your mount, use your seat to guide it out of the area. Do not use this as an opportunity to ride a charger as this would be extremely dangerous. Get as far away from a charging horse as possible and if possible, run away.
Get To Know Your Horse
If your horse is not a problem in the neighborhood, it is worth getting to know him. The more familiar you are with your horse, the less likely it will be spooked by you. It is also important to let your horse know how you feel. You can ask him for a blanket or a shawl if it is cold, or ask him for a specific position if you are unsure. The more you are able to communicate with your horse, the more you will be able to prevent issues. If your horse is not under control and charges, get between them and any other object in the path of the horse. Do not attempt to catch your horse or move them out of the way quickly enough. Let the horse run their course and then go get help. If the horse is already between you and something, you could be seriously injured or even killed on impact.
Know Your Horses Behavior
The best way to get to know your horse is to ride with him. If possible, take your horse out in the field where you spend most of your day. You can ask your veterinarian or equine medicine advisor for suggestions on where to take your horse. It is also important to get into the habit of patting your horse on the top of his head when you see him. This is a friendly gesture that your horse will appreciate.
Horse attacks are incredibly rare events. Most attacks are deliberate, on footers, and are provoked by something as simple as a person brushing against a horse’s tail or stepping on a horse’s backside. To reduce the risk of getting bit, it is important to stay calm and aware when riding a horse, to avoid Opening yourself up to a charge from a wild animal. If you do get attacked, the best defense is a strong offense.
I hope this guide on how to survive a horse attack helped you. The key is to not put yourself in a position to where a horse would kick you if it wanted to. If you’re interested in other guides like this, refer to the guide on how to survive wild animal attacks.