Keeping yourself and your horse safe includes making sure buildings, stalls, trailers, and equipment are well maintained and in good working order. The facilities used to stall and work your horse should be well designed, strong, and safe for you and your animals.
Keep buildings, stalls, alleys, and lots neat and tidy. Remember: Slips, trips, and falls cause many injuries when working with animals. Make sure you have a place to put all supplies, equipment, and feed and keep all of those items in their proper place. Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Don’t allow manure, feed, or bedding material to accumulate in alleyways or pens. Clean stalls and barns regularly to avoid accumulation of manure and flies. Make sure there aren’t any splinters, protruding nails or latches, or sharp edges on the walls of the horse stall. Keep mechanical equipment clean and well maintained. Clean and sanitize grooming tools regularly, not only to keep them operating properly, but also to remove any organisms that can spread disease. Inspect electrical cords on clippers often. Replace cords that have exposed wires. Use only electrical outlets with three-pronged receptacles. When outlets are located outdoors, make sure they are waterproof and have ground fault circuit interrupters to keep you and your horse from getting an electric shock. Lighting should be bright and not create shadowy areas in areas (indoors and outdoors) where you work with your horse. A horse can get scared when it goes from a brightly lit area to a dark shadowy area, such as going from sunlight into a trailer or building. Be patient and allow the horse time to adjust to a change in lighting. Keep fences, gates, doors, etc. repaired. Replace or repair equipment that doesn’t work. Gates that are hard to open can cause muscle strains or can pinch if you have to push hard on them and they open or close unexpectedly. Wire ties or nails poking out of fence boards can cause scrapes or puncture wounds – to you and your horse. Inspect all tack before saddling the horse. Check the stitching on each piece of tack. Check for signs of wear on stirrup leathers, billet straps, and girth buckles. Use only clean blankets and pads. Check the cinch at least three times before riding. 1) After saddling; 2) After walking the horse and before mounting; 3) After riding a short distance.
What do you do in your buildings and stalls to help you stay safe when working with your horse? How do you care for equipment to help you and your horse stay safe?
How can facilities contribute to a safer environment for you and your horse? How does properly maintaining equipment contribute to keeping you and your horse safe?
Why are good housekeeping and proper maintenance necessary for personal safety?
List some of the safety practices you do each day – in your home, at work or school?
Set up a practice show at a project meeting to practice show ring safety.
Take the Horse Safety Quiz
Evaluate the safety of your livestock facilities using the Safety Audit Checklist. Make note of potential dangers and work with your parents to correct the dangers.
Visit and evaluate project members’ facilities with an eye on safety preparedness.