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How to Touch a Horse

Horses are a creature of habit. They like a regular routine. Most horses can get used to just about any kind of decent handling. And they feel security when they are handled by someone they are used to.

But there are ways to touch a horse that make it feel comfortable. When you handle a horse's head you should use slow gentle caressing strokes but firm enough that it does not tickle.

Many horses are ear shy from someone handling the ears roughly or applying a twitch to the ear. A twitch is sometimes applied to the ear to distract a horse when it is being doctored. It takes a long time to retrain a horse to allow its ears to be handled after twitching.

Handling the rest of the horse use firm gentle strokes like a massage. Too gentle a stroke tickles. Too firm a wallop hurts. Some day that horse might just wallop you back. If you beat on a horse, some day that horse might just attack you when your back is turned. If you lose patience with a horse don't hold it there and beat on it. Walk away until you cool off. Beating on a horse makes whatever problem even worse. Find a way to solve the problem without punishment. Maybe the horse is pulling a foot away because a fly is bitting it. Handle the feet when there is nothing troubling the horse.

Always take caution around a horse even if it is very gentle. Most accidents happen because a person is careless around their gentle horse. When you drop a hoof pick or comb right behind a horse's back hooves. Don't just bend down to pick it up. Your head will be right in the line of fire of those back hooves. Kick the hoof pick away from the horse, then bend down to pick it up.

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