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Security at Horse Events
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th Apr 2018   •   683 views   •   0 comments


Horse show season is ramping up for many of us. Especially if you are in North America, youíll be noticing the show schedules being posted and perhaps lists of trail rides and other events you might be interested in attending. Although preparing for a competition of any type, or even making sure your horse is well trained and fit for any sort of outing, is a lot of work, your first priority when you get there is safety. This means securing your horse in a way that keeps it and the people and property around it safe.

At smaller outdoor shows where there is no stabling provided, most of us will keep our horses at our trailers or vans. Pick your parking spot carefully. Youíll want enough room to get around any horses if another rig pulls up beside yours. And you donít want to be squished tight against a fence. Look for low spots so you donít end up sloshing through a mini-swamp all day. People can leave stupid things lying around. Check the ground for any debris that might be a hazard.

Tying a horse anywhere can be risky, and a trailer with all of its hinges, fenders and other pokey stabby parts make it even more so. First of all, I really believe this is the place to use your strong, non-breaking halter. Most of the time, I say use your crappy, breakaway halter for turnout and around the stable. But, especially if youíre in a place where the public is roaming free, you might want to have a sturdy halter that wonít break easily if your horse pulls back.

Your tie rope should also be sturdy. Tie your horse high, with enough rope that it can eat and move its head naturally, but canít get its head down to the ground. If you tie low, your horse can easily step over or on the rope and get caught when it lifts its head. From here, chaos can ensue. Make sure too, that a tied horse canít get its halter or rope caught on any latches or hinges, such as the pin that holds the ramp up.

If your horse has a tendency to paw while tied at the trailer, you might want to leave the trailer wraps on, or put some boots on it to protect its legs. Feeding hay might divert it from pawing.

If you do park along a fence line, donít tie your horse to it. Fences can look sturdy, but have rotted posts or rails that could break if the horse pulls back a bit. The last thing you want is your horse freaking out as it tows a section of rotten fence through the event grounds. Likewise, donít tie to picnic tables, outdoor furniture or any other equipment or structures. Iíve even seen horses Ďtowí a trailer that wasnít hitched to a truck.

Some people leave their horses in the trailer, sometimes tacked up between classes. I can see the benefit of this from a containment standpoint. But, Iíve seen horses get in trouble standing on parked trailers. Horses slip or do stupid things whether a trailer is moving or not, so this is not a completely risk free way of securing them. And I would be concerned about the heat on a hot summer day.

Some events have indoor or outdoor stalls. These are convenient and easier. But, donít take for granted they are perfectly safe. Check for loose boards, nails or other hazards that might hurt you or your horse. And be aware that these are great places for germs to hide, so if something like EHV is going around, know that these are places that viruses can hang out.

Your horse will need to eat and drink while youíre at an event. A hay bag is safer than a net, and either must be tied high. Itís not good for a horse to eat in a head-up position constantly, but when youíre out of the stable, itís still the safer choice. A little common sense helps when looking after your horses at an event. Safety first, always.
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