GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION
ADULTS ACCOMPANY MINORS All students under the age of 18 are to be accompanied by an adult who remains
throughout the lesson. The person does not need to be the parent but I need to know who will be coming. In case of
medical emergency, the adult with the child will be able to provide/secure medical treatment. We have had simple things
happen like a child getting too hot and throwing up or getting close to passing out.
NO UNATTENDED CHILDREN Those not riding will have to stay in a designated area within the adult’s sight. This is a
working farm and there are too many hazards to list between animals, machinery, chemicals and such. I do have a training
pen close to the riding arena that children can play in. They are not allowed to remain in the barn.
NO ONE GOES INTO THE HAY BARN because the hay stacks are unstable.
FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR PET please do not bring them with you.
BEFORE MOVING YOUR VEHICLE, please make sure critters are out of the way. The dogs have an annoying habit of
getting right in front of the vehicles right where you can’t see them. Please – observe speed limit of 5 mph. Thanks for
APRIL THROUGH NOVEMBER watch for snakes. We encourage bull snakes to stay around. When we have them we do not
have the poisonous rattle snakes around.
THOSE NOT RIDING should be in closed toed shoes with socks. Soil with livestock has its own unique set of germs and
if a person gets stepped on by a horse, it is quite painful. Even in dry weather we always seem to have a bumper crop of
PERSONAL BEHAVIOR if a person displays unsafe, irresponsible or inappropriate behavior, Abrazos Adventure reserves
the option of not serving that individual. People with fatalistic, negative or argumentative attitudes are unsafe around
horses. Remember that alcohol or drugs will change the energy the horse reads.
MEDICAL ISSUES – HUMANS considering that you are interacting with another living being that reacts to the energy we
emit, medications and some medical conditions could interfere. Let me know so adjustments can be made as needed. Some
conditions that come to mind are Asperger’s Syndrome, allergies, asthma, ADHD, bi-polar, allergies to insect bites and
injuries either old or new that could affect balance and reaction time.
We have had riders with special conditions such as Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Bi-polar condition, ADHD, Deafness,
Down Syndrome, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, head trauma survivor, stroke victim, muscle spasms, and people with other
assorted physical limitations.
MEDICATIONS AND SPECIAL PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS if you have a situation where balance and reaction time
might be compromised, let’s talk. It is possible to ride and do well even if you are taking medications or have a physical
restriction. Certain medical conditions are not a problem when riding.
THE CATS Do not try to be friendly with them. They are barn cats, not people cats.
DOGS The red one, Slinky, and the black and white, Noki, are the barn greeters. Please do not let or encourage them to
jump up. They usually sit or roll over for a tummy rub. Visit with them after your ride.
HORSE PENS do not go into unless approved by me. Do not pick up hay and feed to horses at their pens. If we do this, it
can teach them to bite.
NO CHEWING GUM while riding.
EMOTIONAL ATTITUDE/GARBAGE Dump it before coming to the barn. We have special ‘garbage bags’ for riders who
arrive in a bad mood. Ask MW for one if needed. You put all the bad feelings into the bag, close it and leave the bag in
the feed room. This way you don’t take the ‘garbage’ with you to the horse. When you are totally done with everything, you
may leave the bag, retrieve the bag, take it with you or dispose of it in our trash. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
YOUR WEIGHT As your weight changes keep up with the horse load limits. We have a scale at the barn if there is a
question. Remember, the saddle weight is part of the total. If you are close to or over a load limit we need to talk.
HELMET Make sure it is on the head as demonstrated in the film. Anything else will not provide the protection intended.
It goes directly from the box onto the head and directly from the head into open box. If a helmet is dropped on the
floor/ground I have to take it out of service and replace it. There is a $50 replacement charge.
CELL PHONES Riders and non-riders In the barn, leading the horse and on the horse – have the phone on vibrate with no
sound if you have to have it with you. The horses are trained to my ringer. Kids DO NOT ride with cell phones on their
CONCERNS FOR THE DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES IN WHICH WE RIDE
IF YOU LET YOUR SELF GET TO THE POINT OF PASSING OUT, AND ARE WITH OR ON A HORSE, YOU ARE IN AN
EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS SITUATION.
STAYING HYDRATED IN HOT WEATHER – Riders and non-riders both
Drinking - Plan to bring water or sport drink with you. Water or sport drink seem to be the best for keeping the individual
hydrated. It is a good idea to start drinking about 30 minutes before you are due to arrive for the lesson. Bring enough
drink to see you through the lesson and on your way home. Bring the drink to the barn and sip on it while tacking up. Be
sure to take the drink to the arena. If you have a person with you they may be the water keeper. Stop and get a drink
when you feel the need. On really hot days keep drinking even if you don't feel like it. If you run out you may refill your
container with good well water at the barn faucet.
Wet neck scarfs – We have bandannas in the barn. You are free to use one. You can soak it at the faucet then tie it
around your neck. Makes a wonderful personal ‘air conditioner’ while you are here.
After getting off the horse take a good drink just before you return to the barn. Because there is little air circulation
inside the barn on very hot days some riders tend to become faint after entering the barn when finished riding.
Re-wet the rag around your neck if needed and take a good drink before untacking; that can help prevent you from
getting sick or passing out. Do it right away after letting me know so I can keep an eye on your horse.
Clothing hot weather - Tank tops are fine in warm weather as long as you are accustomed to our sun. You can burn in a
very short period of time.
Recommended for warm weather
- Sun screen
- Insect repellent
- Long sleeves if you do not tolerate the sun
- Wet a neck scarf and put it around your neck to help keep cool
- Wet your shirt if you like to help keep cool
IF YOU LET YOUR SELF GET EXTREMELY COLD, AND ARE WITH OR ON A HORSE, YOU ARE IN AN EXTREMELY
Being cold can cause your reflexes and judgment to slow down significantly as well as cause you to stiffen your body on
Many of you live in town and the wind is blocked by houses and other buildings. Here we do not have wind break. The wind
only has to be between 10 and 20 miles per hour on a fairly nice day to cause discomfort and at even slower speeds at
lower temperatures to cause misery. We can and do ride in the winter dressed appropriately.
Layering is an excellent idea
-Bring a heavy jacket. If it is not needed that is fine. If you need it you have it. That goes for spectators
-Neck scarves - help keep cold air out. Make sure they are tucked down in the jacket, not flapping
-Head warmers - Since we use the helmets with the dial adjustment we can use some head coverings
and still have the helmet fit securely. We will just have to experiment on a case by case basis.
-Gloves - to be a good riding glove they need some sort of gripper in the palm or need to be leather.
Slick palmed gloves make it hard to hold the reins at the correct length. You will need to tack and
untack with bare hands. Gloves, unless skin tight, are too bulky.
-Pants - need to be long enough so there is not a gap between the boot and bottom of the pant. Pantie
hose make a good undergarment as do tights or winter long underwear.
NOTE: If you did not arrive with enough clothes to keep warm there are jackets, hoodies, gloves and hats in the barn.
You are welcome to borrow - just put them back when done.
TYPE CLOTHING TO RIDE IN – General Information Clothing should fit comfortably.
-If it is too tight that will cause problems in your ability to move as needed. If it is too loose you can
catch things on the saddle or horse and get hung up. The horse may nibble on loose stuff coming
toward his/her mouth.
-Loose and flapping - can be very distracting and you may be using one of your hands to take care of it
when both hands should be engaged with your horse. Sometimes loose and flapping clothes can cause
your horse to spook.
-Too big - may catch pieces on the saddle horn when you are dismounting and you may find yourself
hanging off the side of the horse.
-Hoodies and jackets unzipped - will slip down off one or both shoulders onto the upper arm. At this point your ability to
use your arms and hands properly for steering is severely impaired. Zip up before mounting.
-Boots too loose - can fall off. A little loose is good. For riding in a saddle - the individual will wear boots with a one inch
heel with slick sole. For riding bareback - the individual may wear a sturdy sneaker or boots. If the boots slip off the
foot, the rider may take them off after mounting and put them on before dismounting.
-Hoodies and jackets too big - If the jacket sleeves come down too far over your hands you may not be able to use your
-Nylon jackets too big - can fill with air and make a noise that causes the horse to be nervous.
-Pants - Denim, jean style pants are recommended. Shorts are discouraged but allowed. Nylon is discouraged - it is slick
and noisy. If not extremely noisy it is allowed.
-Clothing with strings - not recommended.
-For being around the horses - I recommend a closed toe, sturdy shoe worn with socks. Ground that contains manure also
incubates the tetanus germ. Give your feet protection from both the horse hoof stepping on you and encountering a very
nasty germ. Flip flops are NOT good footwear for the barn.
THIS NEXT SECTION IS HORSE SPECIFIC INFORMATION AS IT PERTAINS TO ALL WHO COME HERE
Do not go in to any horse pen. Do not feed the horses anything.
Do not pick at them – pet them by either stroking, rubbing or scratching.
Horses are considered prey animals and we are considered predators in their world. This means the normal way we walk
and handle our body is sending predator messages to the horse. We have to think like them and change our behavior so
the relationship between us will be a good one.
I have tried to include information below that I think is important as you enter the world of the horse. If we become
aware then we can minimize the chance for accident and injury.
Talking and approaching the horse with purpose in our bearing are safety behaviors for us - the human. A predator does
not do this; a predator sneaks.
Learn to listen to your horse. It has many ways of communicating with you. I will point out this information as your lessons
progress. As you learn to read a horse’s body language you will find some things may look alike (ears back for instance)
but circumstances and the horse will determining the message. When humans use words they also use a ‘tone of voice’ to
convey the message. So does the horse with its body language.
Remember that the horse is reading our body language and the messages we are sending at all times. They may or may not
take action on the message so we need to be sure it is a correct message at all times.
Horses have great eyesight and hearing. As we interact with them we need to remember this. They hear things and see
things that are at a distance (a mile away is common) and, depending on how they perceive the information, it just might
become a threat. If it is perceived as a threat, their programming tells them to run or to fight.
As gentle as horses become and work with us, they are not going to make their decisions like a human. Their point of
reference is very different from ours. They make their decision from horse information and nature's programming; how
does it affect me – the horse. The more we learn about, understand, and respect this, the safer we can be with them.
Talking to your horse is a great way to make sure he/she knows where you are at all times. It gives the horse a place to
focus his/her attention rather than letting it wander to the non-thinking side of the brain. The human’s 'control' of the
horse is with the thinking side of the brain which has been taught to look to you for leadership. Your horse is always
looking for leadership and if you fail to provide it then the reactive programming (flight or fight) begins to take over and
accidents can occur.
My horses understand the English language. Certain phrases and words have meaning no matter who is saying them. Learn
to use the words to help the horse understand what it is you want him/her to do. The words may be combined with a sound
and/or a physical cue. When I use combinations like that I refer to them as cue packages.
An example would be leading the horse. The human puts the right hand on the lead line under the snap. Their left hand
carries excess lead line so nothing is dragging. The human is at the side of the horse, looks straight ahead and starts
walking. The human may use the word ‘walk’ just before taking the first step.
Your communication MUST BE CLEAR so the horse has a clear understanding of what you expect it to do. If you are not
clear, the horse will do what you ask but not necessarily what you intended.
Your attitude must be relaxed and without emotion around the horse but you need to maintain alertness and appropriate
I 'read' the horse as we are catching and getting it ready to ride. Based on what I see with both the horse and rider you
may have changes in instruction and be asked to do something very different at this time. I will always try to explain why
we are doing what we are doing because I want all my folks to be as informed as they possibly can.
There are times you might need to walk around a horse. Talk whenever you are with a horse. This lets him/her know where
you are. It also keeps you focused on your horse.
In my barn, when the horse is tied in the barn you may go under the neck. Be sure to talk as you go, put your hand on
his/her neck before you go under and keep it there as you go. If the horse is not tied to anything, simply remain upright
and walk in front of the horse.
If you already have your hands on the horse, keep a hand on it as you walk around the hind end. Use the hand that is close
to the horse as you turn to walk around. Be sure to stay close to the horse as you do this. If you are really close and
he/she decides to kick he/she will probably push you with the cannon bone rather than connect with the hoof. TALK ALL
THE WAY AROUND.
If you are coming up on a horse and have not been touching, talk to the horse but do not reach out to touch. All my guys
know what 'coming around' or 'coming behind you' means. Keep a little distance so you don't bump the horse. NEVER
COME UP BEHIND A HORSE AND TOUCH IT. Give the hind end room and approach the horse’s shoulder to begin
touching – horse’s left shoulder preferred.
NEVER COME UP BEHIND A HORSE WITHOUT TALKING AND GETTING A SIGNAL FROM HIM/HER THAT HE/SHE
KNOWS YOU ARE THERE.
Some of the following sounds it may make your horse nervous or jumpy.
Cell phone - turn it off or put on vibrate. Kids will NOT ride with cell phone. NOTE The horses have been trained to my
ringer and understand that Dan will have all kinds of strange noises accompanying him .
Velcro - This particular sound can cause your horse concern. If you need to do anything that has a Velcro sound check with
MW as how to proceed.
Water bottle - do not squeeze the plastic bottle around the horse. It makes a popping sound that can make the horse
Sudden movements by you, another person or horse can cause your horse to take evasive action. Make sure your body is
working in the ‘horse energy’ mode and your movements are calm and smooth.
If you need to pass a horse tied to a fence try to do it on the side of the fence that is in front of the horse. Whenever
we can choose to walk in front of a horse, rather than behind, do it. The same is true – even more so – if you are leading a
horse with you.
If you are feeding treats by hand to a horse, be sure your hand is flat. The horse will go for the highest thing on your
hand and the treat should be it. Take your hand and put it under the horse's mouth then up to the mouth. If the horse
reaches toward you he/she may accidentally get the edge of your fingers. You will unknowingly move your hand away from
the horse’s mouth if it is coming at you and this can result in a horse bite. The reason is you have offered the treat then
taken it away. As long as it keeps coming the horse is fine. When he thinks you are not going to give it to him he feels the
need to grab it for himself. Always keep your eyes on what you are doing. Do not jerk your hand away.
THE ONLY SAFETY OFFICER WE HAVE ON DUTY HERE IS YOU. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON DUTY AT ALL
TIMES WHEN WITH THE HORSES. IF YOU BRING OTHER VISITORS OR FAMILY WITH YOU THEIR SAFETY IS
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. THANK YOU.
|SAFETY INFORMATION FOR
RIDERS AND SPECTATORS
© Wendy Toombs 2013