Horse Care Tips and Tricks for Horse Handling

Horse care tips and tricks - leading a horse

9 of the most useful horse care tips and tricks for the best ways to handle your horse, including advice for tricky loaders, sensitive horses, ones that won’t be caught and more…


Top horse care tips and tricks for handling your horse…


1) Prod don’t push – if you’ve ever had a horse stand on your foot and tried to push them away, you’ll know the pain as they just lean back against you! This is one of the horse care tips and tricks everyone should know – if you need a horse to move, use two fingers to prod or poke them, this is much more effective


2) This is common safe practice, but worth mentioning – when turning a horse out, once in the field turn them back to face the gate before undoing the headcollar. If they are excited and gallop off, or kick, you wont be left in the cross fire


3) If your horse is bargy, fresh or potentially full of energy from being on box rest, don’t risk them getting out of control – use a pressure halter, headcollar with a bit attached, or a bridle, and wear a pair of gloves (and ideally a helmet) to lead them

Horse care tips and tricks for handling - leading with a bit


4) If your horse is tricky to load, practice regularly! There is a temptation to force them onboard, however, this just re-enforces a negative association with loading. A technique I was taught by an equine behaviouralist was to use a pressure halter and encourage them with praise; make facing the trailer or lorry their most pleasant option. If they take a few steps back or play up, face them and actively back them up further. Then release pressure, turn your back, and walk forwards again. If needed, turn them away from the lorry and give them a light tap with a schooling whip or the end of the leadrope, then try again (this is one of those issues that I strongly recommending seeking professional help with if it persists)


5) If you are holding a horse for someone else (such as a vet or someone clipping), always stand on the same side of the horse as they are on; you are in a better position to observe and stop either of you being knocked or trampled


6) Don’t get into the habit of giving your horse too many treats, or every time you catch them, it can lead to bad manners (plus make them difficult to catch if you run out) I’ve known ponies who were so used to treats they would almost knock you over trying to get into your pockets!


7) If you have a horse that is sensitive or nervous, spend plenty of time working with them on the ground and grooming. Scrunching up a plastic bag and using it like a brush on them, starting at the shoulder, is a good way to desensitise them


8) If your horse keeps moving when you are trying to apply hoof oil, or trim feathers, getting an experienced handler to hold up the other leg on the same side can help to keep them still


9) If your horse or pony is tricky to catch, turn them out with a leather headcollar on (these are much safer than nylon ones as they’ll break if they get caught). Be mindful using feed to catch if there are a few horses in the field as you will be mobbed! It is also advisable to bring any other horses in first – if the tricky catcher is left alone, they’ll be more likely to want to join their friends on the yard (food can be used as a bribe at this point if you need to!). Also, having a smaller pen by the gate can help; if you can coral, or bribe them with food, into this area you have a much smaller area to catch them. If it is a recurring problem, spend some time working with join up techniques



You May Also Like…

If you liked these horse care tips and tricks for handling your horse, check out more tips here…

Horse Tips and Tricks for Riding

Horse Care Tips and Tricks for Grooming

Horse Care Tips and Tricks for Bathing a Horse

Miscellaneous Horse Care Tips and Tricks



Leave a comment