When a horse charges, it can be an alarming experience for anyone involved. It is important that you know the signs of when a horse might charge and how to safely handle these situations. That way you won’t be caught off-guard! The first thing to understand about charging horses is why they do it in the first place.
Horses will often charge because they are scared or feel threatened by something outside their field of vision (e.g., an object or person). They may also charge out of frustration if there’s no other outlet for their energy after being on a tight leash for too long.
Horses can be dangerous if they feel threatened and may lash out before quickly retreating.. If you have a horse and it becomes aggressive, what should you do?
Here are some tips for how to handle an attack from your horse.
What to do if a Horse Attacks You
You should never approach a strange horse without the owner present. If a situation arises where a horse does become aggressive towards you, here are some tips for how to defend yourself:
- When a horse attacks, put your hands up as if surrendering and try to appear as big as possible. Use low-pitched noises such as “hey hey” or “shh shh.” You can also clap or whistle loudly or sharply. Try stomping your feet on the ground too. These actions will let the horse know that you are not a threat, but may still protect yourself.
- Do not make eye contact with the horse. This can trigger an attack. Try to look low by looking at its chest, legs or feet if possible.
- If the attack continues, move out of reach as quickly as possible or jump vertically into the air with your back facing towards the horse’s head – this should cause it to lose interest in you and direct its attention elsewhere.
- If attacked from behind, try manipulating your body so that you fall onto your stomach. Roll around on the ground until you are sure that the horse has moved away from you – horses usually will not step on top of humans without proper reason because they have been trained not to.
- Always have an escape route ready, but do not make the mistake of trying to escape by running alongside a fence or other barrier that will prevent you from removing yourself out of reach, instead use the lee side (corner where the horse cannot see you if it is facing away from you).
- If these strategies fail and the attack continues, curl up into a ball with your hands over your head/ears and legs tucked in tight. Do not resist or strike out at the horse as this may cause it to trample parts of your body during its attack.
- If you are knocked down by a horse’s front legs, roll out from under it as quickly as possible. This will help make sure that its hind legs will not accidentally trample you as it may be a little unstable.
- If you are knocked down by a horse’s hind legs, curl up into a ball with your hands over your head/ears and legs tucked in tight.
- When the attack has stopped, wait until the animal is calm before moving away from it (it could become startled once more and return to its attack). Furthermore, if possible move well clear of any fencing that it may jump over or breakthrough during an escape attempt since this could result in serious injury.
- Seek medical attention if you are injured.
What to do if a horse runs towards you
- If it’s a horse you are familiar with, call out its name and wait for the animal to recognize you.
- Stand still and avoid eye contact to prevent agitating it further – horses can sense fear and might attack in response to this.
- Avoid sudden movements or running away (if possible). Horses will instinctively give chase when they see something running from them.
- Should the horse not be familiar with you at all, wave an object such as a riding crop/stick in front of it (not over its head). A moving target is harder for a horse to focus on than one that is stationary and waving an object may distract it or cause it to shy away.
- If the horse still doesn’t recognize you, call out its name and wait for it to recognize you. Then keep very slowly backing up until it calms down or gets bored.
Do Horses Attack Humans?
Horses generally do not attack humans unless provoked or startled by them, but they can inflict serious injuries if they feel threatened enough. Horses are prey animals, and as such, they have developed a fight-or-flight instinct that can make them behave unpredictably.
If you are worried about being injured by a horse, try to learn more about how it might act in different situations before getting close to one. If you feel that you must be up close to the animal, do your best not to startle or surprise it. Keep your body language relaxed and friendly at all times.
Finally, if a horse does attack you, try to protect your face with both hands while lying on the ground. Don’t move suddenly because this could trigger another attack from the horse.