How to Keep a Horse Safe During Hunting Season

Two Parts:Making sure your Mount is SafeMaking Sure Your Horse Can Be Seen

Hunting is an enjoyable thing to do with your horse. As with any sport hunting is potentially dangerous, but with precautions you can make your that both you and your horse stay safe and have fun!

Part 1
Making sure your Mount is Safe

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    Know what kind of hunt you're aiming to do. There are different type of hunt: non-jumping, optional jumping and jumping. Don't go to a jumping hunt until you are sure of your horse an its ability out hunting. If you would rather not jump, go non-jumping, and if you want to jumping, try optional. This means if you don't like the fence you can go around it.
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    Mark your horse as needed for the safety of yourself and others.
    • If you are unsure whether your horse has been hunting before, then it is best to put a green ribbon in their tail. This shows that they are "green". People are more likely to pass you safely.
    • If you think your horse might kick, put a red ribbon in its tail. This will warn others to stay of the horse's bum. Also, remember to stay away from red and green ribbons if possible.
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    Upgrade your bit. Horses get strong out hunting. A bolting horse horse could cause a lot of damage.
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    Start slowly. Don't do anything you are not capable of. Don't attempt a jump if you are not sure your horse will get over it.
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    Watch for Blackthorn hedges. These are very dangerous. Do not jump them (they can get thorns stuck in your horse's legs).
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    Make sure the conditions are suitable. If it is wet/slippery don't attempt to jump. Jumping on slippery ground may cause a fall of horse and/or rider.
    • Don't attempt to hunt after dark, without Hi-Vis.
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    Make sure you cool your horse off. Even if the hunt ends, you might want to walk round the roads until your horse is no longer blowing.
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    Wash off, and check your legs. Sometimes it is safer to do this once you get home. You may also want to trot up if your horse feels stiff.
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    Don't forget to check your horse's leg the day after for any soreness, cuts or stiffness.

Part 2
Making Sure Your Horse Can Be Seen

Autumn is fast approaching and with it deer hunting season in some areas of the country. This time of year can be especially stressful for horse owners as keeping horses safe during hunting season can be challenging but not impossible.

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In the Field

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    Avoid times when it's difficult to see. If at all possible, keep horses in during early morning and at dusk or during foggy weather.
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    Put a bright (preferably orange) colored break-a-way halter on your horses whenever they are outside. Or if the temperature allows, put a brightly colored blanket on the horses.
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    Mark the areas around your horse. Orange hunting socks can be placed on fence posts, gates, placed on a tail (like a tail bag), electric fence and any other creative areas where it will be easily seen.
    • Prominently post “No Hunting” signs on gates and fences.
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    Use a bell if desired. A small bell (not for every horse) can be fastened to a horses halter.

While Riding

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    Avoid riding alone. Trail rides are better with company as well.
    • No matter what the season, when headed out on trail with your horse, tell someone your planned route and what time you will be back.
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    Make some noise. Hunting season is not the time to be silent. Keep up a constant banter or sing. Even better put bells on your mount. Bear bells, cow bells, sleigh bells, etc. all work extremely well at alerting hunters of your presence. They may help keep bears and other predators away too!
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    Always have a cell phone with you and keep it on you. A phone in your saddle bags does you no good if you are separated from your horse.
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    Avoid trail riding during peak hunting times, such as dawn and dusk.
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    Choose your route–avoid riding in known hunting areas. Stay in open fields where you will be more visible. A horse traveling through the trees might be mistaken for an elk but is more obvious in the open.
    • Stick to the main trails and fields and avoid the thick wooded areas where it is harder to identify you.
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    Wear orange, lots of it. Wearing hunter orange may not be a fashion statement, but it can save your life. It’s also the law in many states across country.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Care