How to Pet a Wild Horse

Horses are beautiful, wonderful animals that everyone loves to pet. But of course, we all know, that petting a wild horse isn't exactly the best idea. Here's how to be able to.

Note: This article is not about petting feral horses (like Mustangs). This is about petting horses that a flighty, and spook easily.


  1. 1
    When attempting to deal with any animal, the best approach is to understand how it communicates and thus communicate with it. You need to get to know exactly how horses act, and what their actions mean so you can 'talk' to them using their communication system.
  2. 2
    White area: Equine can see.
    Shaded area: Equine can't see.
    Always approach the horse from the side.
    A horse's eyes are on the sides of its head, so it cannot see directly in front or behind. If a horse can sense you but can't see you, it will probably get spooked and might accidentally injure you.
  3. 3
    Move toward the horse gradually, talking to it in a low, soothing voice as you do so. Make sure you're very calm and cautious, as any sudden movements or loud noises may startle the horse.
  4. 4
    When you are near the horse, slow down and imitate a nicker as well as you can. This body language will be interpreted as "I won't harm you" by the horse. Continue to approach the horse in this position until you are close enough to touch it.
  5. 5
    Reach out your hand, making sure that your fingers are pressed together and not splayed out. Gently stroke the horse's neck. If he resists at first, stop for awhile, while talking to him in a soothing voice. Then, try again.
    • If every time you touch him he runs or trots away (sometimes horses who don't want to be caught will do this), sit down in the pasture or corral facing away from the horse and just wait. Do not do this if your horse has a tendency to kick, or move carelessly and might injure you. Most horses are very curious, so he should gradually come towards you, making sure that you don't notice him. If after 5 minutes or so of no progress, get a treat, hold it, and try again. Remember not to give your horse the treat until he at least lets your rest your palm on him.


  • Move steadily and slowly at all times.
  • Be careful and wear the appropriate gear whenever around horses (riding boots and riding helmet)! Even though most horses will never try to hurt anyone, accidents can happen, if with a horse that's best buds with you.
  • If the horse is very scared and anxious when you touch him, just let your palm rest on his back or shoulder until he calms down.


  • Don't look into the horse's eyes, as it will see this as a threat.

Article Info

Categories: Horses