Petting a horse sounds and feels great. However, you cannot be careless when trying to touch a horse. Knowing how to pet a horse is a must to keep the horse comfortable and to keep yourself safe.
Announce Your Arrival at the Horse
Before you can pet the horse, you have to make sure that you have said hi to the horse from afar already. Yes, you need to announce your arrival to the horse first before touching it. However, you have to do it correctly. You cannot run to the horse while screaming crazily to express your excitement. You can use a whistle or soothing voice instead to announce your arrival. You need to walk toward the shoulder of the horse. This way, the horse can see you and know that you do not want to harm it. Remember, the horse cannot see directly behind it or in front of its face.
Show a Calm Presence
Humans and horses speak different languages for sure. However, the horse can understand you by seeing your physical communication. You need to stay calm when approaching the horse. You need to relax. Do not fidget! Horses say hi to each other by touching their noses and sniffing. You give a similar experience; you can show your hand to the horse. Place your hand below the nose and let the horse investigate. The horse might think that your fingers are carrots if they are not put together. If the horse lowers its head and lick its lips or turns toward you, it means that the horse has accepted your presence.
Now, you can touch the horse further. It does not mean that you can touch it freely. You need to know how to pet a horse by touching the horse correctly. You can give the horse a massage. It will not be a kind of therapeutic massage, of course. It will be more like making a long stroke. You can do it along its neck and shoulder. The horse will love some rub with strong and rhythmical strokes. Besides on the neck and shoulder, you can rub it on its chest, barrel, and hip. You have to pay attention to its back legs when rubbing under its barrel if you do not want to get kicked.
You can also give some scratches to the horse. You can make a reverse scratch on its ears and face. The horse will love to get scratched on the areas that are hard to be reached on its own such as the ‘armpit’ areas of the front legs. The horse will love to get some gentle scratch under the jaw, on the forehead, and the whiter.
Avoid Touching These Areas
You might want to touch the horse everywhere. It is possible to do this but you have to make the horse fully trust you first and it can take a lot of time. Until then, you have to make sure to avoid these areas when touching the horse. It is essential on how to pet a horse. You should not touch the genital region and tail.