Screaming Around Horses

by admin on April 24, 2012

This is an unusual area of etiquette we don’t normally discuss but being that I am a horseowner, I find myself wishing non-horse people knew better etiquette around animals large enough to inflict serious injuries.

The following video shows a rather epic wreck in a show ring with loose horses dragging harness and carts behind them. The first horse starts the problem when he gets stung by hornets near the far end of the arena.

Every time a horse collides with people or other horses, the audience screams. For a horse, this has the same effect as pouring gasoline on a fire. They hear it and assume there is danger they must flee from. If you are ever in an arena or at a parade route where there is a loose horse, BE QUIET! (With the caveat being that screams to warn someone in imminent danger of being trampled being OK.) Don’t flail your arms like a windmill chasing after it either. I’ve seen a lot of you tube videos where people think they are helping but what they are doing is driving the horse forward to continue running. Stay quiet, get out of the way and let the professionals handle it.

The announcer in the previous video doesn’t help the problem with her emotion-laden voice and conflicting directions.

Contrast the former video with this next one. The announcer calmly and immediately commands the audience to be quiet repeatedly and they comply. Several tons of horseflesh gets under control rather quickly because the audience doesn’t get out of control. There are a dozen horses or more wearing blinkers which prevents them seeing behind themselves so if the audience behind them had erupted into screaming, they would have panicked wondering what horrible thing was coming from the rear to get them.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicky April 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

Wow – that first video was a train wreak. And I fully agree that it was challenging to resolve quickly because of the announcer’s lack of direction/confusing directions. Additionally, I don’t feel that some of the “professionals” in the ring handled it well either. That said, as a parent of a daughter who rides and shows in Hunter Jumper, I think it is hard to not automatically react initially with a gasp or audiable expression when we see a rider get thrown or a horse get out of control. The first time my daughter was thrown, I gasped out loud. It takes a lot of effort to not do that even now for me but I am able to. So I think we need to cut the non-horse people some slack and just focus on educating them to horse show etiquette, including, I might add, silencing the cell phones

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Claire April 24, 2012 at 6:15 am

I neither love nor hate horses. I can see how ridiculous the first video is, I would know to keep quiet and out of the way. I would have no idea how to deal with a terrified horse or stop it bolting.

I have to add though that I personally dislike seeing horses used in this way as entertainment for humans, particularly as entertainment for humans who clearly don’t understand them! I cannot see the necessity.

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Stacey Frith-Smith April 24, 2012 at 7:07 am

The OP’s advice is very good and applies to so many situations in life. Our voices to the young, the elderly, pets and people should convey that we are competent and here to help. In an emergency it is imperative. I did not know that horses were so sensitive, even having had two when young.

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Marijelly April 24, 2012 at 7:10 am

The announcer in the first video should have been prepared what to say and instruct in a scenario like this. Weird also how so many people and horses could get hurt – why not get out of your cart and walk and hold your horse as far out of the way as possible, instead of just waiting to get struck…Everyone should have been taken out sooner.

The announcer in the second video was amazingly calm and, together with the professional handlers in the arena, prevented a disaster – she deserves a big bunch of roses!

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AMC April 24, 2012 at 7:11 am

Wow! The second video is pretty incredible. It’s amazing how the announcer keeping calm and directing others to do the same made such a difference. The lady clearly has a lot of experience with this type of situation and knows what she’s doing. Bravo!

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Moosh April 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thank you for this post admin! I’ve been stewing over this topic ever since first seeing the video, the number one thing I was taught was ‘be quiet around horses they’re prey animals’. An agitated or scared animal is not going to calm down if everyone is running around and screaming, in fact you’re more likely to set off the other calm animals and make the situation so much more dangerous.

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Enna April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

The first video is shocking. After the intial first gasp of concern/shock the audience should have remained quiet and the annoncer should have remained calm, telling people to be quiet. As for the second video, it does seem more contorlled. I don’t know much about horses but I would never try and stop a scared house by trying to stand in front of it.

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Shea April 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

That second video is very impressive! Good on the announcer, and good on the audience for keeping silent when asked.

I grew up with horses, and you wouldn’t believe how many people think it’s funny to try and spook them. I used to go trail riding with the other kids in the area who had horses, and to get to the trails we had to ride along the road for a bit (this was quite acceptable in the area, people rode along this road all the time). This was a country road and not very busy, so sometimes we wouldn’t see even one car. Most people who did drive past knew to drive slowly so as not to spook the horses, but every once in awhile there would be some moronic specimen of humanity who’d honk or gun the engine. Fortunately none of us were ever hurt (our horses were mostly of the bombproof, seen-it-all-and-done-it-all variety), but who thinks that’s a good idea?! It’s not only cruel to the horses, it’s potentially extremely dangerous.

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Xtina April 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

As a horse owner myself, I just have to say–preach the gospel, sistah! Granted it’s hard to control that knee-jerk reaction of a scream or sudden movement, especially if you are not used to being around animals like horses, but the more you hear it, the more it will become ingrained in your brain.

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Sophia April 24, 2012 at 8:56 am

@AMC, in riding lessons at school, I quickly learned to communicate confidence and calmness in order to keep my horse at ease and let her know that I was not scared (which, in turn, put her at ease with working with me). With her being blind in one eye, keeping her calm was especially important. At first, the difference does seem amazing, but when you think about it, the horse looks to you for guidance, and you need to act like a good leader by being calm so that the horse can feel confident about you leading it.

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Cat April 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

And then there are people who think it funny to scare horses, especially those with riders. I live in horse country and people will drive up behind a horse being ridden and blow the horn or gun the engine to frighten the horse and to try to get the rider thrown. It’s illegal but the car is gone before the rider can get the horse under control and get the tag number.

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admin April 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Cat, I have a driving pony that is so well trained that an 18 wheeler can pass her on the road, honking its air horn and she won’t bat an eye. She’s currently in training to desensitize her to a cracking whip, gun shots, a plastic trash bag covering her head, trotting over tarps and all kinds of obstacles landing on top of her and getting caught under the cart. Even with training they can still panic but it’s a lot less likely.

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Wendy April 24, 2012 at 9:29 am

My family had horses before they had me. :o) So I grew up knowing that there are some things you just don’t do…like run at them, make loud noises, etc. (With the same caveats…I’ve run after our horses to drive them away from something, for example.) That poor horse…had people kept their heads, the creature probably would have calmed down on his own after a few moments. (“What? No one else is upset? Maybe I’m okay then.”) But they just made it worse…you’d think “horse people” would know better.

I wonder if it wouldn’t behoove arenas to pass out papers with instructions: “In case of accident, please remain calm, do not shout and quietly remain in your seat or quickly remove yourself from danger.” Although people probably wouldn’t read it.

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Guess April 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

My first year of teaching preschool, I saw a small girl take quite a tumble on a jumping apparatus. I gave a little shriek and ran to her. The older, calmer, experienced teacher stopped me immediately and set me on another task.
She later explained, the moment I yelled, I was adding to the problem, not easing it. The person in charge must remain calm and in control.

A few years later, when I had my first born’s baby shower, one of the best pieces of advice DH and I were given was, “the moment BEFORE you react is the most important moment.”

In the 2nd video, those horses were HUGE!!! And powerful. Yet the damage was mitigated by a calm announcer. Great contrast between the two videos.

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manybellsdown April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

When I was in college in Santa Barbara, the city tried their hand at hosting their own Renaissance Faire. The second year they ran it, one of the attractions was a pony cart ride that would take you around some of the grounds.

About halfway through the last day, some kids thought it would be funny to sneak up on the ponies and yell BOO! at one. This resulted in the panicked pony bolting, dragging its harness-mate and the cart with it. I was there with my SCA group, in a tent along the pony route. No one was able to stop the runaway cart until it plowed into a large crowd of people almost back where it had started.

Several people, including a pregnant woman, had to be rushed to the hospital. Both ponies were badly injured and had to be put down. And the “Medieval Mayfaire” never took place again. I think of this whenever there’s a video like this, or the ones on Hell’s Bells about the horses used in weddings.

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GroceryGirl April 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

To be fair: I’ve never spent much time around horses and don’t know much about them. It makes sense that loud noises would startle a large animal but horses spend a lot of time around crowds so that’s a little bit of contradiction (the only horses I see are the ones that pull carriages in Central Park and the occasional police horse). I would never know the proper way to react in a situation like that and I don’t think it should be considered a breach of etiquette – nobody ever taught me how to act around a horse…

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GroceryGirl April 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

I misread this post initially, it’s really just the demeanor of the people in charge that matters. The first announcer was trying to calm people but she seemed a little too panicked herself.

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Natalie April 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

To be fair, it is human nature to make noise when we see or sense danger. I appreciate the lesson on being in a situation such as these. The second announcer was wonderful with her calm voice and repeated instructions and you can clearly see the effect it has on the crowd.

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lkb April 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

It seems that at events like these, there should be a prominent note in the program and on whatever scoreboard/message board etc. about how to react in such a case. Or, perhaps an announcement at the beginning of the event and definitely if such an incident occurs.

I agree with Vicky, however, that it would be very hard not to gasp or even scream when someone (whether human or animal) is trampled or about to be trampled by a horse. Most definitely cut the newbie some slack.

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Underwater April 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I’ve seen these videos on various horse forums. The ground crew in the first video just make the situation worse & worse. Running, yelling and putting oneself in the path of a panicking horse is a stupid thing to do. Not only is it likely to get a person hurt but it just ratchets up the horse’s level of panic. A panicked horse is not thinking and it won’t be able to think until it starts to calm down. When horses get scared, the best thing is for the humans to be even more calm, focused and quiet in their voice & movement. The general consensus from people I’ve talked to who know about driving, is that when the first horse bolted, all the teams should’ve come to the center and the grounds crew should have spaced themselves between the rail & the center to encourage the horse to stay on the rail, telling it to whoa but not to run at it. With no screaming or being chased, after a few laps, it would’ve likely gotten over it’s initial fright and have slowed down enough to start listening.

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Ann April 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Yes, Bravo! to the second announcer. The first one shouldn’t be hired again on either a paid or a volunteer basis. Also, some of the the so-called professionals in the ring had clearly didn’t have much experience with horses.

As to Claire, horses are wonderfully emotional animals, and a huge responsibility to take on and maintain. Do you truly not grasp that they would no longer exist if it weren’t for the efforts of many?

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Underwater April 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

In the 2nd video, the situation could have gotten a lot worse when the trace chain got caught in that left horse’s shoe. He was upset and if the people around him hadn’t been able to calm him down, it could’ve been a real rodeo. Draft horses are known as gentle giants but they are still horses and can panic. If he had been allowed to freaked out and started plunging & kicking, that would have likely resulted in some serious injuries to both people & horses.

Actually for me, that part where they got those two drafts stopped and contained is the scariest par. The chain looked like it was well caught on the shoe and, personally, I wouldn’t want to be the one to try and get it off.

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admin April 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Yes, the left horse got his shoe caught in the tug chain and single tree of his partner almost immediately and a lot of the drama is his panic trying to free his hoof and his partner freaking out with him.

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PM April 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

It annoys the absolute ehell out of me when people respond to emergencies by screaming and carrying on, making it even more difficult to negotiate your way through the situation.

The announcer in the second video was absolutely amazing. Not only did SHE keep calm, but she remembered exactly what she was supposed to say and remembered that people need just as much soothing in emergency situations as the scared animals. The constant murmuring of “stay quiet” was an excellent way of keeping the crowd calm and I loved the absolute calm in her voice as she asked for the ambulance. Masterful. Good for her.

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Challis April 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

the two shows in the videos couldn’t be more different.
The second video is from a draft horse competition or some sort of chuck wagon event; where they are used to and prepared for dangerous situations, as they happen quite frequently.
the first video appears to be from an Arabian Horse show, where the cart and buggy is a specific class, but where the majority of the competition involves horse and rider. They are not expecting dramatic events to take place, so they are not as well-versed in handeling high-stress events.

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spartiechic April 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

That first one was horrible! If only the announcer was as calm as the second one, it might have turned out completely different. On a side note, I was proud to see the second one was from my hometown of Lansing!

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Cat Whisperer April 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

A couple of comments here:

First, comparing the first video, which involves Arabian horses, with the second video, which involves draft horses, is comparing apples and avocados.

I owned an Arabian gelding that was broke to both drive and ride. I’ve worked with Arabian horses since I was in my teens. They’re great horses, but they are at the “hot” end of the temperament spectrum. They tend towards nervous, high-strung behavior and any horseman who has worked with a variety of breeds will tell you that while there are individual exceptions, as a breed Arabians are as “hot” as it gets– they freak out easily, and it’s very hard to calm them down.

Draft horses, on the other hand, are on the “cold” end of the equine temperament spectrum. Things that will have an Arabian horse dancing madly and freaking out in a full-blown fit will hardly rate a glance from most draft horses. The reason the draft horses in the second video didn’t freak out the way the Arabians did in the first video has less to do with how the audience reacted than with the temperament of the horses involved. Ask anyone who has worked with them: draft horses are calmer than Arabians. No question, no contest, no dispute.

I’ve gotta say this, too: by and large, people who work with draft horses are better at training horses to drive than people who train Arabians and other riding-horse breeds. People who work with draft horses, in my experience, are better at making sure their horses are broke to be safe.

When you train horses to drive, “whoa” is the first command you teach them, and if you don’t mess around with it. When you’re driving horses, especially if you’re driving teams, and ESPECIALLY if you’re driving teams of four, you have to make the verbal cue “whoa” an absolute, because as a driver you just plain don’t have the brawn to stop four horses using muscle-power if they want to keep going.

So as a trainer, you start working on “whoa” before you ever even break a horse to harness. By the time you get a to the point where you’re ground-driving a horse, he should be broke to “whoa” to the point where if you’ve got him loose in a round pen, he’ll stop dead and stand still until you “release” him just by using the command “whoa.”

People who train draft horse teams really, really, really take that seriously. My experience islight that people who train pleasure driving horses, not so much.

This is particularly true for people who train light breeds of horses like Arabians, Saddlebreds, and Morgans for the show ring.

The classes these horses are shown in, particularly Arabian breed classes, are won by horses that demonstrate extension, impulsion, animation, and the intangible charismatic character that is usually called “fire.” So the training these horses receive tends to encourage them to move forwardly, with a lot of energy and animation, rather than to emphasize safety and collection and submission. (FWIW, I’ve heard several nationally-recognized Arabian trainers brag at seminars and clinics that they like to keep a horse “semi-broke” because that keeps the horse animated, and they’d rather have a horse that’s not bullet-proof safe because a horse that’s dead-broke bulletproof, fireproof safe lacks animation.)

Which brings me, in a a roundabout way, to my point: it is not the responsibility of people who know nothing about horses to help horsemen control their animals. It is the responsibility of the person who is handling the horse, and the person who is training the horse, to be safe.

If you own a horse and you cannot ride him, or drive him, or handle him safely, then you have no business taking him anywhere where he will encounter people who do not know how to act around horses. It’s that simple. And if you do choose to take a horse into a situation where it’s beyond your ability to handle him safely, and someone gets hurt as a result, it’s YOUR fault. Not the fault of people you expose him to, for whom a horse may be as foreign as any animal that they see in a zoo.

In the first video, I also have to fault the show management and the announcer. Loose horses are going to happen in the showring occasionally, and everyone should know what to do when something goes wrong. I find it incredible that the announcer waited until all hell was breaking loose to “gate” the horses (direct the other drivers to leave the ring). I also find it incredible that the ring stewards and judge seemed to be clueless about what to do.

The moment that first horse lost his driver, the announcer should have directed everyone else to the gate. And everyone in that class should have known immediately to proceed to the gate, which someone should have manned immediately, and to exit the ring as soon as they could safely do so. The ring stewards and judge should have concentrated on getting everyone else out of the ring as quickly as could be done safely.

I understand where the OP is coming from; it’s incredibly frustrating when well-intentioned but ignorant people do things that make a bad situation with horses worse. But where I disagree with the OP is on the matter of responsibility. I feel that you cannot make people who may never have had anything to do with horses except watch them from a distance responsible in any way for safety issues relating to the horses.

The responsibility for safety belongs to the people who do know about horses: the handlers, the trainers, the people who manage events where horses could potentially interact with unwary spectators. Those people know (or should know) the hazards horses present. Particularly the people who are handling the horses: they absolutely should know their capabilities, and they shouldn’t let their ego write a check that their level of experience and expertise can’t cover. It’s just plain irresponsible to put yourself and your horse in a situation where you are endangering other people.

This is 2012, not 1912, and the facts are that the vast majority of people in the USA know about as much about horses as they know about nuclear physics. As a horse owner, you have to understand that and factor it into your decisions about how you train your horse, how you handle your horse, and what you decide to do with your horse. Believing that people who know nothing about horses have any responsibility to deal with them safely is just plain nuts. It’s insane. If you can’t handle your horse without depending on people who are ignorant about horses to help you, then you are not a safe or responsible horse handler and you have no business handling a horse, because you are putting people at risk and are making life harder for those of us who are responsible. It’s just that simple.

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Kelly April 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Thank you, this is very good information to have. I think it is natural for onlookers to scream out in surprise and horror but if someone in authority is CALMLY telling you to remain seated and quiet you will immediately see the sense in that. The announcer is so calm you just get the feeling they have seen this before and know just what to do. Thanks for sharing this!

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kingsrings April 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

There’s just no way to expect that a crowd full of people are going to know the perfect way to behave around horses or any other animals like them (big, strong, spook easily). Even if you warn them ahead of time, they may not read or hear the warning. And some people just naturally aren’t calm, cool, and collected under pressure – the shrieks, screams, panic just come out of them no matter what. The only people that can be expected to know what to do are the horse owners.
As far as people intentionally scaring or irritating animals, what is with some people and that?? You see, hear people doing this at the zoo, too. Remember that tragedy at the San Francisco zoo a few years ago with the tiger?? They get some perverse, sick thrill out of doing that, I guess.

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Yuki April 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I work with a barn that serves special-needs individuals, particularly children. Our horses our chosen for their ability to remain calm around strange noises and other possible irritants that come with being part of the program, and are trained further to tolerate them. Even so, we are always aware that a horse can spook at any time, and a calm, collected response is the best way to handle it. Heck, we even try to prevent spooking if we can, by avoiding making unnecessary noises and movements. And NEVER scream. Even though the horses are conditioned to ignore it, doesn’t mean you should do it.

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Lisa Marie April 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm

One thing to note thou is in the first video they are Hackney horses. Some horse breeds are more high strung than other breeds. Draft horses generally have a calm disposition. Yes, in the first video, the people should have let that horse run itself out for a few minutes and the announcer should have tried to calm folks down. The draft horse people knew what they were doing and the others didn’t.

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Kate April 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm

@Guess, I’ve noticed the same thing even in the five weeks I’ve been working in schools as a student teacher. If a child hurts themselves and you run up to them, panicking and fussing, they tend to get more upset. If you stay calm, instruct them quietly to run some water on it and see how they feel in a few minutes, the kids tend not to overreact to minor injuries or go into full-blown shock over more serious ones.

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StephM April 25, 2012 at 12:32 am

I really think humanity could benefit from taking field trip during school and giving kids a real lesson on dealing with animals. Stay calm, be assertive, and let the owners/experts handle it.

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Lady Macbeth April 25, 2012 at 12:42 am

Despite the fact that I neither attend events with horses nor do I particularly intend to, I find this type of information both interesting and enlightening – almost no matter the subject. At some point, it might be edifying to address the topic of service animals; even though I am sure many people know not to engage with service animals when they are on the job, some don’t. When this topic came up at work recently (there was a dog shopping with its owner in the store where I am a cashier, but it did not have the usual obvious, easily identifiable “work gear” on), one of my co-workers openly and rather smugly admitted that he both knows and ignores this “etiquette” and will pet the dog anyway – without asking. I believe this is both dangerous (I mean, it’s the same handling any strange animal without permission) and disrespectful (like asking a customer service person – a person trained to say “yes” to customers’ needs and demands – out when they are on the clock); I told him so, but he seemed completely unfazed.

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claire April 25, 2012 at 4:01 am

@Ann…..I don’t understand what relevance your comment has to mine I am afraid.

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GoghGogh Girl April 25, 2012 at 4:57 am

My best friend is a horse trainer/riding instructor, and one of the greatest trials of teaching lessons to children is getting the parents to act appropriately when exciting things happen.
It is pretty much inevitable that at some point as you’re learning to ride, you get to learn to sit a spook or, for the naughty horses, a quick buck. This, of course, scares the crap out of the rider the first time – so my friend’s reaction, always always always, is to calmly say something along the lines of “Oh, looks like she’s feeling a little bouncy today. Keep walking on.” and move on like it’s no big deal, even if she just had a mini heart attack herself.
Nothing good ever comes of getting overexcited, and my friend has had to order parents out of the arena for screaming or anxiously asking their child “Are you okay?” every time they just sit through a tiny crowhop, which just serves to make the child anxious as well. As she puts it, “They don’t know if they’re okay or not – they’re looking to you to see if they should be scared, and if you’re freaking out, they will too. Don’t ask if they’re okay, tell them they’re okay, and then move on.”
It’s a good attitude to have in any sort of crisis situation – losing control of your emotions never helps anybody.

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Challis April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

the two shows in the videos couldn’t be more different.
The second video is from a draft horse competition or some sort of chuck wagon event; where they are used to and prepared for dangerous situations, as they happen quite frequently.
the first video appears to be from a regular competition show, where the cart and buggy is a specific class, but where the majority of the competition involves horse and rider. They are not expecting dramatic events to take place, so they are not as well-versed in handeling high-stress events.

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Amanda H. April 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

It does sound very similar to dealing with children in some cases. I know with mine, I don’t fuss over them and act like it’s the end of the world when they get an injury (most often very small ones). Instead I tell them they’re okay, act calmly, and (usually) give them a kiss for their “boo-boo.” It’s amazing how quickly they recover when Mommy says they’re okay and gives them that “all-better kiss.” Children learn to overreact because the adults around them overreact. It seems very similar with animals. If the people in charge are cool and level-headed, then the animals don’t see signs that they should be alarmed and clam down that much quicker.

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Marijelly April 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I’ve been riding many times along roads, and it’s amazing how often people in cars have honked – maybe 1 out of 10 or 15. In a discussion once, someone said he/she’d used to do it to warn the rider a car is behind and about to pass. As stupid as it seems, it at least eased my mind a bit knowing that not everyone do it to be mean or as a lame joke (and I think most of these just don’t realize how dangerous it can be.)

I know I’ve read in a driver’s hand book once that “When passing a horse and rider: slow down, keep some distance and don’t honk. When you have passed, gently increase speed again. Even though most horses do fine in traffic, animals are unpredictable and scaring a horse might put the horse and rider and even you in danger.” It also included that if a group of riders are passing over the street, wait until everyone have gone over even if there is a gap. This is because horses want to stay together and might suddenly run out in the street.

But now when I look in my book from driving school there is nothing about this. It takes so little to put it there and if drivers-to-be only read it once it still might pop up in their minds when they see a horse.
I’m going to e-mail the company and ask them to put it in next year’s edition. Maybe you others can do the same?

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Miss Ann Thrope April 26, 2012 at 8:14 am

The touching documentary “Buck” should be mandatory for anyone who is in contact with horses. Also, I believe it is a wonderful lesson in emphathy for all living beings. The movie details the life of Buck Brannaman, the orgininal horse whisperer. Mr Brannaman was abused as a child, but used this experience to develop empathy. Buck’s horrific childhood experiences allow him to see the world through a horse’s eyes. He treats them with deep kindness and respect because he understand how loud noise, angry voices, and cruelty effected him as well as a horse. You will be moved to tears.

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Challis April 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

@Claire, I think someone was just trying to acknowledge your weird and wildly ignorant comment.

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Syd April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

@Marijelly: Interesting. How to safely pass an animal is included in the UK highway code, and thus may be included on the Driving Theory Test (it was definitely in there when I took mine but the questions are random). They’re multiple choice questions, and the incorrect-do-not-EVER-do-this answers include things like ‘sound your horn, rev your engine, accelerate to overtake as quickly as possible.’

Horses aren’t an everyday sight but they aren’t especially rare, and you don’t have to be anywhere deep in the countryside to encounter them.

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Binne April 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

What a catastrophe that first video was! Admin, what happened to the horse that fell? Did they have to put it down? Perfectly dreadful. Horses are wonderful creatures. When you ride, you learn quickly that the only way to make a success of it is to earn the horse’s respect and trust. They are powerful and opinionated, and they can do serious damage, given the right set of circumstances. Sometimes the best you can do is get the heck out of the way and let more experienced people take over. The draft horses were amazing.

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whoop April 27, 2012 at 12:23 am

I’d like to add a general animal etiquette comment here, while we are on the topic. That is: One should always ask an animal’s handler first before interacting with (and especially before touching) an animal. If someone is walking a dog, do not even acknowledge the dog and stay clear out of the way until you have asked the person holding the leash whether it is OK to say “hello”. You should then ask again before petting the dog. If you are not extremely familiar with the specific type animal, it is perfectly appropriate to ask the handler “how” to say hello. This differs for every animal, and you may end up learning something interesting and new.

I’ve personally owned and worked with many different types of animals, and each one has had its own inter-species “etiquette” – but on the human-to-human level it is always the same. Ask first, please!

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DejahThoris April 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm

We used to have two cute little beagles (they were called pocket beagles and really looked like puppies their whole lives – the day before I had to put down our 14 year old one I had someone mention how cute my puppy was. So I’m talking mega-levels of cuteness here).

I can’t count the number of times parents would let their kids (usually little girls) swoop down upon them while shrieking about how cute they are. We got to where we didn’t take the dogs for walks as often as we should, or we would wait until after dark! My poor dogs would be totally freaked out, tangling their leashes, panting in fear and the parents just smile indulgently even when I would ask the children to quiet down and ask first. It’s lucky that neither dog was a biter because it was often impossible for me to get the dogs away from them – they would run up and follow even if I tried to avoid the situation.

I really think that very few parents are teaching kids how to behave around any domesticated animals. Even if you don’t have pets/animals, you still need to know how to act around them since you will encounter them eventually.

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G. April 28, 2012 at 5:50 am

I know next to nothing about horses, aside from a slight knowledge of betting on them. Even I know that you are careful, quiet and considered around any horse. You don’t approach from behind unless you know the horse well. If you are, for example, driving in the countryside and you pass a horse (I’m in the UK, I don’t know how common that is elsewhere) you slow down and keep your engine quiet. That’s not even etiquette, it’s just safety.

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Jessica April 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

There were definitely some mistakes made in the first video, but part of the issue may also be the different breeds of horses. Draft horses tend to be a calmer breed than the horses that were in the first video. I wasn’t sure of the breed, but if they are Standardbred, then they are much more excitable (notice how the first horse set off the second horse) and hot than a Draft.

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Lazuli November 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I know this is an old post, so I’m sure nobody will see this, but one thing I have never understood is why so many people (and sadly this seems to be mostly women) scream senselessly while something terrible is happy. I have seen quite a few Disaster Videos where you hear a person off camera screaming like a banshee. I understand it’s a terrifying situation, and everybody handles danger differently, but will wailing nonsense really help anything?

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