Law 2 – The Horse That Can Kill You Is Your Own

The horse that will hurt you is your own.

This law is about complacency.  As we become comfortable around our horses we start taking short cuts.  Another aspect to this is that with experience people tend to become over confident with other people’s horses.  In other words, with each passing day that a horse doesn’t hurt us we start to think that they will never hurt us.

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The horse that will hurt you is your own.

This law is about complacency.  As we become comfortable around our horses we start taking short cuts.  Another aspect to this is that with experience people tend to become over confident with other people’s horses.  In other words, with each passing day that a horse doesn’t hurt us we start to think that they will never hurt us.  

As we become more comfortable driving many push the limits of the car in speed, braking and cornering.  Add some ice that can’t be seen or a distraction that decreases our reaction time and an accident occurs.  

Nothing really changes in the mechanics of the car or the working of the horse.  But something occurs in the car or the horse’s awareness to its environment that causes it to react differently.  Ice or a tire blow out are examples for the car.  Sudden noises outside the stall or a bee sting are examples with the horse.

I was done working on a horse and we were both relaxed.  Suddenly and without warning a bird flew into the window of the stall.  The horse jumped and spread out his front feet sideways placing his full weight plus the velocity of movement onto my left foot.  The crush almost broke my foot and it became too swollen to pull my boot back on for days.

There is another aspect that may be hard to consider for some people.  Sometimes the horse just has had enough and takes an opportunity to hurt you.  Or at least doesn’t care that you are in the way of a perceived target and takes a shot at something with your leg in the path of hoof travel.  The result is a horrible open skin bone fracture with embedded horse filth deep in your tissue.  It might even be a death shot.  We have all heard these stories directly from people who have survived.

My original veterinary mentor worked around tens of thousands of horses and in 1973 I rode with him in his truck to farm visits in New York.  He moved to Kentucky to become a very successful horse breeding veterinarian.  In 2008 he returned to NY to live and consult in horse reproduction.  The month before we were to reconnect he worked alone with a stallion that kicked him in the head.  He died a few days later.  He is to me a constant reminder of Law 2 of the Irrefutable Laws Of Horsemanship – the horse that will kill you is your own.  The corollary is if you are around horses long enough and take short cuts or lose awareness around them then you will become a statistic.  Prevention is key.  Never lose awareness of the horse you are working with.

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