Bucking horse

How to turn out your horse safely

Turning out your horse shouldn’t be dangerous. But way too many people get injured when they turn out their horses because they forget a few basic rules.

Horses can get excited when they are turned out. They often run off and kick out in exuberance. They might not be trying to kick you, but it happens if you get in the way.

You can reduce the drama and stay safe if you always:

  • Lead your horse into the paddock.
  • Turn your horse around so that he is facing you.
  • Remove the lead rope or halter while your horse is still facing you.
  • Don’t chase your horse off or encourage him to run.


  • Always wear gloves when you are leading a horse. If your horse takes off suddenly the gloves will give your more grip and protect your hands from rope burns.
  • Never wrap a lead rope around your hand. If your horse takes off you could be dragged or otherwise injured.
  • If you are turning your horse out in a field where other horses are already loose, don’t let them crowd around you as you turn your horse out. You don’t want to be caught in between horses if they start to play.
  • Don’t carry treats with you into a pasture full of horses. Food can cause even the calmest horses to act up.



  1. Laurie Justis

    I would also suggest that horses that are turned out together be turned out in ascending order of dominance (most dominant horse last).

  2. Erin

    Great photo of Curly! I’m stealing it; I hope you don’t mind.
    How do you handle giving them treats? I recently came with treats and ended up making a break for the fence because they were all crowding around and getting fired up for treats. I realized it wasn’t safe for me to be in the middle. From now on, I’ll stay on the other side of the fence.

  3. Givan

    Good topic! I like to give my horses a treat after I take their halter to encourage them to face me until I walk away, instead of the drop head/turn and spin so many horses are fond of!!

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