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Should You Ever Walk Behind a Horse?

The sight of a horse is usually one of beauty and grace. However, that beauty can quickly turn to terror if someone is unfortunate enough to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Horses can be unpredictable and, if not handled correctly, can cause serious injury or even death. One of the most important rules of horsemanship is to never walk behind a horse. But why is this the case? Is there ever a time when it is acceptable to do so? In this article, we will explore the answers to these questions.

The Dangers of Walking Behind a Horse

The primary reason why it is never a good idea to walk behind a horse is because of the animal’s natural fear responses. Horses are prey animals, meaning that they are constantly on the lookout for anything that could potentially be a threat. If a person suddenly appears behind them, they will likely panic and react in a defensive manner. This could result in them kicking out or bolting, potentially resulting in serious injury to the person in the vicinity.

Another important factor to consider is the horse’s vision. While horses have excellent peripheral vision, their blind spots are directly in front and behind them. This means that they may not be able to see a person standing directly behind them, and could react unpredictably if they are startled.

The Importance of Proper Training

It is important to remember that the horse is not purposely trying to be dangerous. If a horse is trained properly and handled with respect, it can become a loyal and safe companion. Horse owners should always be sure to train their horses in the basics of horsemanship and to keep them accustomed to people coming and going from their sides.

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In addition, it is important to remember that a horse’s fear responses can be triggered by even the most innocuous of things. If a person is walking behind the horse, it is important to move slowly and to make sure that any sudden movements are done with the utmost caution.

When is it Acceptable to Walk Behind a Horse?

Though it is generally not advisable to walk behind a horse, there are certain occasions when it may be necessary. For instance, if a person is attempting to catch a horse that is running away, it may be necessary to follow closely behind in order to avoid the horse from veering off course.

In addition, some horse owners may choose to lead their horse from behind when they are in an enclosed area, such as an indoor riding arena. This allows the horse to move forward without fear of being startled by a person who may be walking in front.


Though it may be tempting to take shortcuts when it comes to horsemanship, it is important to remember that walking behind a horse is never a good idea. Horses are sensitive animals, and if they are startled they can react in unpredictable and potentially dangerous ways. It is always best to approach a horse from the side, and to make sure to move slowly and with caution when interacting with them. With proper training and respect, horses can become loyal and trusting companions.