Max Corcoran: ‘Make Good Decisions!’

Max Corcoran led EN’s favorite session today! Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

During a well attended afternoon session yesterday at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Long Beach, CA, renowned groom and barn manager, Max Corcoran, reminded us to make good decisions when working with and around horses. As we all know, horses are always finding new ways to get themselves into trouble and safety is paramount. Here are some of Max’s helpful tips.

  • The horse always come first!
  • Many people don’t grow up around horses and start riding later in life so they don’t get to be a barn kid and make mistakes. Help people learn!
  • In the stall:
    • Make sure double end snaps on buckets are facing the wall so the horse doesn’t catch its nose or eye.
    • In the stall or trailer, make sure hay nets are hung up high with some way to come down, like a hay net, so they don’t get their feet caught or can break it away from the wall if it does get caught.
    • Don’t surprise the horse going in to the stall or you might get kicked! Let him know you are there before going in.
  • Leading:
    • Don’t ever wrap a lead of any sort around any part of your body.
    • If you use a chain shank, don’t loop it and make a hole for a foot to get stuck through. If you use a chain shank, don’t ever tie the horse up with the chain over its nose.
  • Tying:
    • When cross tied, make sure they can break away somehow with bailing twine or safety snaps.
    • If you’re trying something new, like clipping, take them off the cross ties for the first time.
  • Turnout:
    • Shut the gate before you let the horse go!
  • Tacking Up:
    • Attach the girth to the breastplate before attaching it to the dee rings on the saddle.
    • Always run your stirrup irons up if you aren’t on so they don’t get caught on doorways, jaws, or banging on their sides.
  • Blanketing:
    • Always do the leg straps or belly straps before the neck straps. If the horse starts moving it slips off behind them instead of in front of them.
    • Turn the chest snaps in towards the horse’s chest so it doesn’t get caught on something.
    • Always do leg straps up again after you take the blanket off so the straps don’t get caught on something or hit a horse or human.
  • Trailering:
    • Do up the butt bar on the trailer before attaching the horse’s head.
    • Always close the windows on a slant load.
    • Always keep spare halter and lead ropes in the trailer.
    • Know how to change a tire and always keep a full set of spares! Check your tire pressure often!
    • Have an emergency vet kit in your trailer and located somewhere accessible.
  • Competition Stabling:
    • Mind your space and be respectful of your neighbors.
    • Don’t put your dog on a long wire lead or retractable leash where it could go after or wrapped around a horse’s legs.
  • Vet Box Etiquette:
    • Don’t set up too early or spread out too much.
    • Be helpful.
    • Pack up when you’re done.
    • Scrape the water off the horse to facilitate cooling!
  • Warm Up Etiquette:
    • Don’t start too early
    • Share the jumps
    • Be kind to volunteers!

And so many more!

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