1.3 Reading: Flight Zone

Look at the image below. Horses have a “flight zone” that is like their “personal space”.

You know how you feel when someone moves too close to you. The horse also has its own personal space.

A horse that is confident and comfortable with its handler and its surroundings will have a smaller flight zone. The horse that is nervous and lacks confidence will have a larger personal space or flight zone. This is a horse that should not be crowded. Always be very careful when working around the legs, the rump and tail area and around the head. A nervous or irritated horse can move suddenly and the handler is at risk when a 1200 pound horse decides to flee!

Watch the body language of the horse very carefully before approaching a new horse. Look at the eyes and ears, the head carriage and facial expression. Notice the tension in the muscles of the horse and its behaviour.

A nervous horse will back off when you come closer or will turn its hind end to you. You should quietly encourage the horse to turn around before approaching you.

Flight Zone












(note: there is a blind zone directly in front of the horse as well)