15 September 2014
Coloured Tail Ribbons
By Marlene Arthur
I've always assumed most equine owners are aware of the "colour coding" of horses tail ribbons:
Blue for stallions ie. if you have a mare in season, you'd better steer clear of him.
Green for novices and youngsters ie. please pass wide and slow and at a reasonable speed.
Red for kickers ie. please look out and stand well back (my horse falls into this category).
I've recently realised that the only people who really, really take red ribbons seriously are riders who also make use of red ribbons. At the Scone ride last month I met up with and cantered across a field with two Tayside riders ... "Oh my God!" squawked Jo MacIsaac "three red ribbons in a row!" ... what happened ... nothing, because we gave each other plenty of breathing space.
Will everyone please pay more attention and take red ribbons more seriously; my horse can kick for Scotland and I would advise at least three horses lengths as a safe distance. One minute she's quietly standing next to me in the vetting area/queue and within a nanosecond she can furl round, be at the end of her rope and lashing out full pelt. Please be aware of this folks, and consider your own safety, your horse’s safety and the possible end result. Someone, sometime (horse and/or rider) could be seriously injured. Plus ... imagine how you'd feel if your horse’s heart rate was down to 42 bpm within 5 minutes of finishing your ride, but thirty minutes later whilst being vetted, someone has meandered over too close for your horse’s comfort and the next thing you know it's tail swish, kick, kick and the vets saying "don't know what spooked your horse just now, but her heart rate's just shot up" .... in the meantime the combination responsible for the upset have chosen to meander off in the opposite direction, blissfully unaware of their actions. Great, thank you very much; this has now happened to us three times in the last year; how would you feel if it happened to you?
So .. if you see red tail ribbons, please stay well back, ... and thank you in advance for next time.
Staffords Free Enterprise and Marlene Arthur