New Guide Aims to Make Horse Farm Work Safer

Horse Farm

There’s a reason safety is such a big concern in the equine industry. There are countless ways to get injured on a horse farm. In an effort to improve safety for farm workers, specifically those working at Thoroughbred farms, the University of Kentucky College of Public Health recently published new safety guides targeted at that industry.

The guide is one of the results of a the Thoroughbred Worker Health and Safety Study, a joint effort led by Jess Miller Clouser, MPH, UK College of Public Health, and Jennifer Swanberg, PhD, Professor of Social Work, University of Maryland. In this study, researchers interviewed farm owners and managers and human resources specialists about the work environment and injuries experienced by their workers. They also conducted surveys of workers at Thoroughbred farms to find information about their experiences.

The result is Safety on the Farm: A bilingual guide in images for the Thoroughbred worker. The illustrated guide provides vocabulary in English and Spanish for horse and farm-related terms. It also shows some important safety measures, from how to correctly lead a horse to what to do in case of an emergency. The illustrations make the information easy to understand at a glance, and the bilingual wording makes communication easier in an industry that relies heavily on Latino workers.

While the materials were designed specifically with the Thoroughbred industry in mind, the vocabulary and safety practices could be applied to any type of equine operation or farm.

Additional materials produced from the safety study include research briefs on the study’s findings and a compilation of health and safety practices gleaned from interviews with farm managers. The materials are all available for free download at

Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


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