Hitching is a procedure that exposes owners and animals to a certain amount of danger. Animals are injured when they back into equipment, get hung-up in chains, swingtrees, or over the shaft of a wagon, or when they bolt forward half hitched. People are injured when animals kick or step unexpectedly, or more seriously, when a team pulls the load forward before they can get out of the way.
Attention to these rules will minimize danger to all involved:
• Watch the animals; look for nervousness or potential causes for movement or spooking-noise, insects, sudden appearance of persons, vehicles or other animals.
• Never hook a chain or traces to the load before:
- the hook or harness is fully secured and all buckles are checked
- the lines (reins) are connected to bridles and are within easy reach
- the wagon shaft has been lifted so the neckyoke connects it to the collar.
• When you are ready to make the hitch, have someone stand in front and steady the animal or team.
• When making the actual hitch, position yourself so you can Bet out of the way if the animals spook. Take these precautions:-Don't stand over the chain or wagon shaft; don't cross over it. Walk out and around if you need to get to the opposite side.-Don't stand between a swingtree and the shaft of a wagon.