San Mateo County Sheriff

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					                  San Mateo County Sheriff
                    Mounted Search and Rescue
                       Training & Policy Manual

                                 Don Horsley, Sheriff
                               Greg Munks, Undersheriff
                     Casey Terribilini, MSAR Unit Leader

Last Revision January 2002
MSAR Training& Policy Manual                               January 2002
                                      Page 1 of 57
SAN MATEO COUNTY SHERIFF                                                      1

MOUNTED SEARCH AND RESCUE                                                     1

TRAINING & POLICY MANUAL                                                      1

INTRODUCTION                                                                  7

PHILOSOPHY IN TRAINING                                                        8

EQUINE GROUND PHILOSOPHY                                                      9

TRAINING                                                                     10
General Principles                                                           10
  Anthropomorphism                                                           10
  Primitive Principles                                                       10
  Fright, flight or Fight                                                    10
  Contact                                                                    10
  Obedience                                                                  10
  Conditioned Response                                                       10
  Rewards                                                                    11
  Pressure                                                                   11

DISCIPLINING HORSES                                                          11

GENERAL HORSE CARE                                                           12

SAFETY                                                                       14

CALL OUT                                                                     15

ACCIDENT PREVENTION                                                          18
Inclement Weather                                                            19

EQUINE FIRST AID                                                             21
COMMON AILMENTS                                                              21
  Colic                                                                      21
    Causes of Colic                                                          21
    Symptoms                                                                 22
    Treatment                                                                22
    Prevention                                                               22
  Tying Up Syndrome (Azoturia Or “Monday Morning Sickness”)                  22
    Symptoms                                                                 22
    Treatment                                                                22
    Prevention                                                               23
  Heat Exhaustion                                                            23
    Cause                                                                    23

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                  January 2002
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     Symptoms                                                          23
     Treatment                                                         23
     Prevention                                                        23
  Laminitis (Founder)                                                  24
     Causes                                                            24
     Symptoms                                                          24
     Treatment                                                         24
     Prevention                                                        24
  Thrush                                                               24
     Symptoms                                                          24
     Treatment                                                         24
     Prevention                                                        25
  Lameness                                                             25
     Causes                                                            25
     Symptoms                                                          25
     Treatment                                                         25
     Prevention                                                        25
  Sore Back                                                            25
     Cause                                                             25
     Symptoms                                                          25
     Treatment                                                         25
     Prevention                                                        26
  Cast Horses                                                          26
     Cause                                                             26
     Symptoms                                                          26
     Treatment                                                         26
     Prevention                                                        26
  Shock                                                                26
     Cause                                                             26
     Symptom                                                           26
     Treatment                                                         26
  Street Injuries                                                      27
     Actions to be taken                                               27
     TYPES OF INJURIES                                                 27

EQUITATION FOR OFFICERS                                                28
Mounting                                                               28

Dismounting                                                            28

Basic Position and Riding Aids                                         29
  Foundation                                                           29
  Base of Support                                                      29
  Upper Body                                                           29
  Hands                                                                30

Two-Point and Three-Point Contact                                      30
  Three-Point Contact—Both Legs And Your Seat                          30
  Two-point contact—legs only                                          30

Riding Aids                                                            30
  The Voice                                                            30
  The Heels                                                            31
  The Reins                                                            31

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                            January 2002
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  THE LEGS                                                               31
  Keeping the Horse In Hand                                              32
  Rein Effects                                                           32

Collection or Gathering the Horse                                        33

Diagonals and Leads                                                      33
  Diagonals                                                              33
  Leads                                                                  33

Pace Control                                                             34
  Increase of pace                                                       34
  Decrease of Pace                                                       34

The Gaits                                                                34
  The Walk                                                               34
  The Trot                                                               35
     Seat at the Trot                                                    35
  The Canter                                                             35
     Right Lead Footfall Sequence                                        35
     Left Lead Footfall Sequence                                         36
     Seat at the Canter                                                  36
  The Gallop                                                             36
     Seat at the Gallop                                                  36
  The Halt                                                               36
     Riding the Halt                                                     36

Riding the Basic Movements                                               37
  The Right Lead                                                         37
     Change to Right Lead from Left Lead                                 37
  The turns                                                              37
     Turn on the forehand                                                37
     Turn On the Haunches                                                38
  Bending Through Corners                                                38
  Circling                                                               38
  Figure Eight                                                           38
  Serpentine                                                             39
     Reverse                                                             39
  Flying Lead Change                                                     39
  Sidepass                                                               39
     Left Sidepass                                                       39
  Shoulder-In                                                            39

Warm Up and Cool Down                                                    40

DAILY DOZEN FOR HORSES                                                   41
Points To Remember While Training                                        41

Field Work-Explanations                                                  42
   Serpentine                                                            42
   Bridge                                                                42
   Tires                                                                 42
   Walkovers                                                             42
   Gates                                                                 42

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                              January 2002
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  Backing                                                                   42
  Sidepassing                                                               42
  Sack Of Cans                                                              43
  Slicker                                                                   43

Arena Rules                                                                 43

DESENSITIZATION OR SENSORY TRAINING                                         44

RIDER REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATION                                        46
Overall                                                                     46

General Basic Horsemanship Training                                         47

Basic Horsemanship Training                                                 48
  Minimum Training: LEVEL 1—Minimum Certification                           48
  Training Level II, Field: Continued training—Optional                     48
  Advanced LEVEL III: Advanced Certification—Optional                       49

Testing Criteria                                                            50

Riding Evaluations                                                          51
  Examinations                                                              52

Remedial/Continued Training                                                 52

Completion of Training Program                                              52

QUALIFYING STANDARDS FOR THE HORSE TRAILER                                  54
Loading and Trailering Suggestions                                          54

Driving Rules                                                               54

COLOR GUARD PROTOCOL                                                        55
Placement of flags in a column formation.                                   55

Placement of flags in a flanking formation.                                 55

MOUNTED UNIT HISTORY                                                        56
History of police horse-1900 to present                                     56

S.M.S.O. Mounted Enforcement Unit                                           56

SMSO Mounted Search and Rescue Unit                                         56

Patrolled Areas                                                             56

Special events                                                              56

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                 January 2002
                                              Page 5 of 57
Equine search and rescue training encompasses many issues including but not limited to
safety, discipline, preparedness, confidence, experience and respect.

It is producing a riding team that is both versatile and professional. In training, we are able to
find the strengths and weaknesses of both horse and rider, with the goal being to achieve high
performance standards and professional application.

The agency calling on equine search and rescue needs to feel confident that the equine SAR
team is capable of handling situations with professionalism, safety, and with a high degree of
responsibility. It is very possible that one day the equine search and rescue team could be the
deciding factor in a life and death situation.

The following pages will demonstrate the care and training, both physically and
psychologically for the volunteer horse and rider.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                     January 2002
                                         Page 7 of 57
Philosophy in Training
... Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful
                                                        —Xenophon, 400 BC

The MSAR unit adheres to no one type of training method or philosophies but embrace
many. We look for harmony between horse and rider. To quote W. Musler, “harmony is a
complete and constant accord of two living bodies in every movement.” We feel we can
accomplish this by understanding the natural ability of the horse and its mind, and the fact he
has a need to please. Combining this with mutual understanding and respect, we approach
our training program for the horse and rider with awareness, trust, mutual listening between
horse and rider, relaxation, patience and calm.

...Never teach a lesson in meanness, unless you want the horse to learn it well.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                   January 2002
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1.     Kindness, patience, consistency, and an understanding of the horse's thought
       processes are the secrets to the successful handling of horses. Horses are nervous
       animals and require gentle treatment. Docile, but bold, horses may retaliate upon
       those who abuse them, but kindness often reclaims vicious animals. Nearly all bad
       horses are made so by the unkind, uninformed, or insensitive treatment of man.

2.     Horses are animals, not machines, and should be treated with consideration. When a
       machine has something wrong with it, it stops. A horse, although seriously ill, will
       continue and may not stop until it drops in its tracks. It is necessary to KNOW the
       normal health, condition, performance, and appearance of the horse in order to be
       able to tell when they are not acting or feeling right.

3.     Horses cannot care for themselves. They will give good service only as long as they
       receive consistently good treatment.

4.     The horse is a timid animal by nature and also has a remarkable memory. He will shy
       for months from any object that has injured him. Kindness and patience will gain the
       confidence of the horse, and training will become easier.

5.     A horse has no reasoning power. This makes it necessary for the rider to have a great
       deal of patience and understanding of a horse's thought processes and psychology.

6.     Horses are taught to perform by association of commands. A specific “aid” should
       always be used for the same command. It is necessary to “train” both sides of the
       horse's brain, so clues or motions to the right need to be repeated to the left and vice

7.     Horses are taught to perform by consistent repetition of commands and consistent
       application of the same aid. Having a number of different riders ride the same horse,
       because each rider has a unique seat and hands, sometimes complicates this.
       Therefore, consistency becomes even more important.

8.     Each horse has his own personality, which must be taken into consideration. Just as in
       humans, positive reinforcement helps change behavior and cooling off periods help
       deal with stress and frustration.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                    January 2002
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General Principles

A term that refers to thinking of animals as possessing human traits. This is erroneous
thinking. When training horses, it is important to accept them as they are with the morals and
manners with which they were created.


Before one can get an insight into the mind of the domesticated horse, one must understand
the primitive principles that constitute the horse's background and realize that, while the
horse may be taught to respond to human suggestion, he still carries the inherent compulsion
to respond to various stimuli in the way his ancestors would have done.


In prehistoric times, the horse was a plains-dwelling, vegetarian, herd animal. As such, he
was a prey species to the large carnivores of the time. The horse's best defense was to run
away. He would fight only when he couldn't run. It is specifically this behavior pattern that
we attempt to overcome in sensory training of the horse. This is accomplished by
establishing a strong dependence of the horse on his consistent rider


Contact between the horse and the officer is established through touch, hearing, and vision.
The horse watches the whole time, even to some extent when he is mounted (although this
may not be apparent). He remains very aware of every sound, movement, and act of the rider.


A horse must be taught to obey. A disobedient horse is a nuisance as well as a menace. The
proper way to teach him is through consistent repetition and positive reinforcement of
desirable behavior, not by scaring him witless, bullying him, or forcing him to do something
when he does not understand what it is you want him to do.


The horse learns through the influence of what may be regarded as a series of conditioned
reflexes or responses. A stimulus is introduced and, when the horse responds correctly (even
to a small degree), he is rewarded.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                   January 2002
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Rewards in horse training refer largely to the release of discomfort. All riding aids cause
discomfort and, by responding to the aid, the horse is rewarded as the discomfort is eased.


Applying and releasing the pressure teach horses. Horses move away from pressure.
Therefore, their movements can be controlled by applying pressure with the aids releasing
the pressure as a reward when the desirable movement is achieved.


Properly applied discipline must always be intended to correct faulty behavior, never to harm
or inflict punishment. Disciplinary measures should be selected which are appropriate for the
“infraction.” Although discipline is often unpleasant for the receiver it provides motivation
to change behavior. The rider should never allow his or her own frustrations to override the
responsibility to mete out only appropriate amounts of discipline. A rider, who allows a horse
to take liberties instead of complying with instant obedience, will notice that the horse learns
that discipline is arbitrary and will affect future performance.

1.     Never discipline a horse except at the time or within a few seconds of the time he
       commits an offense and then only in the proper manner. Discipline may be a verbal
       correction, repeated cue, maneuver at the discretion of the rider, “pop” with the crop,
       or a combination of these. The rider must be prepared to carry out discipline before
       riding. Carrying a crop during training sessions is one example. The discipline must
       be timely, unexpected, and appropriate.

2.     Never punish an animal out of your anger or frustration. Remember that the horse
       through lack of understanding, confusion, prior habit, or fear--seldom through
       viciousness commits most faults. Be sure that the fault is not your own (for failure to
       properly let the horse know what you desire of him or by giving conflicting or
       inappropriate “cues”) before becoming angered at his performance.

3.     A horse must never be struck or threatened about the head. Such treatment quickly
       makes him head shy and renders his proper control difficult and exasperating.
       Discipline should be directed behind the head, to the body or legs, as appropriate.

4.     Never kick, strike at the head, throw objects at, or otherwise abuse the horse.

5.     Reward the horse with a pat and positive verbalization. In training, insist upon correct
       performance, and then reward

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                    January 2002
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General Horse Care
•   The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” was never more applicable than
    it is in the care of animals. Sickness can only be prevented by proper and consistent care and

•   The horse is a creature of habit. Regular eating and drinking influences his welfare to a great

•   Keep animals in condition by feeding proper amounts of high quality feed, providing fresh water,
    and insuring adequate exercise.

•   In order to have a strong, eager horse, every part of his body must be properly cared for and HE

* Standing on soft surfaces, both on and off duty, will afford your horses' feet, legs, and joints the
needed rest from the unnaturally hard surfaces of pavement and sidewalks.

•   Water carefully, NEVER immediately after feeding or when the horse is hot. NEVER give a
    horse warm or hot water to drink. Try to water first and feed afterward. Let the animal drink all
    he wants. Do not pull him away the first time he raises his head.

•   If expecting a hard work immediately after feeding, give the horse only half of the normal food

•   Never feed grain or green grass to a horse when heated or fatigued. Grain is a very concentrated
    food that requires high digestive powers. Abnormal temperature impairs the power of the
    digestive organs. If the animal has been working to the point of fatigue, all bodily functions are,
    for a time, injuriously affected. For that reason, the horse must be rested and his normal digestive
    power restored before concentrated food of any kind is given. However, because hay is bulky
    food, it will not hurt a horse no matter how heated or fatigued he is.

•   Never water a horse when he is heated. After heavy exertion, the heated horse should be walked
    and cooled down for at least 1/2 hour before it is watered and/or fed.

•   Watch the horse's feet carefully to make sure they are well cared for, properly shaped, and
    properly shoed. If a shoe is thrown, very worn, or loose, correct it immediately.

•   When a horse is tired or cold, rub his legs with Absorbine liniment. He'll appreciate it.

•   Never put a horse up for the night until he is properly and thoroughly clean, especially around his
    leg, pastern and feet.

•   Groom horses well and keep them trimmed. They will be healthier and stronger and you will have
    more pride in them.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                             January 2002
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•   Washing the horse should be done carefully. It could result in harm to the horse such as
    contracted circulation from sudden chilling. If the horse is put up without a thorough drying he
    may contract pneumonia. Wet or steaming horses should be blanketed during cold or windy

•   Keep horses sheltered from needless exposure. Horses can sunburn and may suffer from
    sunstroke. During rest periods, loosen the cinch and lift the saddle and pad away from the back to
    help restore circulation to the back and skin and ventilate under the saddle.

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•   Before approaching a horse and when coming up behind him, speak gently; then approach
    quietly. Never startle a horse or reach directly for his eye.

•   When turning a horse, pressure from a fingertip in a shoulder, cheek, or flank will cue a well-
    trained horse to step aside, pivot, or turn.

•   Never tease a horse.

•   Never allow the horse to walk around loose.

•   Lead your horse to and from his stall using the proper halter and lead rope. When turning, always
    push the head away from you instead of leading the horse toward you when making the turn.

•   Hold your horse securely and properly when leading.

•   When leading or working with your horse, never use the reins or bite as mechanisms which to
    execute movements, always attach a lead rope to a halter or halter bridle.

•   Do not lead more than one horse at a time unless absolutely necessary. If leading two horses,
    walk between them and hold each by the halter lead rope, or reins.

•   Do not lead a horse too close behind another horse; keep four to six feet distance. Watch the ears
    of all horses in proximity to alert you of a possible conflict.

•   Do not remove the bridle unless the horse is secure by other means. NEVER tie a horse by the

•   Inspect the location to insure that the horse cannot injure himself on low-hanging branches, sharp
    protrusions, or entangle his legs in obstacles and obstructions on the ground.

•   Do not tie the horse to any fixed point below the level of his withers. The lead rope should be
    short enough so the horse cannot step over it and become entangled.

•   When tying a horse use a slip knot. In an emergency a slip knot will allow you to untie the horse
    and move him quickly. If the horse should pull back with great force, a slip knot is no longer a
    slip knot and a sharp knife should always be carried to enable you to cut the knot or
    entanglements away from the horse as quickly as possible.

•   Tie a horse that has a tendency to kick by himself. Tie a horse that is sick by himself.

•   Do not make sudden noises or abrupt gestures, especially when another volunteer is working on a

•   Do not allow the horse to graze when in the bit whether on the trail or standing in a group. Grass
    may become wrapped around bit and become troublesome for the horse as well as the headstall
    may catch on branches, fencing or other items.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                           January 2002
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Call Out
1.     Before taking a horse out, carefully examine him to make sure he is fit to work.

       •   See that he has eaten his food.

       •   See that his breathing is normal, that he is quiet and without distended nostrils.

       •   See that he is not pointing a foreleg--a sure sign that something is wrong.

       •   See that his droppings are normal.

       •   Look him over, especially on the back and shoulders, to see that there are no
           sores, lumps, or injuries to be rubbed or irritated by bridle and saddle.

       •   Indicators that the saddle is rubbing or too tight is: white hairs, calluses on
           withers or backbone, wavy hair patterns, or sores.

       •   Clean out his feet. See that there are no stones or nails in them and that the shoes
           fit tight.

       •   See if the horse is lame when leading him out.

2.     Give the horse an opportunity to drink before leaving the stable and before putting the
       bit in his mouth.

3.     In cold weather, warm the bit before putting it in the horse's mouth. Remember when
       you put the bit in, it is hard steel against soft flesh; so do it gently. Care should be
       taken to avoid striking the teeth with the steel bit. Insure that the tongue is under the

4.     See that the saddle pad is properly and smoothly placed on the horse's back and that it
       is clean and free from dirt, salt, and dried sweat. Lay the lower pad approximately six
       inches ahead of where it should be, and then pull it toward the tail. This will insure
       that the hair on the horse's back is laying in the proper direction.

5.     Check tack for proper adjustment.

6.     When in a group, wait until all volunteers are mounted before departing.

7.     On leaving the stable, move out at a walk for a short time in order to get the horse's
       legs under him and allow him to warm his muscles. Never take a rapid gait until the
       horse has become warmed by gentle exercise.

8.     Under all circumstances, seek soft footing to save the horse's legs. Whenever
       possible, keep him on the edge of the hard roads rather than in the middle.

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                     January 2002
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9.     Do not ride on manhole covers or car tracks unless they cannot be avoided. This will
       prevent slipping of the horse and perhaps falling and injuring both horse and rider.

10.    Never trot or gallop a horse on hard pavement or road if it can be avoided. For normal
       patrol purposes the proper gait is the walk. All other gaits must be justified by the
       type of response in which the officer is engaged AND which are appropriate for the
       surface and safety of the horse and rider.

11.    Look at your path. Do not ride blindly into obstacles or difficult ground.

12.    If marshy ground must be crossed go slowly.

13.    If the horse goes down dismount at once and lead him.

14.    When riding, do not slouch in the saddle. Sit straight. Maintaining a 3-point seat.
       Never loaf in the saddle even if it is easier than sitting on the ground. Keep both feet
       in the stirrups at all times.

15.    Never upset a horse by constant irritation with spurs and bit. The best riders maintain
       very quiet hands and feet. Avoid constant weight shifts from side to side as these may
       rub sores on the horse's back and give unnecessary cues.

16.    Never allow your horse to graze while on patrol.

17.    Keep citizens in front of your stirrups, but away from the headstall and reins. Never
       allow anyone to approach the horse from the rear. It is the rider's responsibility to
       politely suggest the proper approach position to citizens who may have no knowledge
       of horses.

18.    When it is necessary to secure the horse in an emergency, be certain that he is secured
       in a safe place.

19.    Tie the rope high enough that the horse cannot lie down or get his forelegs caught in
       it. A good rule of thumb is to tie the horse at a height above the withers.

20.    Keep reins looped over the saddle horn when the horse is tied.

21.    Keep the horse away from elevator shafts, platforms, holes, sharp debris, or any
       obstacle, which may cause injury to horse or rider. The rider must constantly inspect
       the intended pathway of the horse to identify and avoid injurious objects.

22.    Secure the horse a safe distance from other horses, at least one horse length.

23.    Do not secure the horse to loose objects such as ladders, utility wires, or to any object
       which would move or break if the horse pulls back.

24.    Do not tie the horse near property, which may be damaged such as autos or

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                    January 2002
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25.    Do not leave your horse unattended and out of sight except in emergencies.

26.    When you water a horse get off his back. Occasionally dismounting in a shady place
       and loosening the latigo provides a welcome relief for the horse. Don't forget to
       tighten the latigo before mounting!

27.    If an animal stops work, do not attribute it to balking until you are sure he is not sick
       or injured.

28.    In order to let the horse come in dry and with normal respiration, finish your ride at a
       walk for at least ten minutes or longer if the ride has been long and trying.

29.    Do not bring your horse back in a heated and sweaty condition. If he is, he should be
       dried out and cooled off before he returns to the trailer.

30.    Never throw cold water on any part of a horse that is heated.

31.    Never remove the saddle pad and expose a wet back either to the hot rays of the sun
       or to sudden cooling. The pressure of the saddle restricts the blood supply and thus
       weakens the tissues of the back. In this condition, a hot sun more readily burns or
       inflames the skin, while sudden cooling contracts the blood vessels and prevents the
       proper return of the blood to nourish the tissues. In either case, sores and swelling
       may result.

32.    In hot weather, especially when on patrol or on the march, it is very refreshing to the
       horse to have his eyes, nostrils, dock and inside of his hind quarters sponged with
       cool water.

33.    When the horse comes in wet, he should be scraped then blanketed. His head, neck,
       loins, and legs should be rubbed. If the weather is cold, an extra blanket should be put
       on for about twenty minutes. The wet blanket should be changed when the horse

MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                     January 2002
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Accident Prevention
1. Always expect the unexpected while on the trail. A horse reacts to his natural
   instinct as he enters his native environment.

•   You will notice a change in his interest and awareness.

•   Natural instinct tells him there may be life threatening encounters around every corner
    and behind every bush.

•   Your horse will calm down as he becomes familiar.

•   This is where the trust your horse has gained in you pays off.

2. Every horse reacts differently in an identical situation.

•   What one horse “spooks” and bolts at, another may hardly notice.

•   Horses are as individual as humans.

•   Do not expect perfection.

•   Be versatile and never let your guard down.

•   Learn to read your horse's body language

•   Expect the unexpected around blind corners.

•   Your horse's posture can forewarn you of potential danger.

•   Deer, dogs, birds, bikes and joggers are common encounters. The potential for shying is
    always present.

3. Working up or down slopes

•   Give your horse his head so he may balance himself.

•   Never allow the horse to gallop up or down hills. If he stumbles you will both go down.

•   Keep your body vertical or inclined towards his center of gravity. In other words, if you
    are working up a hill, lean forward, when working downhill, lean slightly back.

4. Crossing water

•   If you cannot see the bottom, do not cross except in an emergency.

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•    Rivers and streams are littered with broken glass, wire, cans, etc. All are career
     threatening to your horse.

5. Footing and terrain

•    Watch for holes, low branches, unstable ground, mud, wire, stumps, large rocks

•    Do not expect your horse to avoid everything. Use your common sense.

•    What one horse “spooks” and bolts at, another may hardly notice.

•    Horses are as individual as humans.

•    Do not expect perfection.

•    Be versatile and never let your guard down.

•    Learn to read your horse's body language

•    Expect the unexpected around blind corners.

•    Your horse's posture can forewarn you of potential danger.

•    Deer, dogs, birds, bikes and joggers are common encounters. The potential for shying is
     always present.

Inclement Weather

1.      Horses may be worked on duty between temperatures or wind chills of 10 degrees
        and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.      Horses must be watered frequently during warm weather with cool water.

3.      Ice and snow create hazardous riding conditions.

        •   Be alert. Whenever possible, avoid icy areas on streets and paths.

        •   If necessary to cross slippery areas or slopes, dismount and lead the horse.

        •   If you are unable to dismount, remove your feet from the stirrups while crossing
            icy areas. Keep the horse at a controlled walk.

        •   Always allow the horse to observe and become familiar with a new obstacle
            before requiring him to traverse it.

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Emergency Running of Mounts

Volunteers shall run a horse at full gallop only when:

1.     An extreme emergency exists.

2.     Due regard is given for the public's safety.

3.     Due regard is given to the safety and welfare of the horse.

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Equine First Aid
•   Vital Signs.

•   General appearance

•   Way of moving

•   Attitude

•   Temperament

       IMPORTANT: Determine temperature, respiration rate and pulse rate.

•   Temperature

       Normal is 99 degrees to 100 degrees F. Climate, mating or temperament may cause

       To ensure accuracy:

           Use a rectal thermometer.

           Shake mercury down.

           Place full length into rectum and affix alligator clip with lanyard to the tail.

           Wait 2 or 3 minutes before reading.

•   Respiration Rate

•   Pulse Rate



Colic is defined as severe or violent abdominal pain. Improper handling of a colic stricken
horse can result in laminitis, founder, gastric torsion (twisted intestine due to rolling),
emergency surgery, expensive after-care, and/or death to the animal.

Causes of Colic

•   Over feeding--the most common cause.

•   Insufficient supply of clean fresh water.
MSAR Training& Policy Manual                                                      January 2002
                                        Page 21 of 57
•   Irregular feeding.

•   Dusty or moldy hay.

•   Ingestion of sand, which does not pass from the digestive tract.


 The horse will be lethargic, bite at his sides, stretch out, constantly lie down and try to roll,
and give the appearance of great distress, depression, or pain. Thumb pressure to the upper
gum line in the mouth will not show a change in color from white (when pressure is applied)
to pink (when pressure is released). The horse will not want to eat, not even grain.


•   Do not allow the horse to roll. Rolling can cause a twist to the intestine and probable
    death to the horse.

•   Contact the Vet immediately. Colic is the single biggest killer of horses. Its onset can
    occur in just a few hours.


•   DO NOT over feed the horse.

•   Feed only clean hay.

•   Provide clean, fresh, cool water.



This is a neuromuscular disorder which causes severe cramping of the large muscles
resulting in pain, sweating, stiff gait, reluctance or refusal to go on, ataxia (wobbly gait),
attempts to lie down, unsuccessful attempts to urinate. This may be followed by shock and


•   Dismount,

•   Allow the horse to stand,

•   Cover him with a coat or blanket.

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•   DO NOT FORCE THE HORSE TO MOVE. Order the horse into the trailer slowly.
    Contact the Vet immediately and transport the horse to the Stable or Vet. The horse will
    receive an IV shot and will then be hand walked, based on the recommendation of the


Tying-up Syndrome is caused by over feeding the horse when the horse is not being used.
Example: The horse is worked 10 hours per day, 4 days per week. His work feed ration is 4
pounds of grain and 16 pounds of hay per day. During the horse's day off, his grain should be
cut in half or less, and he should be fed only the amount of hay he can clean up in one hour.



Heat exhaustion is the horse's inability to lose body heat as rapidly as it builds up. This is a
significant problem for horses working on black pavement (very hot surface) with poor air
circulation. The horse maintains his temperature primarily through breathing in cool air and
dispelling warm air, sweating, radiation and convection from body surface. When the ground
temperature and air temperature are high, the horse's ability to lose heat is greatly
diminished. His sweating mechanism may exhaust and fail. The horse may go into shock and


Patchy sweating or no sweating recognizes heat exhaustion. In early stages, the horse may
sweat profusely. As his temperature rises, he will become dehydrated and stop sweating. He
will show signs of in-coordination, stumbling, heavy panting, unwillingness to go on, and
attempts to go down. His rectal temperature could range from 102 degrees to 109 degrees F.
Early recognition and immediate treatment are essential.


Get off the horse, loosen girth, find shade, apply cool water to legs, keep the horse standing
or moving to promote circulation and heat loss from surface. Call the veterinarian


•   Allow the horse to drink frequently during his work shift.

•   Get off the horse at least once each hour, loosen the cinch, and lead the horse for 5 to 10
    minutes. Tilt the saddle forward to allow for passage of air. Temperatures under a saddle
    become extremely high during hot weather.

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•   Look for shade periodically to give the horse a break.



Many factors cause laminitis. Some of the more common are:

•   Grain founder. Caused by eating large quantities of grain.

•   Grass founder. Horses grazing on rich (esp. springtime) pasture.

•   Water founder. Overheated horse drinks cold water.

•   Road founder. Horse worked hard or fast on hard surfaces.


The horse shows lameness, points front feet, shows reluctance to move, vigorously resists
any attempts to lift a foot. Shows anxiety and may have muscular trembling. Respiratory rate
and temperature are elevated.


Treatment varies with the type of founder. When founder is suspected, call the Veterinarian


Avoid going at faster than a walk on hard surfaces. Properly cool out a heated horse. Do not
wash a horse with cold water.


Thrush is thought to be caused by a type of bacteria or fungus. Many organisms are probably
involved. Thrush is most commonly seen where animals are standing in manure or mud all
the time.


Foul smelling discharge from the cleft of the frog.


The cleft of the frog should be cleaned thoroughly using a stiff brush and plenty of soap and
water. Cut away all loose or affected parts of the frog and soak with iodine.

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Keep the stalls and runways clean. Do not allow the horse to stand in moist bedding or mud.
Clean the horse's feet daily.



Causes may vary. Lameness is common in the fore limbs and rare in the hind limbs. Puncture
wounds, stone bruises, founder, cracks in the hoof wall, muscle, tendon, or joint problems in
the leg, and navicular syndrome may all cause lameness.


The horse will take short steps and be tender on his feet. If he is run over loose gravel, the
pain will be accentuated and he may go very lame. There will be a little heat in the foot, and,
if the sole is tapped lightly, flinching will occur. Sometimes there may be evidence of
bruising of the sole.


The Veterinarian should be contacted immediately to identify the cause of lameness.
Treatment will vary based on the cause of injury. Soft ground is essential.


Avoid obvious hazards on patrol. Broken glass, construction areas containing boards with
nails and other debris. Avoid fast or hard work on hard surfaces.



Improper saddling, improperly adjusting or dirty saddle pads, careless riding, slouching in
the saddle. Sore backs are probably the greatest cause of disability among mounts.


The horse will show anxiety or pain when groomed as massaged along the back. The horse
may hump up when being saddled or buck when first ridden.


Rest the horse and allow the pain to subside. Medication may be prescribed by the
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Always use a clean saddle pad. Properly position the saddle on the horse. Do not slouch in
the saddle or shift weight needlessly from side to side while mounted.



A horse is said to be a “cast” when he is down in his stall or pasture and unable to stand. This
may be because he has rolled over and trapped his leg against a wall or he may have them
caught in or under a fence.


The horse is unable to stand up.


Call a Veterinarian immediately. Loop a rope around the bottom legs and pull the horse over
away from the wall or fence. Use caution and call assistance to pull the horse free.


Wet horses turned loose after riding should be observed while they roll.



Severe shock can kill a horse because of blood pooling in his intestines which lowers his
blood pressure to a dangerous level.


Horse stops breathing.


Start walking.

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Actions to be taken

1.     Secure and examine the horse to determine the extent of the injury. Determine what
       help is needed and what first aid is necessary.

2.     In the event of a debilitating injury or sickness to an animal, the unit leader should be
       called. It is often advisable to call the Veterinarian for advice, even if the injury
       seems minor.

3.     If possible, the animal will be trailered and transported to a large animal veterinarian.
       If the injury is to the extent the horse cannot be trailered, a veterinarian shall be asked
       to respond to the scene.

4.     A written account of the extent of the injury and how it was incurred will be
       submitted to the field-training officer as soon as possible.


1.     Fractures. Modern methods of stabilization and splinting allow Veterinarians to
       repair fractures which were previously not repairable. Stabilize the horse and call the

2.     Open wounds. Call the Veterinarian. Keep the wound clean and do not put anything
       on it unless specifically instructed to do so by the Veterinarian. Do not wash it out or
       attempt to clean it. Place sterile gauze pads on the wound and keep the bandages in
       place adding to them as necessary. If viscera (internal organs) are exposed, keep
       covered with wet compresses. Keep the horse quiet; restrain if necessary. Remove the
       saddle and pad. Cover the horse with a blanket. Horses have over 70 pints of blood.
       What appears to be a large amount of blood loss from a wound will probably not be
       life threatening to the horse.

3.     Eye injuries. Cuts and scrapes on the surface of the cornea as well as severe bruising
       of the eyeball are definite emergencies, as are eyeball punctures. Keep animal in a
       quiet, dark place and obtain Veterinary help as soon as possible.

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Equitation for Officers

1.     The volunteer stands half facing to the rear, opposite the horse's left shoulder.

2.     Reins are held in the left hand's thumb and forefingers. The last three fingers grabs
       the main in front of the saddle horn.

3.     The left foot is placed in the stirrup and the left knee is pressed against the saddle.

4.     The right hand is placed on the saddle pommel or horn.

5.     Push with the right leg and pull with the arms, keeping the back erect.

6.     Keep the left knee against the saddle fender using it to control your body position.
       The upper body should be balanced over the saddle seat.

7.     Pivot the shoulders to face the front, hesitate very briefly and swing the right leg over
       the cantle of the saddle.

8.     Settle easily and smoothly into the saddle.

9.     Hold the horse in position until you have both feet in the stirrups (do not let him walk
       off or take a step), your correct riding position, and then signal him to move. A horse
       should never be allowed to choose his gait or decide when to start or stop.


1.     Wiggle the saddle left to right gently to let your horse know of your intentions to

2.     Hold the reins in your left hand on the horse's crest or at the saddle horn. You may
       hold onto the mane if you like. Hold the saddle horn with your right hand.

3.     Remove your right foot from the stirrup and swing it over the cantle. Your upper
       body should be balanced over the saddle seat inclined slightly forward with your left
       knee pressed against the saddle fender.

4.     Bend your left knee, keeping your foot parallel with the side of the horse, and
       descend to the ground.

5.     Remove your right hand from the horn and your left foot from the stirrup while
       maintaining a grip on the reins with your left hand.

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Basic Position and Riding Aids

The rider is divided into four parts, refer to Appendix M.

   1. Foundation - the legs from the knees down.

   2. Base of support - thighs and seat

   3. Upper body - hips and above

   4. Arms and hands - attain elasticity


1. Sit square in the saddle with the weight evenly on both buttocks.

2. To achieve your proper “three point” seat, feel the two bone edges (your “seat bones”) at
   the bottom of your pelvis slightly forward until you feel your crotch also contact the

3. As you maintain these three points of contact you will find that your legs hang in the
   proper position, you can exert appropriate pressure with your thighs, and your back will
   be slightly arched and your back erect.

4. Never sit leaning to one side.

5. Never hook one leg over the saddle horn.


1. The thighs should be extended downward and slightly forward. They should clasp the
   horse evenly with inner side.

2. Knees should be bent slightly. When standing up in the stirrups with legs straight, you
   should have about one handbreadth between your crotch and the saddle seat.

3. The lower legs, below the knees, should extend downward and very slightly forward. The
   calves should be in contact with the horse. The heels should be vertically in line beneath
   the shoulders. Legs and feet should be kept quiet when not cuing.


1. The upper part of the body should be erect but not stiff.

2. The arms should fall naturally at the sides, elbows close to the ribcage.

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1. Reining with one hand, the left hand holds the reins in the center of the neck at about the
   level of the saddle horn.

2. Reining with two hands, the line of your forearms should be identical with the line of the
   reins from your hands to the bit.

3. The left hand should be above the withers just in front of the pommel. The back of the
   hand should be at a thirty-degree angle. Cocking your thumbs up tends to throw your
   elbow out.

4. Keep your head up, your shoulders back and square. Your eyes should be watching the
   ground or horizon a good distance in front of you (“soft eyes”), and checking the horse's
   ears and head for movement that may warn you of any shying or whirling.

5. The ball of the foot should rest easily upon the bottom of the stirrup. The heel should be
   slightly lower than the toe.

Two-Point and Three-Point Contact

There are two general forms within which a horse performs - extended and collected. When a
rider moves forward with the motion of the horse, he is encouraging and extended action.
When a rider shifts his weight behind the vertical he is retarding forward motion in the horse,
collecting up.


This position is used for most riding situations at normal paces - walk, slow, trot and canter.
This position, with the upper body behind the vertical to support your seat and legs, will
enhance your attempt to approach a difficult or spooky situation.


This position lifts the rider's weight off the horse's back and places it onto your heels and
stirrups. The upper body carried in front of the vertical lightens the burden on the horse's
back. This is used for galloping and jumping and should be used on straight lines only, not
for turning. Hands should be positioned as follows - outside hand holding both reins, inside
hand holding more of the crest of the horse's neck

Riding Aids


The voice should be used on all instructions. The horse will associate the word with the
movement. If you want the horse to trot, you say “trot,” and gently squeeze your thighs. To

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make him stop, say “whoa,” sit heavily in the saddle seat, and put pressure to the mouth with
the reins. Keep a deep seat--do not lean forward.


There are three positions for cuing with the heels, forward of the cinch, centered on the
cinch, and behind the cinch. Your selection of the position to cue with the heel (s), in
conjunction with the reining movements and voice cues will initiate any number of complex
movements by the horse.

For instance, increased pressure of both the rider's heels in the center position causes the
horse to move forward. The pressure of one heel in the rear position, while the other remains
in place causes the horse to move his hindquarters to one side, away from the pressure. This
is called pivoting. Attempts to use leg pressure first and, if the horse does not respond, then
use the heels. Your equitation instruction will include proper use of leg cues to obtain
desirable movements.


The reins control the horse at all times by the following:

•   Bringing him to attention before starting.

•   Guiding him in the direction you want him to go.

•   Bringing the horse to a slower gait.

•   Halting the horse and backing him up.

            NOTE: Handle the reins gently, using as little pressure as possible to
            get results. Rein pressure and/or movement translates directly to a
            steel bat caressing (or impacting) the inter-dental space (gum area) of
            the horse's mouth.

The squeezing pressure of your upper legs will indicate to the horse to:

•   Move forward.

•   Move faster.

•   Move to one side or another.

•   Alert him to the fact that you are going to ask him to do something.

Your goal is to control your horse's movements with as little reining as possible, relying
primarily on voice and leg cues.
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When you can start, stop, change gaits, and perform turning maneuvers and complex
movements with a slack rein, you will know that you and your horse are well trained! Some
riders spend a lifetime working toward this goal. Refer to appendix N.


•   “Light hands” does not mean any hands.

•   Reins should be taut, maintaining light contact with the horse's mouth.

•   Pressure used may vary with each horse.

•   The hand should be kept low and perfectly still. It should not bob up and down or pull
    against the horse's mouth, thus putting pressure on the bit.

To keep the hand or hands perfectly still and yet produce the desired effects of the bit upon
the bars of the horse's mouth requires much patience. It is accompanied by a closing and
gripping action of the fingertips accompanied by an upward twist of the hand at the wrist
without drawing back the elbows and forearm and thus “hauling away” on the reins. To draw
back the elbows and forearms is to “pull”.

Horses usually go well with riders who keep their hands still. Riders can acquire the knack of
keeping their hands still only by continually trying for it, always remembering that one must
first acquire a supple body and secure seat. The hands will continue to bob up and down, to
park and pull the reins so long as the body is stiff, the muscles and the nervous system not
under control, and the seat unsteady in the saddle. If you are trying to balance yourself using
the reins, you have acquired a secure seat. Horses are often restless, ill at ease, and inclined
to pull or run away with such riders. Signs that a rider has “busy hands” may include the
horse throwing or shaking his head, wringing his tail, or becoming progressively
uncooperative or unresponsive as he “blocks out” unnecessary rein movement.


Leading rein effect is produced when the rider opens the rein by moving the hand to the right
or left and leads the horse's neck in that direction.

An indirect rein displaces weight laterally from one side to the other and is used to put a
horse into canter and also for some turns.

The direct rein effect is produced when tension on the rein is to the rear. This is used for
decreasing or increasing speed, for backing and turning.

Bearing rein (neck rein) effect is produced by bringing the rein to the rear against the side of
the horse's neck

Reins must be lengthened or shortened depending on the gait traveled. This is done by
holding the rein hand more forward or more toward the saddle horn or gathering the rein
through the hand.
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Collection or Gathering the Horse

Start with a light pressure of the bit against the horse's mouth and a light feel of your lower
legs against the sides of the horse. To gather the horse, increase the pressure of the bit against
the bars by closing the fingers on the reins. Gathering the horse serves as a signal to attract
his attention and to prepare him to respond to a request for movement.

You gather the horse before asking him to pass from the halt to the walk or being at the walk
to pass to the trot and so on. It is thus a preparatory signal to the horse. It should always be
the same whatever may be the movement that is to be executed and whatever the gait at
which the horse may be moving.

Diagonals and Leads

All basic work for the horse and rider should be accomplished within the security of the
arena. The arena has two long sides and two short sides. The long sides are used for work on
straight lines and extended gaits while the short sides are used for collecting work. The
corners require the horse to bend and collect himself - a deterrent to the horse tends to gather
speed on straight lines.

Leads and diagonals are related to the movements of the horse's legs.

•   We are primarily concerned with the horse's shoulders.

•   The best method for determining the diagonal or lead is merely to glance down.

•   Do not drop your head as it disrupts balance and control.


 In establishing the correct diagonal at the posting trot, the focus should be on the outside

1. As the horse moves off into his regular trot, the rider responds to the backward-forward
   motion of the horse's shoulders by rising out of the saddle in conjunction with the outside
   foreleg step forward.

2. In simple terms, the rider is forward and out of the saddle as the horses outside foreleg is
   fully extended.

3. A change of direction calls for a change of diagonal.

4. This is necessary for a straight and balanced horse.


The lead denotes the leg on which the horse is leading while cantering.

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In the canter it is always the inside foreleg that leads.

•   Therefore, a rider glances at the inside shoulder which will precede the outside shoulder
    to check for the correct lead.

•   Having the correct lead is imperative in maintaining a soft and balanced horse.

Pace Control

The first necessity is control over pace. Being able to speed up, slow down, stop and start fall
under the category of basic control. Every means must be employed to obtain this control.


Increase of pace should be achieved through the smooth transition of aids. Any violations of
this principle such as kicking or pumping with the upper body should be curtailed from the

A horse can only be expected to go forward if he has the freedom or release of his head and
neck to do so.

•   Once the horse has been released, he is able to move forward in response to the rider's
    two legs.

•   A nudge with the spur is permissible if the leg is ineffective. A kick is not acceptable.


The same standards must be met in slowing down or stopping. Abusive or exaggerated hand
action is harmful.

In decreasing pace, the hand closes in much the same way as in squeezing on orange. The
arm should not pull nor should the wrist twist.

•   Only the hands and fingers close.

•   Always in conjunction with the activated hand, the rider sinks down into the saddle in
    order to coordinate his weight as an aid.

•   If the horse is reluctant to slow down or stop, the hand must be kept fixed and closed and
    the shoulder stretched back behind the vertical.

The Gaits

The walk is a four-beat gait in which each hoof is heard separately.

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1.       First beat: right hind foot

2.       Second beat: right fore

3.       Third beat: left hind

4.       Fourth beat: left fore

The walk is a very stable gait because the horse is always supported by two legs in the

The rate of the walk is four miles per hour.


The trot is marked by two beats and a period of suspension, in which the horse springs from
one diagonally disposed pair of feet to the other; between beats all of the feet are in the air.

•    The right fore and the right hind are together called the right diagonal pair.

•    The left fore and the right hind are called the left diagonal pair.

•    Rate for jog trot: the rate of the jog trot is six miles per hour.

•    Rate for posting trot: The rate of the post trot is eight miles per hour.

Seat at the Trot

•    When at the jog trot, the officer should sit down deeply in the saddle.

•    When at the trot, the officer should “post” or rise to the trot, rising as one of the horse's
     front legs is extending forward. In the arena, posting should be in time with the foreleg
     nearest the wall or rail. (“Rise and fall with the leg on the wall”).


The canter (or “lope”) is marked by three beats and a period of suspension.

Right Lead Footfall Sequence

If the horse is cantering on a right lead, the

•    First beat is marked by the left hind

•    Second beat is the nearly simultaneous placing of the right hind and the left fore

•    Third beat is the placing of the right fore.

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Left Lead Footfall Sequence

If the horse is cantering in the left lead, the beats are:

•    Right hind

•    Left hind and right fore

•    Left fore.

Rate: The rate of the canter is ten miles per hour.

Seat at the Canter

The canter should be ridden with “three-point seat” contact. The rider’s crotch should be
deep in the saddle with the pelvis rotating forward in time with the movement of the canter,
and the inner bones of the knees and the calves of the legs in contact with the horse.


This is a fast four-beat gait.

Rate: The rate of the gallop is 16 miles per hour.

Seat at the Gallop

The gallop should be ridden with two-point contact. Contact is maintained by the inner bones
of the knees and the lower part of the legs. The rider is standing in the stirrups.


Riding the Halt

1.      To stop the horse, relax the entire body and sit deeply in the saddle.

2.      Say “whoa” firmly and clearly. Do not shout.

3.      Take up both reins equally to the point where you make contact with the horse's

4.      When the horse begins to halt, begin releasing the pressure.

5.      Repeat if the horse does not come to a complete stop.

6.      In the event a horse refuses to stop, turn him in a circle to scrub off speed and regain

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Riding the Basic Movements

The aids for putting a horse into a canter on the right lead:

1. Collect the horse.

2. Right indirect rein in rear of withers.

3. Apply left leg pressure five inches behind the cinch to displace the haunches.

4. Active right leg to move the horse into a canter.

5. Cluck to the horse while urging with active right leg.

6. More collection is necessary to move your horse into a canter from a walk.

7. Look in the direction that you want to go.

Change to Right Lead from Left Lead

Aids for putting a horse into a right lead while cantering on the left lead:

1. Collect the horse until he is working well on his hindquarters.

2. Apply left leg pressure five inches behind the cinch to displace the haunches.

3. Right indirect rein in rear of withers to displace weight left and slightly turn his head to
   the right.

4. Keep hands low to keep him collected.

5. When the horse gives to the leg pressure, cluck and look in the direction that you want to
   go and the horse will then change.


Turn on the forehand

To turn on the forehand (going clockwise as viewed from above):

1. Collect the horse

2. Right direct rein.

3. Left indirect rein in front of the withers displaces the weight from the left fore to the right
   fore, forcing that to become the pivot for the turn.

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4. Active right leg turns the horse, displacing the haunches from right to left.

5. The passive left leg becomes active if the horse attempts to back from the rein action.

Turn On the Haunches

To turn on the Haunches.(from left to right):

1. Collect the horse.

2. Right indirect rein in rear of withers displaces weight to the left rear forcing that to
   become the pivot for the turn. Coordinate with left active leg at the cinch.

3. Right passive leg becomes active if the horse starts to back from the rein action.


1. When approaching the corner the rider first applies an opening outside rein. The effect of
   this rein aid inhibits the horse from cutting the corner.

2. The rider applies an inside indirect rein that bends the horse in the direction of

3. Almost simultaneously, those rein aids are combined with an inside leg at the girth -
   inside leg is the active leg.

4. The outside leg moves back four inches behind the girth to support rear haunches. The
   leg is to be used with force only if the haunches should fall off track.


1. The rider prepares for a turn by steadying the pace, his eyes constantly ahead of the track
   of the circle.

2. The inside leg and rein keep the horse bent to the inside while the outside rein holds the
   horse's pace and the outside leg supports the haunches from the going off track.


Simply joining two identical circles at a given point creates a figure eight, thus bending the
horse alternately from his right to his left.

1. The two important points in riding this figure are the focal point and the point of

2. Use of the rider's eye is most important.

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This figure is a series of loops bisected by an imaginary center line.

1. Alternate bending from the left and right is required.

2. This exercise should be practiced first at the walk and then at the sitting or slow trot.

3. Concentrates on rhythm, bending and the use of leg aids.


A half circle away from the left side of the arena, returning to the same side on a diagonal
line and continuing around the ring in the opposite direction. The rider changes his diagonal
or lead upon returning to the track.

This exercise means the horse changes his leading leg simultaneously as he changes
direction. The movement requires using lateral aids.


The body and head of the horse remain in a straight line while the horse moves sideways.

Left Sidepass

Aids for a left side pass:

1. Collect the horse.

2. Restrict forward movement with the reins.

3. Strong right spur action.

4. Passive left leg.

5. The horse moves sideways to the left.


The body of the horse is straight, with the head turned away from the direction of travel.

Left Shoulder-in:

Aids for a shoulder-in to the left:

1. Forward motion.

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2. Collect the horse

3. Right indirect rein behind the withers

4. Strong right spur

Warm Up and Cool Down

Horses must be warmed up before a work out to prevent injury.

1.     Walk for five to fifteen minutes.

2.     Jog for fifteen to twenty seconds to check for lameness.

3.     Jog in straight lines then big circles for about four or five minutes.

4.     Canter for two or three minutes.

Cooling down the horse after a work-out is as important as the warm-up.

1.     Minimum cooling down period should be ten to thirty minutes, depending on the
       intensity and length of exertion.

2.     Cooling down involves a progressively slower canter, jog, and walk.

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Daily Dozen for Horses
1.       Go forward-stop-backup-go forward again (one continuous movement). Repeat four

2.       Pass right three steps; pass left three steps (one continuous movement). Repeat four

3.       Turn 360 degrees on the forehand (demand only 180 degrees at first). Perform twice
         in each direction. Do not do this on hard pavement, due to the resistance to slippage
         inherent in borium shoes.

4.       Shoulder in (defense against shying). Walk at 45 degree angle to curb line, or line of
         parked cars. Perform at least ten steps in each direction.

5.       In the arena, exercise the horse in taking proper leads at the lope. Also complete the
         figure eight at the trot.

6.       Vary the horse's gait and speed within each gait frequently. This constant regulation
         by the rider will build up habits of obedience in the horse and will refine the cues of
         the rider.

7.       Be consistent, demand obedience, and don't tolerate disrespect, and exercise patience
         and self-control.

Points To Remember While Training

•    Never work on more than one new skill at a time.

•    When teaching a skill, do not try to make the horse do it more than five or six times in
     one training session.

•    A horse has a very limited ability to concentrate, so give him time to settle down between
     each lesson.

•    Do not force the horse if he becomes excited, confused, or afraid.

•    Do not expect the horse to totally learn even one new skill in one day or one week. You
     will be successful if the horse masters smaller components of the overall skill.

•    Never try to teach a horse if you are upset or angry.

•    Pat and praise the horse for the slightest try.

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•   After successful attempts, allow the horse to walk off on a slack rein with no other cues.
    This also allows him to settle. Dismounting is also a reward and may be done
    immediately after a successful attempt.

Field Work-Explanations

These exercises dealing with the below listed obstacles will introduce the horse and rider to
obstacles that may be encountered while working downtown and in the parks and trail


This should be done through pillars at walk and trot

•   Teaches rider to rely on leg pressure for bending and dictating direction.

•   Keeps horse tuned to leg commands.


•   Familiarizes the horse to walking on a hollow surface.

•   Teaches the horse and the importance of calculated steps


•   Common obstacles encountered in the creek.

•   These can be dangerous - horse and rider need to move slowly.


•   Teaches horse to lift to avoid tripping or injuring himself.


•   Rider learns to negotiate without dismounting or losing control of the horse. DO NOT
    bang the gate against the horse’s legs.


•   Disciplines the horse and rider on backing in a straight line without touching the sides.


•   Maneuverability in crowds and around cars

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•   Familiarizes horse with an officer who may have to carry or drag an object.


•   Accustoms the horse to working around an officer who may have to wear a raincoat
    while working, putting it on and taking it off while mounted.

Arena Rules

•   Close gate after entering or leaving arena.

•   Any adjustment of tack or equipment will be done in center of arena.

•   After mounting, warm up your horse and walk for at least five minutes. Increase the pace
    to a collected trot for another 5 minutes. Circle the arena in both directions until you can
    do so with a slack rein.

•   Do not stop or turn sharply without first looking behind you to see if anyone is directly in
    back of you. Borium shoes make pivoting on concrete or asphalt hazardous to the well
    being of the horse's legs and joints.

•   The rider proceeding at a faster gait will have use of the outside track. In other words,
    pass between slower rider and wall. Verbally alert the slower rider that you are “passing
    on the right, left, etc.”

•   No faster gait than the controlled lope or canter will be used.

•   All riders will proceed in the same direction.

•   To re-adjust tack once s/he is on the rail in the arena, the rider will request permission
    from the instructor to come to the center of the arena.

•   Courtesy and common sense will prevail at all times.

•   Do not chase or gallop after a loose horse. Galloping or chasing him will only make him
    run faster. If left alone, he will settle down to a trot or a walk. Chasing him may result in
    injury or accident to horse or rider.

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Desensitization or Sensory Training
Watching, absorbing, listening, is a major part of the horseman's craft, for it is only when we
can appreciate what we are dealing with that we can achieve cooperation.

                                                                      —Lucy Reese

Sensory training is one of the elements that make equine search and rescue unique. Whether
the search and rescue is in a park, the outskirts of a city or backwoods, the skills learned are
all encompassing. It brings up the awareness to horse and rider to its surroundings to a level
of highest competency. It allows the horse and rider team to work in unison to get any job at
hand done.

It is important that the horse first be taught to obey the commands of the rider using all the
properly applied aids. The horse must learn to trust the rider in any situation. The rider must
also gain trust in their mounts that will obey the rider's cues rather than giving into its natural
instincts to avoid or flee.

Once the horse has gained the confidence that the rider is not going to ask him to do
something that is going to hurt him, he will approach objects and situations that he naturally

Confidence that a mount will approach any situation without hesitation can be achieved by
subjecting the horse and rider to noise, different objects vehicles, crowds, etc. This is best
done initially and on a regular training basis in a controlled setting such as an arena before
subjecting the team to a real life setting'

Below are a number of obstacles that we use to begin our training. We begin with the simple
and work our way into multifunctional obstacles. This list, however, is in no special order
and is not all-inclusive.

1. Ravines

2. Steep terrain

3. Backing up hills, backing down hills, around bushes, going through bushes and branches

4. Walking over/through rocky riverbeds, up rock, finding paths through boulders

5. Helicopters

6. Crowds

7. Usual police/sheriff equipment (bullhorns, sirens, etc.

8. Plastic of all types (bags full of noisy paraphernalia), walk on walk by, walk through

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9. Small jumps/walkovers (below knee/above knee)

10. Items being tossed to rider, items hitting horse

11. Flares

12. Gunfire/firecrackers

13. Umbrellas, strollers, etc

14. Enclosures (cave simulation)

15. Balloons

16. Backpacks,

17. Dogs, llamas, pigs, seals, etc.

18. Drag, awkward, heavy, dally, nylon or lariat-type rope

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Rider Requirements for Certification

1. Riding should be second nature -good riding equals good safe maneuvers

2. Rider should be physically fit to ride long periods of time

3. Rider must be able to safely negotiate all types of terrain

4. Rider should be able to evaluate safe weather conditions

5. Rider must be experienced in riding alone at all times of day and night and in all weather

6. Rider must be able to set camp for himself, horse, and team members

7. Rider should be able to demonstrate how to pack saddlebags for a search operation.

8. Rider must pass horse and rider standards set by the Board.

9. Professionalism is of utmost importance and the search rider must take his job seriously.
   Unprofessional conduct will not be tolerated.

10. Riders must maintain their mount and equipment in a qualified status.

11. Riders shall know and recognize certain symptoms in the horse. Symptoms such as heat
    exhaustion, tying up, Azoturia

12. Rider will know vital signs

13. Rider shall know and demonstrate trail courtesy

14. Riders will be tested as individuals as well as in a team

15. Riders shall be of a minimum age of eighteen years of age

16. Selection of members will not be based on age (except for the above listed minimum),
    sex, race, color, or creed.

17. Riders must know equine first aid

18. Riders will familiarize themselves with Mounted Search and Rescue written by Kathy

19. Willingness to help others on the equine team as well as other search and rescue teams

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General Basic Horsemanship Training

Module training from minimum to advanced, to be done alternating between the arena and
the field

1. Equitation (hills, rocks, picking things up etc.) Horse to be ridden at all gaits in both
   directions for quietness, smoothness, balance, and safety

2. Standing quietly for a specified period of time while being left alone while a buddy rides
   off or other horses leave)

3. Horse must be able to pony another animal

4. Horse should be able to be ponied by another horse

5. Negotiate obstacles in the arena for skills and handling---then for field application

6. Leading through and around obstacles

7. Tarps

8. Mount-dismounting (near and far sides, uphill, in tight areas, single track hillside

9. Single track riding / trail courtesy

10. Drag ---Dragging noisy, light and heavy, and awkward obstacles

11. Water crossing,

12. Uphill, downhill (steep, rocky, slippery, etc.),

13. Stepovers, small jumps (below - above the knee)

14. Gates -opening and closing

15. Stationary obstacles (balloons, slickers)

16. Moving obstacles (bikes, strollers, Frisbees, balls, etc.

17. Tailing

18. General skills (lateral movements, turn of the forehand and haunches etc.)

19. Horse to qualify in a mini-endurance (check for soundness and rider endurance (10 miles
    in 2.5 to 3 hours for example)

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Basic Horsemanship Training

•   Module training from minimum to advanced

•   Training to begin with simple maneuvers and will become more complex as skills are
    mastered. For understanding and to dovetail skills there may be overlapping between the
    arena and field activities.


1. Equitation

2. Horse to be ridden at all gaits in both directions for quietness, smoothness, balance, and

3. Side passing, turning on the forehand and haunches

4. Standing quietly for a specified period of time

5. Horse to calmly pony

6. Negotiate obstacles in the arena for skills and handling

7. Leading through and around obstacles as well as general ground handling skills

8. Tarps

9. Mounting and dismounting (near and far sides)

10. Horse to demonstrate backing through and L and/or T

11. Skills of dragging

12. Skills of tailing

13. Gate opening - closing mounted

14. Water crossing

15. Stepovers

16. Stationery obstacles such as balloons, slickers, backpacks

17. General skills (lateral movements, turn of the forehand and haunches etc.)


1. Horse to be ridden at all gaits in the field. Balance and control will be emphasized.

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2. Horse will be left alone while a buddy horse or other horses ride off

3. Horse to pony another horse through single track trails, brush, uphill-downhill, through
   water, and through an open area

4. Riders horse to be ponied

5. Ground handling your mount through and around more complicated and noisy obstacles
   in the field for practical application

6. Tarps not only on the ground but hanging as may be seen in a camping area

7. Mount-dismounting (near and far sides, uphill, in tight areas, single track hillside

8. Single track riding/no track riding

9. Knowledge of trail courtesy

10. Drag – Dragging noisy, light and heavy, and awkward obstacles

11. Water crossing with obstacles

12. Uphill, downhill (steep, rocky, slippery, etc.)

13. Stepovers, small jumps (below - above the knee)

14. Gates

15. Stationary obstacles (moving balloons, slickers)

16. Moving obstacles (bikes, strollers, Frisbees, balls, etc.

17. Tailing


1. Multiple skills and obstacles may be used simultaneously for difficulty and challenge.

2. Riders will be given scenarios of search and rescue looking for results that would include
   safety and common sense in what has been learned

3. A mock search and rescue may be staged to utilize skills mastered.

4. A mini-endurance test may be required

5. Written proof of knowledge through examination

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Testing Criteria

Rider will be tested on the following criteria:

1. Safety

2. Rider and horse awareness

3. Rider's awareness of mounts body language

4. Horse and riders' awareness level of surroundings

5. Horse's response to cues

6. Rider's equitation at various gaits---seat, hands, and legs for control and balance

7. Balance while riding doing numerous activities i.e., reaching/bending over/catching

8. Overall appearance

9. Horsemanship

10. Courtesy

11. Professionalism

12. Teamwork

13. Handling of mount as a single unit

14. Ground control/mounted control

15. Rider shall know the minimum nutrition standards in quantity (necessary for extended

16. Rider must have worked with the same horse throughout training period

17. Rider must know signs of illness, vitals signs as well as equine first aid. The following
    are examples:

   •   Six different places to take a pulse

   •   Respiration-

   •   Temperature

   •   Mucosa

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    •   Skin pliability

    •   Urine

    •   Feces

    •   Gut sounds

    •   First aid (leg wrapping, bandaging etc.)

Riding Evaluations

Riding evaluations provide the essential information to ensure administrative control over the
relative progress of each volunteer rider. In addition to recording progress, evaluations serve
to inform the student rider of his/her performance at a particular point in time. They are also
excellent devices for identifying training needs and documenting training efforts. In a word,
evaluations represent feedback.

Observations made by the evaluator are entered on a form the possible listings include:

•   Excellent

•   Satisfactory

•   Unsatisfactory

•   Needs Improvement

•   Not Observed

Training will occur in three phases

        Level 1---Basic Minimum Training to Certify

        Level 2---Intermediate*-optional

        Level 3---Advanced *-optional

System will be weighted because some areas are less important than others although all areas
are important and every rider should make every effort to master their weaknesses

Rating system for riders will be

        E            Exemplary pass
        S            Satisfactory pass
        P            Provisionally pass, skill needs to be reviewed
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        NS          Not satisfactory, needs practice.

Written comments will be made when evaluating


•   Written

•   Oral

•   Field testing

Field evaluations have two parts

•   Arena skills

•   Field skills

Final certification will be an actual mock search and rescue-this will occur at all levels

•   Refer to Advanced training III-Certification

Remedial/Continued Training

Remedial and or continued training and testing for existing members is necessary to maintain
the integrity of the unit. The purpose is to learn new techniques or to master something,
which at the first attempt was not successful.

The testing may take place in the field with a mock search and rescue to fine tune skills
and/or work may be done in the arena.

This is a time to build confidence, to realize a psychological or physical change in the horse
as well as the rider.

Completion of Training Program

Members should be able to finish this training program within a ninety-day period; however,
a member can have an extension up to six months for completion.

Any extension beyond 6 months must have prior approval of the field-training officer.

Any training completed outside of this unit must have prior approval of the field training

Riders may have to complete a mini endurance

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Riders must exhibit proficiency in moving a truck and trailer in certain maneuvers.

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Qualifying Standards for the Horse Trailer
•   Trailer must be currently registered and insured-proof on insurance and registration.

•   Towing vehicle must also be currently registered with adequate insurance-proof of
    insurance and registration.

•   Trailer must pass an inspection for proper lights, brakes (including bearings), and safety.
    A copy of trailer inspection by professional is acceptable.

•   Trailer must have specified equipment and supplies at all times

Loading and Trailering Suggestions

•   Preferably, horses should not be tacked before loading or while transporting.

•   Horses should be led quietly up the ramp with a lead rope of sufficient length to allow
    free movement of the horse's head.

•   Horses should not be rushed during loading or unloading.

•   Problems with loading should be brought to the attention of the field training officer.

•   Before moving the trailer, make certain that it is properly attached, that all lights are
    functional, that safety chains are attached, and that all doors are secured.

Driving Rules

•   Obey all posted speed and regulatory signs.

•   Start, stop, and turn gradually (as if you were trying not to spill a full glass of water on your

•   Corner slower than usual.

•   Do not accelerate out of a turn until both the truck and trailer have straightened out.

•   Drive defensively.

•   Try to anticipate and be able to avoid panic stops. Plan your route in advance.

•   Avoid parking for unloading and tacking up on heavily traveled streets or in congested areas.
    Look for a space, which is at least twice as long and wide as the truck and trailer. Use warning
    cones to protect your tack-up area.

•   Do not abuse trailer locations by damaging property or leaving horse droppings and/or trash
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Color Guard Protocol
The Color Guard may be requested for parades, and other special events. The following is protocol
for the Color Guard.

Placement of flags in a column formation.

The positioning of flags when the color guard is riding in a column (“head to tail”) is shown
below. Note that the United States flag always precedes all other flags.
       Flag Position           1                    2                 3             4

       Flag Emblem           Eagle             Spade              Spade          Spade

       Flag Type         United States         State              City        Mounted Unit
                                                Or                 Or             Or
                                          Foreign Country        County        Department

Placement of flags in a flanking formation.

 The table below shows the positioning of banners when the color guard rides in a flanking
(“line abreast”) formation. The United States flag is always on the unit's right side.
       Flag Position               4            3                 2                     1

       Flag Emblem            Spade           Spade             Spade              Eagle

       Flag Type          Mounted Unit        City                State           United
                              Or               Or                  Or             States
                           Department        County         Foreign Country

The flags are carried on the right side of the mount.

-   The eagle emblem is always facing forward.

-   The spade emblem always has it's edge facing forward as if to cut the wind.

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Mounted Unit History
History of police horse-1900 to present

•   Mounted unit peaked in 1900

•   1920's replaced by motorcycles

•   1950's several units disbanded

•   1960's demonstrations - mounted units reintroduced

•   1970 - 1980 horses continue to gain popularity

S.M.S.O. Mounted Enforcement Unit

•   .Established in 1993

•   Who supported it

•   Sheriff and Citizens

SMSO Mounted Search and Rescue Unit

•   Established 1999

•   Who supported it

•   Sheriff and citizens

Patrolled Areas

Patrolled areas may include :

•   Increased usage of existing parks on weekends/holidays

•   Bicycle path, horse trails, town of Woodside

•   Beach areas including parking lots

•   San Bruno Mountain and Portola Valley

Special events

•   Parade
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•   4th of July American Festival

•   Presentations - schools

•   Holiday weekends

•   Crowd control - civil unrest

•   San Mateo County Fair

•   Grand National

•   Coast Air Show

•   Disaster/crime scene security

•   Disaster/crime scene search

•   Special areas of patrol may include public gathering and remote areas more accessible to
    horse than vehicles.

The attraction of a mounted search and rescue volunteer creates good public relations with
the citizens. This enhances community trust and good will towards the Sheriff's Office.

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