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Mounted Police Practical Assessment


									                                     Key West Police Mounted Patrol
                   Study Outline for Mounted Patrol Practical Assessment
                                                  Level - 1

 The material contained herein is not intended to replace instruction from a qualified mounted police
 instructor or instructional program. The purpose of this outline is to let the student know what the
 assessor will be looking for, and what questions the assessor may ask, while conducting the practical
 assessment. The Level-1 Assessment is designed to evaluate the student’s degree of knowledge and
 skills in basic levels of horsemanship related to the anatomy of a horse, its care and maintenance, equine
 equipment and facilities. The student should consult the University of Louisville’s Southern Police
 Institute’s Basic Mounted Law Enforcement course instructional material or qualified equine instructor
 about anything contained herein for which the student is uncertain of.


  The student should be prepared to name the parts of a horse.


    It is not within the scope of this study outline to cover all aspects of stable management. We will
    discuss, however, basic stable management procedures and safety.

        A. Orderliness

                  1. It is important to always keep equipment, tools and supplies in their designated
                     location. This will give the facility an orderly appearance and allow users to easily
                     and quickly find what they need.

        B. General Cleanliness

                  1. The student should not ignore trash and unclean conditions in and around the
                     stables. Take it upon yourself to place trash in receptacles and correct unclean
                     conditions. Do not just walk by it or wait for someone else to take care of it.

                  2. An unclean environment can lead to health issues for you and the horse, as well as
                     safety hazards. An unkept facility or one that is in a state of disrepair will reflect
                     negatively on the public’s opinion about the professionalism of the Mounted Unit.

                       a) Brooms, shovels, vacuum cleaners, mops, buckets, water hose, cleaning
                          solutions, bleach, and pressure sprayer are all items that can help you in your
                          effort to keep the facility clean.
                       b) Keep walk ways clean and clear.
                       c) Do not keep trash and garbage cans opened inside the barn to attract flies and
                          other insects.

                                                         Study Outline for Mounted Patrol Practical Assessment, Level – 1
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C. Stalls

            1. Discuss suitable dimensions of a stall and type of flooring.

            2. Keep the flooring and/or bedding underneath the horse’s feet clean and dry.
               Promptly remove manure, as well as standing urine or urine soaked bedding.

            3. Regularly clean water buckets, water troughs and feed buckets.

            4. The walls, as well as any rubber mats that may be used as flooring, should be
               cleaned regularly. A disinfecting solution or bleach can help eliminate mold,
               mildew and germs that can pose health risks for horses and humans. A pressure
               sprayer can be useful.

            5. Stalls and paddocks should be routinely checked for loose boards or panels; loose or
               exposed bolts, screws, brackets or nails; exposed electrical wires; and broken or
               weak pipes, as well as any objects that could cut, scrape or puncture a horse.
               Immediately correct any issues.

D. Manure Management

            1. Suitable locations for manure piles.

            2. Removal of manure piles. Uses for the manure.

E. Feed Storage Areas

            1. Regularly clean and disinfect the feed room area.

            2. Feed rooms often attract rodents. Promptly address rodent problems, professionally
               if necessary. Rodents are prone to getting into bags of grain and sweet feeds. To
               prevent this, you may wish to consider placing opened and unopened bags of grain
               and sweet feed in large sealable tubs.

            3. Keep feed up off the ground.

            4. Keeping the room air conditioned or air circulated with a fan will keep food fresher
               longer and help prevent mold and mildew.

            5. Do not store feed underneath opened windows or where it will be exposed to the

            6. Keep all doors to the feed room closed and secured to help prevent rodents and
               other unwanted animals from entering. This is also necessary to prevent horses
               from inadvertently having access to quantities of food that can result in serious
               health issues.

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       F. Tack Room

               1. All tack should be stored in a tack room in an orderly manner. Tack rooms should
                  be in close proximity to where the handler will tack / groom the horse.

               2. All tack that goes together should be stored together. Typically all tack for a
                  specific horse should remain together if you have the luxury of having sufficient
                  tack for each horse in the facility.

               3. Ideally tack rooms should be air conditioned or air circulated by a fan.

               4. If you do not have the luxury of a dedicated tack room, store tack in an orderly
                  manner in a location that will not expose the tack to direct sunlight or the elements.

               5. If you share a tack room with other individuals, use ONLY your tack and supplies
                  unless you have permission to use someone else’s.

       G. General Safety

               1. Always keep walk ways clean and clear of objects that you or your horse could
                  walk into, fall over, get tangled in or otherwise be injured by.

               2. The area designated for grooming should have cross-ties installed and kept clean
                  and clear. The area should be large enough to safely move around the horse, and to
                  allow other horses and handlers to safely pass if it is a shared area.

               3. Water hoses should be rolled up or stored when not in use.

               4. Electrical extension cords should not be left exposed on the ground or hanging.

               5. Electrical wiring and water lines in areas where horses have access to should be
                  securely encased (separately) so that a horse can not chew into an electrical wire or
                  break a water pipe.

               6. Electrical switches and outlets in a barn should be designed for outdoor use,
                  equipped with spring-loaded latches to close over the switch and outlets to prevent
                  moisture and dust from entering. Moisture can result in a short circuit and collected
                  dust can result in a fire hazard.

               7. The barn should be equipped with a fire sprinkler system. Fire extinguishers should
                  be located throughout the barn, and check routinely for operability.


       A. General Ground Safety

               1. Use caution when around horses. Always remain alert. Stop, look and listen.

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        2. Avoid standing directly in front or directly behind a horse.

        3. Always walk when around a horse; never run.

        4. Do not make loud noises or sudden movements around a horse.

        5. Let the horse know you are approaching by first speaking to him in a low calm
           voice to avoid startling the horse.

        6. Approach the horse from the side.

        7. When walking around the horse, calmly speak to him keeping your hand on him.

        8. When in the presence of a horse for which you are uncertain of its temperament,
           give a wider than normal berth when moving around the horse. This will help
           prevent you from being bitten or kicked if the horse feels so inclined.

        9. Avoid being around a horse in cramped spaces. Do not put yourself in a position
           where you could be inadvertently crushed if the horse would try to move and you
           have insufficient space to maneuver away.

B. Haltering

        1. If the horse does not remain haltered when the horse is not being used, a halter and
           lead rope should always be readily available, typically hung outside the stall or
           pasture gate.

        2. A halter that shows age or damage, which could compromise the strength or
           security of the halter, should not be used.

        3. Proper fitting.

        4. Place the lead rope around the horse’s neck and then bring the halter over the face
           from the side.

C. Leading

        1. Horses should always be moved with a halter and lead rope or by the reins if a
           bridal and bit are already in place on the horse.

        2. Lead the horse on the near side. The horse’s head should be immediately to the
           right of the handler’s right shoulder.

        3. If leading with the reins, the handler should hold the crossed reins in his right hand
           immediately below the horse’s chin.

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       4. Whether with a lead rope or reins, never wrap them around your hand or any other
          part of your body.

       5. Lead the horse always keeping your elbow toward the horse’s neck.

            a) In the event the horse moves unexpectedly sideways toward you, the horse
               will move into your extended elbow, which will do two things. The action
               will push your body away from the horse that is moving sideways toward you.
               It will also tend to stop the horse’s sideways movement; remember horses
               move away from pressure.

       6. Remain aware of potentially hazardous objects or conditions that may concern the
          horse and perhaps cause the horse to move in an unexpected direction.

       7. Observe for any sign of lameness when leading the horse.

D. Tying

       1. Cross tying should generally be used when ever the horse is being groomed,
          examined or saddled.

            a) Although it is acceptable to keep your horse cross tied while the handler is not
               engaging the horse, the horse should not be left this way for an extended
               period of time or left unmonitored.
            b) Always use quick release buckles or quick release knots on both ends of the
               cross ties to allow the handler to quickly release the ties in the event of an

       2. Tying with a single lead rope may be necessary when the convenience of cross ties
          is unavailable or impractical.

            a) The lead rope should be tied short enough so that the horse can not touch his
               nose to the ground. Tie the horse whither height or slightly higher.
            b) Always use a quick release buckle or a quick release knot to allow the handler
               to quickly release the tie in the event of an emergency.
            c) Avoid tying to any object that could come loose if the horse would pull
               against it. An object coming loose could not only damage property, but more
               importantly it could startle and/or injure the horse or human. A startled horse
               that can not get away from the object that is scaring him can become
               extremely stressed and potentially dangerous.

       3. Ground tying may be an option if cross ties or a suitable fixed object to tie the horse
          to is unavailable or impractical providing the handler is reasonably confident the
          horse will remain in place.

            a) Having the horse remain in place without it being held or tied requires
               patience and repeated training.

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                     b) Ground tying should generally not be used in a public environment if cross
                        ties, a suitable fixed object or a person is available to hold the horse.

                4. You should not tie the horse to anything by the reins.


       A. When

                1. Horses should not be washed when the air temperature is cool or when the wind
                   would cause a wet horse to be chilled.

                     a) When the horse must be cleaned and the temperature will not allow, a sponge
                        bath may suffice by using a damp sponge or cloth.

                2. Heated horses should not be washed with copious amounts of water until the horse
                   has cooled down and its respiration has returned to normal.

                3. Providing the air temperature will allow, the horse should generally be washed with
                   water every day prior to it being used for duty or demonstrations to ensure a well-
                   kept, professional look. A sponge bath may suffice for a horse that is only slightly

       B. Where

                1. The ultimate environment for washing the horse would be an in-doors, climate
                   controlled facility, with adjustable water temperatures, a wash rack with cross ties
                   and padded rails, soft non-slip flooring with a slight grade to prevent water from
                   pooling and a drainage system. Rarely will this all be available so understanding
                   the reasons why each of the above listed amenities would be important will help
                   you select a suitable location.

       C. How

                1. Unless the shampoo is extremely mild and specifically formulated for it, the horse
                   should generally not be washed with soap every day.

                     a) Doing so will keep the needed oils stripped from the horse’s skin and coat.
                     b) A thorough rinsing with copious amounted of water each day will generally be
                        sufficient between shampooings unless the horse is extremely soiled.

                2. If shampooing, follow the product instructions.

                     a) Apply the shampoo to the area of the horse you are washing. Do not use too
                        much shampoo.
                     b) Use a cloth, mitt or rubber/plastic aid to help work the shampoo into the hair
                        and loosen dirt. Be gentle as some horses are more sensitive than others.

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                      c) Avoid getting the product into the eyes, ears, nose or mouth. A damp sponge
                         or cloth should be used to wash these areas.
                      d) With copious amounted of water, thoroughly rinse away ALL of the shampoo,
                         as well as any conditioner that may have been used in the mane or tail.

                3. If using a water hose to rinse the horse:

                      a) Some horses move around when a water hose is being used on them.
                         Therefore, be sure that the horse will not move into anything around it if the
                         horse does in fact move.
                      b) Before you begin spraying the horse, run the water for a short period to expel
                         any extremely hot or cold water that may be in the hose. Test the water
                         temperature before beginning to spray the horse.
                      c) Do not use too forceful of a spray as it may tickle, sting or even injure the
                      d) Most horses will object, sometimes vigorously, if you get the water too close
                         to its ears or nose. For these horses you should use a damp sponge or cloth to
                         clean these areas.

                4. Once the horse has been thoroughly rinsed:

                      a) Use a scraper to remove excess water from the coat.
                      b) Brush the horse with a Body Brush (soft bristle brush) in the direction of the
                         hair pattern.
                      c) Apply product as needed and desired to the mane and tail for detangling and
                      d) Apply product as needed and desired to the coat. The product instructions
                         may suggest that you again brush the horse after applying the product.
                      e) Comb the mane, tail and forelock.
                      f) Apply product as needed to repel insects.
                      g) Apply a blanket if necessary.


  Grooming serves several purposes. It promotes “bonding” by allowing the handler and horse to
  become better acquainted and comfortable with each other. It allows the handler to work with the
  horse on “ground manners”. It also gives the handler the opportunity to examine and feel areas of the
  horse for anything out of the ordinary that could be cause for concern. Immediately address any injury
  or health concern. If in question, first consult a veterinarian.

       A. Hoof & Shoes

                1. Always start with the hoof.

                      a) Run your hand down the horse from its hindquarters to the fetlock. This will
                         alert your horse of your presence there. It will also allow you to look and feel
                         for any abnormal conditions.

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             b) If the horse does not readily pick his foot up for you, you may need to squeeze
                or pinch immediately above the fetlock joint to prompt him.

        2. Use hoof pick and brush to clean all four hooves. Remove any rocks or debris.

        3. Check for injuries, cracks, soreness and signs of thrush.

        4. If the horse is shod, check for missing or bent shoes, tightness and missing or loose

B. Body Grooming

        1. When grooming the horse’s body, run your hand over his entire body, feeling and
           looking for any injury or anything out of the ordinary that could be cause for

             a) Check the back for soreness.
             b) Pay particular attention to the back, shoulders and girth areas for any lumps or
                injuries that could be rubbed or irritated by the bridal, saddle or girth.
             c) See if the horse is breathing normally; that it is quiet and without distended
             d) Listen for gut sounds. The absence of gut sounds could be an indication of
                abnormal movement in the horse’s digestive system.

        2. Curry Comb:

             a) Used to break up dirt and promote circulation.
             b) Use in large circular motions.
             c) Do not use on face or below knee.

        3. Dandy Brush, (Harder bristle brush):

             a) Used to brush away dirt.
             b) Follow the hair pattern.
             c) Do not use on face and be careful using it on sensitive areas such as belly and
                below the knee.

        4. Body Brush, (Softer bristle brush):

             a) Used to finish.
             b) Follow hair pattern.
             c) May be used on the face and below the knee.

C. Mane and Tail

        1. Mane and Tail Comb:

             a) Used to detangle the mane and tail hairs.

                                              Study Outline for Mounted Patrol Practical Assessment, Level – 1
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               b) Start from the ends of the hair, moving upward toward the roots.
               c) Use slow and non-pulling strokes.
               d) First untangle knots with your fingers or use the teeth of the comb inside the
                  knot itself.
               e) Use a “mane pulling knife” to shorten the mane hairs.

D. Eyes and Nostrils

        1. Damp Cloth:

               a) Always use a clean and damp cloth.
               b) Carefully clean the eyes. Watch for excessive discharge from the eyes, as
                  well as material that may indicate blocked ducts from dirt and sand, allergies,
                  or that flies or other insects are laying their eggs in the corners of the eyes or
                  are otherwise irritating the eyes. This may require you to slightly pull down
                  the lower eye-lid to expose dirt and other matter that needs to be wiped away.
                  Continued irritation to the eye may require you to consult a veterinarian.
               c) Carefully clean the nostrils. Watch for excessive discharge from the nostrils.
               d) Gently clean around and in the ears.
               e) Gently clean around the anal opening and along the buttocks.

E. Chestnuts

        1. Apply petroleum jelly to the chestnuts to soften them and make them easier to peal

F. Hoof Dressing

        1. Apply hoof dressing on dry hooves to prevent cracking, and to promote growth and
           texture. Dressing should generally not be used on wet hooves or in an overly wet

G. Sprays

        1. As needed and desired, apply approved product as directed by the manufacturer to
           the mane and tail to help detangle the hair and give it a shine.

        2. As needed and desired, apply approved product as directed by the manufacturer to
           the coat to give it a shine.

        3. As needed, apply approved product as directed by the manufacturer to repel insects.
           Generally these products should NOT be sprayed on the face. What are other
           options to repel insects from the face?

H. Sheath

        1. If the horse lends itself by dropping while grooming, carefully pull the extended
           penis to the side staying clear of the horse’s feet.

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               2. With mild soap and water clean the sheath.

               3. If thick dirt and dried skin is present, it is suggested to first apply petroleum jelly on
                  the penis to loosen the dirt and dried skin.

               4. Look for and remove if present any impacted material that may collect in the
                  opening of the penis. This collection of material, that is usually round and has the
                  consistency of putty, is commonly referred to as a “bean”. Failure to remove beans
                  may cause interference with the horse’s ability to urinate; a serious health matter.


       A. Pads and Blankets

               1. There is a wide variety of pads and blankets that fit between the saddle and the
                  horse’s back.

                     a) Blankets are typically a square or rectangular piece of woven material that, if
                        used, helps protect the pad and/or saddle from becoming soiled.
                     b) Blankets can also serve to absorb sweat from the horse.
                     c) Some horses accept a more coarsely woven blanket where others need a softer
                        weave; typically the softer the material the better for the horse.
                     d) Regardless of the weave, ensure that any creases, ripples or knots in the
                        blanket have no weight upon them because pressure applied on top of them
                        can be a source of irritation for the horse.
                     e) Blankets should be cleaned regularly.
                     f) Pads are typically used immediately beneath the saddle to correct minor
                        saddle-fitting issues, to help distribute the weight of the rider and to help
                        absorb impact.
                     g) The dimensions and sizes of pads vary depending on the type, size and
                        dimensions of the saddle.
                     h) Pads should be cleaned regularly.

               2. Avoid dragging the blanket or pad against the hair pattern.

               3. Following the hair pattern, run your hand between the horse’s coat and the blanket
                  or pad to ensure there are no creases, ripples or knots that may irritate the horse.

       B. Saddle

          For the purpose of this outline, it will be assumed the rider is using a western or endurance

               1. Know the parts of a western saddle.

               2. The saddle is placed in the proper position on the back of the horse.

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         3. The saddle fits properly.

              a) That it does not rock forward or backward.
              b) That it does not interfere with the free movement of the shoulders.
              c) That the rear edge of any pad or the saddle’s skirt is not so long that it rubs the
                 point of the hip on either side of the horse.
              d) There is sufficient space between the underside of the pommel and the horse’s
                 whither even with the girth tightened and the rider bearing weight seated in
                 the saddle. There should NEVER be pressure placed on the whither.

         4. The proper way to cinch up the girth.

              a)   Knot or buckle.
              b)   Gradual tightening.
              c)   The girth is positioned evenly on both sides once it is tightened.
              d)   Avoid pinching the horse’s skin.

C. Breast Plate or Collar

         1. What is the purpose of the breast plate or collar?

         2. If a breast plate or collar is used, ensure:

              a) That it only slightly snug; not tight.
              b) It is connected to the saddle and girth correctly.
              c) Ensure the buckle that connects to the girth is centered between the two front
                 legs of the horse and that it is not “digging” into the horse’s skin or either leg.

D. Bridal

         1. A halter / bridal combination is not required for casual use, however it is required
            for duty because it will allow the rider to easily tie the horse with its neck rope if

         2. A bridal that shows damage, which could compromise the strength or security of
            the halter, should not be used.

         3. Does the handler know how to apply the bridal with the least amount of energy and
            causing the least amount of stress to the horse?

         4. Correct position and fit:

              a) Is the bridal positioned correctly?
              b) Will any rings, buckles or snaps rub against the cheek bones?
              c) Ensure proper snugness of the throat strap and nose band.

E. Bit

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               1. Suitable bit for the horse and why.

                     a) The student should be able to explain the difference between a snaffle and
                        pelham bit and how they work differently.

               2. Proper placement in the horse’s mouth; typically two wrinkles in the corners of the

               3. If a bit is used that is designed for leverage, ensure proper placement and snugness
                  of the curb chain or strap.

       F. Reins

               1. Although acceptable for casual use, reigns that connect to the bit with snaps or
                  clasps that can easily and quickly be disconnected should not be used for duty.

               2. Proper placement on the bit.

                     a) For a single reign on a bit that has both shank and mouthpiece rings, explain
                        the advantage and disadvantage of connecting the rein to one or the other.

               3. Advantages and disadvantages of riding with double reins.

       G. Protective Wraps

               1. Explain the reasons why you might want to apply protective wraps or devices on
                  the horse’s lower legs.

               2. If protective wraps or devices are used, the proper placement and application.

       H. Protective Boots

               1. Explain the reasons why you might want your horse to wear protective boots

               2. Explain disadvantages to wearing boots.

               3. If boots are worn, their proper application.


       A. Breaks

               1. Keep the horse comfortable. A horse that remains comfortable will be more likely
                  to look forward to working with you.

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        2. When the rider and horse are taking a short break, it is not necessary to relax the
           saddle and tack, however, the rider SHOULD dismount.

        3. When the horse and rider are taking an extended break, dismount and loosen the
           cinch and breast plate / collar, but not so much that the saddle could slip to the side.

B. Cool Down

        1. To prevent the horse from “tying up”, if the horse has just had a vigorous work out,
           before stopping:

             a) Be sure that the horse is walked-out giving the horse a chance to cool down
                normally and gradually.
             b) A ten-minute walk to the barn, trailer or rest area will usually allow for an
                adequate cool-down.
             c) A horse that is still breathing heavily should generally be walked some more
                to allow more time for cool-down.

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

C. Finished Working the Horse

        1. When you have finished working the horse, or you and the horse are taking a
           significantly long break, the saddle and all tack should be removed.

        2. Never remove the blanket or saddle pad when and where it will expose a horse’s
           wet back either to the hot rays of the sun or to sudden cooling.

             a) The pressure of the saddle and girth restricts the blood supply and so weakens
                the tissues of the back and girth area. In this condition, a hot sun more readily
                burns or inflames the skin, while sudden cooling contracts the blood vessels
                and prevents proper return of the blood to nourish the tissues. In either case,
                sores and swelling may result.

        3. Using a curry comb, make large circular motions where the saddle and cinch had
           been. This will help stimulate circulation in those areas.

        4. It is permissible to wash the horse providing that the air temperature is not cool and
           that the horse has cooled down with its respirations returned to normal.

             a) The horse should be scraped and groomed, (and blanketed if necessary),
                before putting the horse away.

        5. If a horse is wet from rain, he should be scraped then blanketed, and his head, neck,
           loins and legs rubbed. If the weather is cold, approximately 25 minutes after
           putting on the first blanket on the wet horse, that blanket should be replaced with a
           dry one.

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         D. Feeding and Watering

                    1. Be sure to provide clean water for the horse, but do not allow a heated horse to
                       drink all that it wants. The horse should be allowed 6-8 swallows every 10 minutes
                       until the horse is cooled down. Do not remain on the horse when it is trying to

                    2. Do not feed grain to a heated horse.

                    3. Do not allow a heated horse to eat green grass. Hey, on the other hand, is a bulky
                       food and will not hurt a horse however heated or fatigued it may be.

                    4. If you are going to work the horse again, allow adequate time for the horse to digest
                       its meal before any stressful activity.


University of Louisville Kentucky’s Southern Police Institute
Basic Mounted Police Course Student Manual
Geiser Equine, Inc.

More About Bits and Their Placement and Use
by Colonel Gaston Vintevogel, Retired

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