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A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE LEADING AND HORSE HANDLING AND HORSE HANDLING Charla Shurtleff Sandy Rafferty.

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Presentation on theme: "A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE LEADING AND HORSE HANDLING AND HORSE HANDLING Charla Shurtleff Sandy Rafferty."— Presentation transcript:

1 A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE LEADING AND HORSE HANDLING AND HORSE HANDLING Charla Shurtleff Sandy Rafferty

2 Purpose of Presentation: Share Leader and Horse Handler Training Programs and Processes Developed over many years Developed over many years Field tested for over a year Field tested for over a year Demonstrated effective results according to our program standards Demonstrated effective results according to our program standards

3 Contributors Tim Shurtleff - organizational development facilitator and technical advisor Tim Shurtleff - organizational development facilitator and technical advisor Darla Green - longtime mentor, instructor, trainer and equine advocate Darla Green - longtime mentor, instructor, trainer and equine advocate Karen Allhoff - developed prototype volunteer training courses using US Pony Club manual Karen Allhoff - developed prototype volunteer training courses using US Pony Club manual Chris Donaghy and Dana Nallon - video models Chris Donaghy and Dana Nallon - video models Program volunteers, students and horses from Exceptional Equestrians of the Meramec Valley and TREE House of Greater St. Louis, formerly known as Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc. Program volunteers, students and horses from Exceptional Equestrians of the Meramec Valley and TREE House of Greater St. Louis, formerly known as Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.

4 Training Philosophy It is our belief that teaching volunteers effective and humane methods of handling horses is a key component of a safe and successful therapeutic horsemanship program. It is our belief that teaching volunteers effective and humane methods of handling horses is a key component of a safe and successful therapeutic horsemanship program. Volunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence when they fully understand their responsibilities, are given the appropriate training to do their job and are offered opportunities for growth. Volunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence when they fully understand their responsibilities, are given the appropriate training to do their job and are offered opportunities for growth. HOW we teach volunteers is just as important as WHAT we teach them. HOW we teach volunteers is just as important as WHAT we teach them.

5 Learning Steps/Stages Steps “Head learning” “Head learning” Lecture, reading, discussion Lecture, reading, discussion Observational learning Observational learning Modeling, example, demonstration Modeling, example, demonstration Practice learning Practice learning Coached rehearsal Coached rehearsal Physically doing it Physically doing it Following steps Following steps Performance learning Performance learning Do it in context Do it in context Creates automaticity Creates automaticity

6 Learning Steps/Stages Steps “Head learning” “Head learning” Lecture, reading, discussion Lecture, reading, discussion Observational learning Observational learning Modeling, example, demonstration Modeling, example, demonstration Practice learning Practice learning Coached rehearsal Coached rehearsal Physically doing it Physically doing it Following steps Following steps Performance learning Performance learning Do it in context Do it in context Creates automaticity Creates automaticity Stages Unconscious incompetence Unconscious incompetence Don’t know I don’t know Don’t know I don’t know Conscious incompetence Conscious incompetence I know that I need to learn I know that I need to learn Conscious competence Conscious competence Can do it when I think about it Can do it when I think about it Use checklist, steps, instructions Use checklist, steps, instructions Unconscious competence Unconscious competence Habit, automaticity, “reflex” Habit, automaticity, “reflex” Perform without thinking about it Perform without thinking about it

7 History of Project All staff participated in a problem solving meeting where each had a chance to submit their ideas/concerns, which were posted on the wall on large sheets of paper. All staff participated in a problem solving meeting where each had a chance to submit their ideas/concerns, which were posted on the wall on large sheets of paper. Ideas were clustered and categorized into specific topics. Ideas were clustered and categorized into specific topics. The topics were prioritized by a group consensus process. The topics were prioritized by a group consensus process. The above helped us to collectively identify our problems, clarify our roles, formulate a written philosophy and develop a roadmap to problem solve. The above helped us to collectively identify our problems, clarify our roles, formulate a written philosophy and develop a roadmap to problem solve.

8 Problems Inconsistent handling of our horses by both staff and volunteers Inconsistent handling of our horses by both staff and volunteers Resulted in unhappy horses with behavioral, as well as physical problems Resulted in unhappy horses with behavioral, as well as physical problems Directly affected the quality and safety of the lessons for staff, students and volunteers Directly affected the quality and safety of the lessons for staff, students and volunteers

9 Program Roles Therapists: identify goals for the rider - specify and apply the movement of the horse Therapists: identify goals for the rider - specify and apply the movement of the horse Instructors and Leaders: produce the movement of the horse Instructors and Leaders: produce the movement of the horse Equine Manager: provides horses capable of performance Equine Manager: provides horses capable of performance

10 Equine Philosophy Our equine partners are the keystones of the success of our program. Our equine partners are the keystones of the success of our program. Horses want to understand their jobs and feel secure. They learn through repetition and thrive on consistency. Horses want to understand their jobs and feel secure. They learn through repetition and thrive on consistency. EVERY encounter with a horse either reinforces their training or affects it negatively. EVERY encounter with a horse either reinforces their training or affects it negatively.

11 Equine Philosophy, cont’d The encounter begins when a person comes in view of the horse and continues throughout the catching, grooming, tacking, untacking, lesson and turnout components of the contact. The encounter begins when a person comes in view of the horse and continues throughout the catching, grooming, tacking, untacking, lesson and turnout components of the contact. Awareness and vigilance are key components in maintaining consistency. Awareness and vigilance are key components in maintaining consistency. It is ALL of our responsibility to be a part of the solution that will positively and athletically affect the horse’s physique and mind. It is ALL of our responsibility to be a part of the solution that will positively and athletically affect the horse’s physique and mind.

12 Welfare of the Horse is Maintained by Utilizing the Following Principles: Forward Forward Balance Balance Symmetry Symmetry Rhythm Rhythm Calmness Calmness Self-carriage Self-carriage Responsiveness/Willingness/ Desire Responsiveness/Willingness/ Desire Strengthen, develop and supple the body, primarily the back Strengthen, develop and supple the body, primarily the back

13 Action Plan Goal was to improve our staff and volunteer training programs with the purpose of maintaining the physical and mental soundness of our horses through consistency and repetition. To be achieved by developing AWARENESS: Gait analysis Gait analysis Basic conformation +/- Basic conformation +/- Mental/behavioral +/- Mental/behavioral +/- Movement of the horse – hollow vs. round Movement of the horse – hollow vs. round Positively influence movement of the horse Positively influence movement of the horse

14 Action Plan cont’d Incorporate the steps and stages of learning to develop training systems that allow us to: Hear it and think about it Hear it and think about it See it performed correctly See it performed correctly Incorporate it into thinking process Incorporate it into thinking process Experience it with correct coached practice Experience it with correct coached practice Live it Live it Integrate it into behavior without having to think about it Integrate it into behavior without having to think about it

15 Process Chose a horse handling system to serve as a theoretical base Chose a horse handling system to serve as a theoretical base Revise/refine pre-requisites, job description and responsibilities of leaders and horse handlers Revise/refine pre-requisites, job description and responsibilities of leaders and horse handlers Develop a curriculum to teach techniques to perform the jobs effectively Develop a curriculum to teach techniques to perform the jobs effectively Develop a mentoring system with competency checklist Develop a mentoring system with competency checklist Develop horse awareness curriculum for continuing education for both staff and volunteers Develop horse awareness curriculum for continuing education for both staff and volunteers

16 United States Pony Club Use of the USPC Manual of Horsemanship – Basics for Beginners – D Level - by Susan E. Harris Use of the USPC Manual of Horsemanship – Basics for Beginners – D Level - by Susan E. Harris Written permission given to use material out of book for this presentation Written permission given to use material out of book for this presentation www.ponyclub.org www.ponyclub.org

17 An Illusion of Safety Building Effective Leadership Article published in the Winter 2003/4, NARHA STRIDES magazine Article published in the Winter 2003/4, NARHA STRIDES magazine Written by Priscilla Maden and Julie Robins Written by Priscilla Maden and Julie Robins

18 Leader Training Agenda Job description Job description Responsibilities Responsibilities Lecture Lecture Observation Observation Role Play Role Play Hands-on Hands-on Mounted Mounted Summary Summary Mentoring Process Mentoring Process

19 Horse Leader Responsibilities Must be a sidewalker for at least 25 hours Must be a sidewalker for at least 25 hours Safety before, during and after lesson – emergency procedures Safety before, during and after lesson – emergency procedures Focus on horse Focus on horse Follow instructor/aide/horse handler directions Follow instructor/aide/horse handler directions Communicate effectively with team Communicate effectively with team Produce specified movement and school figures Produce specified movement and school figures Become familiar with unique habits of each horse being lead (use horse behavior chart) Become familiar with unique habits of each horse being lead (use horse behavior chart) Understand basic principles in order to make best decision under varying circumstances Understand basic principles in order to make best decision under varying circumstances Assist in mentoring “Leaders in Training” Assist in mentoring “Leaders in Training”

20 Job Description for Leader Take assigned horse to and from the waiting area Take assigned horse to and from the waiting area Warm up – stretch horse’s muscles, create communication, create rhythm, observe horse’s behavior Warm up – stretch horse’s muscles, create communication, create rhythm, observe horse’s behavior Square and stand horse for mounting and dismounting Square and stand horse for mounting and dismounting Negotiate arena, do school figures and trails Negotiate arena, do school figures and trails Cool down – loosen girth, allow horse to stretch Cool down – loosen girth, allow horse to stretch Assist in retrieving/returning horse - stall, paddock, pasture Assist in retrieving/returning horse - stall, paddock, pasture

21 In order to fulfill job description effectively, leaders need to… Wear appropriate dress and safe footwear Wear appropriate dress and safe footwear Understand how a horse thinks Understand how a horse thinks Know how to communicate with horse effectively Know how to communicate with horse effectively Recognize signs of stress in a horse Recognize signs of stress in a horse Understand how a horse moves Understand how a horse moves Understand basic terminology Understand basic terminology Know how to safely secure horses cross ties/slip knot Know how to safely secure horses cross ties/slip knot Demonstrate how to safely catch/release horse Demonstrate how to safely catch/release horse Understand basic principles of therapeutic riding and hippotherapy Understand basic principles of therapeutic riding and hippotherapy Understand general guidelines for NARHA therapeutic riding centers Understand general guidelines for NARHA therapeutic riding centers

22 How A Horse Thinks Horse has two blind spots – behind rump and in front of nose Horse has two blind spots – behind rump and in front of nose Right and left sides of brain not connected Right and left sides of brain not connected Horse’s personal space/zone is 10-15 feet around his whole body Horse’s personal space/zone is 10-15 feet around his whole body Fight/flight animals Fight/flight animals Herd instinct Herd instinct Equine sensory systems Equine sensory systems A horse is paying attention to you if he has given you his ear A horse is paying attention to you if he has given you his ear

23 Observational Learning Watch a real class in action Watch a real class in action Horse Horse Leader Leader Rider Rider Team interaction Team interaction Class interaction Class interaction Begin to develop awareness Begin to develop awareness becoming consciously incompetent becoming consciously incompetent

24 Role Play Exercises Pair up and hold hands – one person plays the horse, the other the leader, then reverse roles. At the walk, trot and transitions… Stiff elbow, then light, swinging arm Stiff elbow, then light, swinging arm Pull, body barge, bump into partner Pull, body barge, bump into partner Move slowly and drag feet, then upward, forward with open chest and energetic movement, looking forward Move slowly and drag feet, then upward, forward with open chest and energetic movement, looking forward Look down, look at horse, aimlessly look around Look down, look at horse, aimlessly look around Turn around and walk backwards Turn around and walk backwards Pet nose Pet nose Sit and look up at horse Sit and look up at horse

25 Correct Leading Position Stand next to horse’s shoulder, approximately one arm’s length away. Stand next to horse’s shoulder, approximately one arm’s length away. Leading arm should be carried with elbow slightly bent and fingers forward with thumb on top or palm facing upward. Leading arm should be carried with elbow slightly bent and fingers forward with thumb on top or palm facing upward. Excess lead should be in figure 8 in opposite hand. Excess lead should be in figure 8 in opposite hand. Make sure you are in self carriage and looking up at all times. Make sure you are in self carriage and looking up at all times.

26 Demonstration of Leading Principles Correct position in relation to horse Correct position in relation to horse Use of body language as natural aide Use of body language as natural aide Use of whip as artificial aide Use of whip as artificial aide Model principles of forward, balance, symmetry, rhythm, calmness and self-carriage Model principles of forward, balance, symmetry, rhythm, calmness and self-carriage Dynamic vs. static process – have a “conversation with horse” Dynamic vs. static process – have a “conversation with horse”

27 Hands On - How to Safely and Correctly Lead a Horse Assume proper leading position Assume proper leading position Say horse’s name, then give command Say horse’s name, then give command Look where you are going and where you want your horse to go Look where you are going and where you want your horse to go No sharp turns for the sake of the horse and rider – think forward movement No sharp turns for the sake of the horse and rider – think forward movement Be direct and consistent, move in rhythm with the horse Be direct and consistent, move in rhythm with the horse Maintain 2 horse’s length between horses in movement and at least one horse’s length at halt Maintain 2 horse’s length between horses in movement and at least one horse’s length at halt Always pass to the inside and announce yourself Always pass to the inside and announce yourself Stop in the middle of the arena Stop in the middle of the arena

28 Negotiate Arena/Terminology Dressage arena Dressage arena On the rail On the rail Center line Center line Quarter line Quarter line Across the ring Across the ring Diagonal Diagonal Half circle reverse Half circle reverse Over ground poles Over ground poles Weave cones Weave cones Line up Line up Squaring horse Squaring horse Ramp Ramp

29 Catch Catch Under supervision of staff/horse handler Under supervision of staff/horse handler Caution – a horse’s behavior may be different when he is turned out with other horses than when being handled individually. Caution – a horse’s behavior may be different when he is turned out with other horses than when being handled individually. Never walk up to a horse unannounced. Never walk up to a horse unannounced. Approach shoulder or head, say horse’s name to announce yourself. Approach shoulder or head, say horse’s name to announce yourself. Be tactful – you are entering the horse’s personal zone. Be tactful – you are entering the horse’s personal zone. Proper fit of halter Proper fit of halter

30 Release Under supervision of staff/horse handler Under supervision of staff/horse handler Lead the horse all of the way into the paddock or stall. Lead the horse all of the way into the paddock or stall. Turn horse around to face the entrance and you. Turn horse around to face the entrance and you. Horse should stand quietly and wait to be released – never let him pull away from you. Horse should stand quietly and wait to be released – never let him pull away from you.

31 Securing Horse Safety Lecture Safety Lecture Demonstration Demonstration Divide into groups of two or three to learn and practice quick release knot Divide into groups of two or three to learn and practice quick release knot Cross ties practice Cross ties practice

32 Mounted Experience “Good leader/bad leader” experiential learning “Good leader/bad leader” experiential learning Divide class into teams of leader, sidewalkers and rider. Divide class into teams of leader, sidewalkers and rider. Emphasize GOOD LEADER principles - allow only minimal ineffective leading to allow rider to feel the difference. Emphasize GOOD LEADER principles - allow only minimal ineffective leading to allow rider to feel the difference.

33 Mentoring Leaders in training have a different colored name tag for easy I.D. Leaders in training have a different colored name tag for easy I.D. Collaborate with volunteer coordinator Collaborate with volunteer coordinator No more than two scheduled per class No more than two scheduled per class Use seasoned leaders as mentors Use seasoned leaders as mentors Competency checklist Competency checklist Serves as documentation of training/ competency Serves as documentation of training/ competency

34 Leader Competency Checklist Form Chart with place for instructor initials, mentoring date and comments, as well as numerical scores Chart with place for instructor initials, mentoring date and comments, as well as numerical scores 0 - not performed 0 - not performed 1 - awareness of skills needed 1 - awareness of skills needed 2 - working knowledge or skill building 2 - working knowledge or skill building 3 – mastered 3 – mastered Must have a score of 2 or above in each area to demonstrate competency. Must have a score of 2 or above in each area to demonstrate competency. Must have a minimum of four mentoring sessions across two instructors. Must have a minimum of four mentoring sessions across two instructors. Kept in easily accessible notebook Kept in easily accessible notebook

35 Leader Competency Check List Influences horse in a positive, relaxed manner Influences horse in a positive, relaxed manner Able to assess issues and use correct training methods/aids within scope of program policies and procedures Able to assess issues and use correct training methods/aids within scope of program policies and procedures Holds excess lead rope at an appropriate length from the halter Holds excess lead rope at an appropriate length from the halter Looks up and ahead in direction of travel with soft eyes for awareness of surroundings Looks up and ahead in direction of travel with soft eyes for awareness of surroundings Horse moves freely forward and relaxed with complete freedom of head and neck Horse moves freely forward and relaxed with complete freedom of head and neck

36 Leader Competency Check List Cont’d Walks with clearly balanced rhythm and arm swinging in harmony with horse’s movement while positioned at horse’s shoulder Walks with clearly balanced rhythm and arm swinging in harmony with horse’s movement while positioned at horse’s shoulder Comfortable, safe and not disruptive of the team (horse, rider, sidewalkers) Comfortable, safe and not disruptive of the team (horse, rider, sidewalkers) Able to safely control/maneuver horse at halt/walk/trot including squaring horse at halt and maintaining safe distances between other teams Able to safely control/maneuver horse at halt/walk/trot including squaring horse at halt and maintaining safe distances between other teams Able to secure horse safely, including tying a quick release knot in stall or hitching post and in cross ties Able to secure horse safely, including tying a quick release knot in stall or hitching post and in cross ties

37 Continuing Education Leader awareness classes strongly encouraged for previously trained leaders/staff Leader awareness classes strongly encouraged for previously trained leaders/staff Instructors required to take leader class and teach at least one leader class per year Instructors required to take leader class and teach at least one leader class per year

38 Horse Handler Training Leader training provides foundation for horse handler training Leader training provides foundation for horse handler training Provides pool of people who have demonstrated competence in basic horse handling principles Provides pool of people who have demonstrated competence in basic horse handling principles Serves as a “elimination” process – only those designated as “LEADERS” eligible to train as horse handlers Serves as a “elimination” process – only those designated as “LEADERS” eligible to train as horse handlers By invitation only By invitation only

39 Horse Handler Training Agenda Day One Job description Job description Responsibilities Responsibilities Lecture Lecture Demonstration Demonstration Hands on Hands on Home study Home study

40 Horse Handler Training Agenda Day Two Written test Written test Practicum Practicum Mentoring process - continuous Mentoring process - continuous

41 Horse Handler Job Description Responsible for total care of horse before/after lesson Responsible for total care of horse before/after lesson Retrieve horse from pasture/paddock Retrieve horse from pasture/paddock Groom and tack Groom and tack Assist with warm-up prior to lesson Assist with warm-up prior to lesson Untack and groom Untack and groom Release horse in designated area Release horse in designated area Return tack to designated area Return tack to designated area

42 Horse Handler Responsibilities Safety Safety Recognize signs of stress/injury Recognize signs of stress/injury Preparation of horse for lesson Preparation of horse for lesson Preparation of horse for turn out Preparation of horse for turn out Follow Aide/instructor directions Follow Aide/instructor directions Care of tack/organization Care of tack/organization Communicate effectively with team Communicate effectively with team Assist in mentoring “Horse Handlers in Training” Assist in mentoring “Horse Handlers in Training”

43 In order to fulfill horse handler job description, need to know… Principles taught in leader training Principles taught in leader training Understand basic terminology, including horse markings, colors and body parts Understand basic terminology, including horse markings, colors and body parts How to groom and grooming tool identification How to groom and grooming tool identification How to tack, including tack identification, proper fit and parts of tack How to tack, including tack identification, proper fit and parts of tack

44 Lecture Review of all horse handling principles taught in Leader Training Review of all horse handling principles taught in Leader Training Basic terminology – use test and USPC Level D Manual as study guides Basic terminology – use test and USPC Level D Manual as study guides

45 Horse Handler “Hands On” Demonstration: Demonstration: catching catching grooming grooming tacking tacking release release Practical application of all above under supervision Practical application of all above under supervision

46 Practicum Practicum 3 to 5 hours during actual lesson preparation under guidance of aide/horse handlers Practicum 3 to 5 hours during actual lesson preparation under guidance of aide/horse handlers Written test Written test

47 Horse Handler Written Test Safety Safety Herd instinct Herd instinct Fight/flight response Fight/flight response Horse sensory systems Horse sensory systems Catch/release/securing Catch/release/securing Health Health Colors Colors Markings Markings Parts of horse, tack Parts of horse, tack Names of grooming tools/grooming sequence Names of grooming tools/grooming sequence

48 Horse Handler Mentoring Schedule with volunteer coordinator Schedule with volunteer coordinator Identified with name tag as “Horse Handler in Training” Identified with name tag as “Horse Handler in Training” Maximum of two HHIT per lesson Maximum of two HHIT per lesson Same documentation format as Leader Competency Checklist Same documentation format as Leader Competency Checklist

49 Horse Handler Competency Checklist Able to catch, halter and lead horse to barn Able to catch, halter and lead horse to barn Able to safely tie and work around horse Able to safely tie and work around horse Able to groom horse Able to groom horse Able to identify and know general procedures for equine care Able to identify and know general procedures for equine care Able to tack up Able to tack up Able to untack Able to untack Able to turn out Able to turn out

50 Competency Scoring 0 - not performed 0 - not performed 1 - awareness of skills needed 1 - awareness of skills needed 2 - working knowledge or skill building 2 - working knowledge or skill building 3 - mastered 3 - mastered Current efforts underway to develop levels within Horse Handling Competency systems i.e. “groom only”, “groom and tack only” Current efforts underway to develop levels within Horse Handling Competency systems i.e. “groom only”, “groom and tack only” Purpose is to accommodate people who may not be able to safely fulfill all job responsibilities, i.e catch/release Purpose is to accommodate people who may not be able to safely fulfill all job responsibilities, i.e catch/release Students may fall into this category Students may fall into this category

51 Summary Volunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence: Volunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence: when they fully understand their responsibilities when they fully understand their responsibilities are provided with systematic and appropriate training to do their job are provided with systematic and appropriate training to do their job are offered opportunities for growth are offered opportunities for growth

52 It is our hope others may use components of our processes to enhance their own training programs as appropriate for their organization’s unique needs. It is our hope others may use components of our processes to enhance their own training programs as appropriate for their organization’s unique needs.


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