Read The purpose of the Trooper Manual is to provide a repository of material that will be an aid in understanding the First Company GHG as a unique military-civil organization text version

Part 2 ­ The Horse and Tack

He knows when you're happy He knows when you're comfortable He knows when you're confident And he always knows when you have carrots. ~Author Unknown

Special thanks go to SSG Bree Berner, SGT Katy LaCroix, PFC Cheryl Cleaves, and PFC Gillian Bearns for compiling this section in 2008 & 2009.

Part 2:

The Horse and Tack

The Horse Nature of Horses The Physical Horse Caring for the Horse Basic Needs General Health Diseases & Injuries In Closing Additional References Military Tack and its Care Tack Components Care of the Tack Additional References 1 4 14 17 19 33 34 35 42 45




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Section A: The Horse

Introduction In the Governor's Horse Guards, it is required that each trooper be safe and comfortable working around horses, be able to ride a variety of the horses in our unit, and be reasonably confident and competent in horse handling and daily care. It is equally important to know the procedure when a horse may need veterinary treatment. The material presented here is intended to introduce new troopers to the nature of horses and provide an introduction to the vast amount of knowledge relating to the care of horses. Each trooper should endeavor to become an educated horseman and to continue learning beyond this manual. It should also be stated that experienced horse people and even veterinarians disagree on many things. The information presented here is intended to be as accurate as possible, but each developing horseman should consult a variety of sources when seeking information about horses and their care. Nature of horses Knowledge of the nature of horses is of great assistance to riders and handlers in developing confidence and successfully contributing to the ongoing training of each horse. Troopers should understand that horses are prey animals rather than predators, and this is why they are nervous by nature. They are constantly attuned to anything which could threaten their safety. Their first natural defense is flight. If a horse cannot run away from something that threatens him, he will bite, kick, or strike out. All troopers should be cautioned to avoid sudden movements on or around horses. Contrary to popular belief, horses do not think for themselves, but are creatures of habit. Habits are developed during their training by taking advantage of their hunger and fear. Horses develop confidence by a routine which fosters safety. Horses have a strong herding instinct. They are social animals and this governs much of their behavior, even while mounted. In our troop, the horses live daily in a natural herd environment. They establish a pecking order which can be seen by the order they come in from the pasture, and other examples of dominance. It is based largely by seniority and temperament, and not necessarily size or strength. When humans work with horses around the barn or when riding, the human should be perceived as the herd leader. The horse will develop an appropriate bond, receiving food, guidance and safe handling, and the human will get useful responses from the horse. This is especially true when trying to load a horse onto a new trailer, when treating a serious injury, and when riding in close-order drill. It is critical that each horse respects the boundaries the rider sets, so as to prevent them responding to a natural instinct to bite a neighboring horse or shy away from a neighboring horse. It is this bond of mutual trust and respect that is the foundation of all human-horse interaction. Finally, the herd instinct can work to our advantage or disadvantage. It can be difficult to override when a horse needs to be worked separately from the group. It can also be useful when a horse is afraid to cross a stream, but is further motivated by the fear of being the only horse left behind. The ultimate goal in working with a horse is that he will do what the human asks even when it means overriding these types of fear; this is accomplished by gaining both trust and respect when the human is successfully understood to be the leader of the herd. Horses also have a homing instinct. They know their home and have a desire to go there and feel safe there. Our horses have a "home" in the barn, and a "home" in the pasture. This is what enables the horses to easily learn the feed routine, including which stall is their own. Why is it important to understand this instinct? It can come into play when the horse does not want to be


ridden away from the barn, or when you are homeward bound from a trail ride and the horse becomes overly anxious and will not walk calmly. As experienced riders know, if you become separated from your horse while riding, nine times out of ten he will waiting for you in the barn when you get there. Safety The horse is a timid animal and reacts when frightened. However, there is no need to be afraid of horses if certain common-sense precautions are used. The reverse of this is true also, that is, if a person is overconfident or careless in his actions about horses, sooner or later the person will be injured. Orderly conduct about the stables is imperative for personal safety. · Recruits are not permitted in the barn or picket line area except under supervision · Each individual is responsible for the safety of themselves, the horses, and other troopers · No smoking in the barn or picket line area · No running, yelling, or anything that would upset horses · Recruits do not handle horses except as they are taught to work around them safely · Loose horses are inherently dangerous and must be caught by experienced troopers · Smoking is not permitted on the picket line, in the barn, paddock, or pasture areas. Smoking is prohibited when working around a horse, regardless of the area's location. · Always give warning to a horse when you walk up behind it. If it is necessary to approach a horse from the rear, speak to it to warn of your presence. When the animal is aware of you, stroke it gently on the croup, move calmly to the head, and always keep close to the horse's body. · Any work that is required to be done within the immediate proximity of a horse, should be done from a position as near to the shoulder as possible. A person at the shoulder cannot be touched by either the front or hind feet of the horse. · Always work close to a horse. If this rule is followed, a trooper cannot be struck by the feet, nor will receive the full force of a kick. This is particularly true when passing around the horse's rear, or in working about the haunches. Further Horse Sense Trust between people or between people and animals is built on a history of positive interaction. In order to trust someone, we have to believe they will respond consistently and appropriately in a given situation and that they will follow through with what they say. The same goes for horses. To build trust, we must respond appropriately and consistently to their behavior or anticipated behavior and once started on a course of action, follow through. Horses are social animals. As herd members, they interact with other horses continually and use a system of communication to let herd-mates know what they want and don't want. Learning equine body language is a valuable way to understand what the horse is thinking. The most obvious signal is overall body outline. It's easy to tell the difference between the high, rounded outline of an excited horse and the flat outline of a relaxed one. Ears are also an excellent indicator. They point in the direction of the horse's attention. Both ears pricked forward may look pretty, but when you're riding, you want at least one ear on you. Ears pinned back indicate anger or fear. Ears moving back and forth often indicate uncertainty. Some beginners misinterpret any backward pointing of the ears as anger. There is a difference between ears that are rotated back, listening, and flattened back, indicating anger.


The tail is also very expressive. 'High-tailing' is a well-known sign of excitement; horses also flatten their tails between their legs like dogs when frightened. A horse who scoots away from something with his tail tucked under is truly scared. Tail thrashing is a sign of irritation and annoyance. A kinked tail is a sign of submissive fear and often precedes a buck. There are also more subtle facial signals. A long nose and tight mouth show anxiety and fear. Horses will also show 'worry wrinkles' above the eyes. Watch a horse being taught something new. At first, his mouth will be tight. Then in the moment he understands, you'll often see the mouth relax and chew. A wrinkled nose indicates annoyance and disgust, or can be seen if the horse is experiencing physical distress. A horse threatening to bite has an open mouth and perhaps bared teeth. A long nose with a slightly open mouth shows the horse wants to mutual groom, and can become the characteristic long nose, drawn-back lower lip and extended neck when you find a particularly good scratch is found. Horse behavior can also include undesirable and obsessive-compulsive behaviors considered "vices." The most common are cribbing, windsucking, and weaving. While it is not known what causes these behaviors, stress and boredom are certainly contributing factors, and they can unfortunately be learned from exposure to horses with these behaviors. They can be very difficult to control or break. It is estimated that 15% of horses suffer from behavioral vices; as a management practice, the troop discourages donation prospects who exhibit damaging behaviors.

These paragraphs just skim the surface of horse communication. Thoughtful observation of horses, combined with reading books and articles in such magazines as EQUUS and Practical Horseman, are encouraged. Learning to understand what our horses are telling us -- and responding appropriately -- makes a huge difference in our relationship with them.


The Physical Horse

General Structure - The body of the horse, like that of human being, is made up of skeletal, muscular, digestive, and respiratory systems, and an outer body covering of skin and hair. Skeletal System - The skeleton of the horse is made up of about 205 bones. Bones give the body form and rigidity and form cavities for the protection of vital organs. The bones and joints form a system of levers and pulleys, which through muscular action give the body power of movement. Joints are of special importance because they are frequently injured; therefore, becoming the source of much unsoundness. See Figure 7a. Muscular System - The muscles or red flesh make up most of the bulk of the body, and by their action produce all movements. The body of the muscle is usually attached to bone by ligament. It is continued as a fibrous band called a tendon, which may pass one or more joints and attach to other bone. Muscles are seldom injured, but the tendon of the muscle is more liable to injury. Digestive System - The digestive system is really a long tube beginning at the mouth and ending at the anus. Its function is to receive and digest the food. The digested part of the food passes into the blood stream as food for the muscles, and the undigested portion is passed as dung. As the horse naturally eats grasses and not grains, he must be supplied with bulky food. Healthy droppings should be form naturally into balls. Variations in diet and health can be detected in passed manure. In particular, a horse that is under stress will have "loose stool," very wet and messy. This is most often seen when traveling. The horse's digestive system does not allow him to vomit. Therefore, anything eaten that disagrees can cause a serious and even life-threatening problem. Respiratory System - The organs of the respiratory system are the nasal passage, the pharynx, the larynx or voice box, trachea or windpipe, the bronchi, and the lungs. The purpose of this system is to supply the blood with oxygen and to throw off the waste gases. Breathing should be free, soft, and noiseless. After fast work the breathing is heard as a rushing sound of air but there should be no harsh, fluttering, whistling, or roaring sound. After cessation of exercise the breathing rate should subside quickly to normal. Cinching too tightly or placing the cinch too far to the rear will interfere with normal breathing. The rate of respiration of a horse at rest is 12-16 breaths per minute. If a horse appears ill and is visibly outside this range, the breaths per minute should be counted and recorded, and reported to the veterinarian or an officer in charge. Circulatory System - The heart pumps the blood out through the arteries and small capillaries to all parts of the body. The blood returns to the heart through the veins. The blood passes through the lungs where it gives up its waste gases and receives its supply of oxygen. The blood circulating in the walls of the stomach and intestines absorbs the digested food and makes it available for the tissues of the body. The arteries, as a rule, lie deep in the tissues and are well protected from injury. When the horse is at rest the pulse rate should be 36 to 40 per minute. The rate increases with exercise. The rate will be about 60 to 70 after a 5-minute gallop. If a horse at rest appears ill and is visibly outside the normal range, the pulse should be taken and recorded, and reported to the veterinarian or


an officer in charge. The heart rate can be taken in two ways ­ with a stethoscope directly listening to the heartbeat, or with the index finger placed against the artery under the jaw. Nervous System - The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves running to all parts of the body. The nerves are of two kinds; those which carry messages from the brain and those that carry sensations to the brain. Nerves usually lie close to arteries in their course. Urinary System - The function of the urinary system is to remove from the body waste products extracted from the blood by the kidneys. The horse passes urine several times daily in quantities of a quart or more, 3 to 6 quarts being passed in 24 hours. During the act of urination the horse spreads and extends the hind legs to the rear and stands on the toes of the hind feet, grunts, and assumes a very awkward position. When the horse urinates while mounted, the rider should rise up out of the saddle to take weight off the kidneys. A horse requires 12-15 gallons of water each day to remain healthy. Reproductive System - The function of this system is the bearing of the young. The stallion will breed at all seasons of the year, while the mare's active breeding season is from January to July. This occurs when the mare comes into "heat" for a period of 3 to 7 days approximately every 18 to 21 days. During the "heat" period the mare is nervous, restive, urinates frequently and, during this period, trains or works less satisfactorily. With reference to age and sex, horses are described as follows: Foal - Either sex under 1 year of age. Yearling - Over 1 year, but less then 2 years of age. Filly - A female horse under 4 years of age. Mare - A female over 4 years. Gelding - A male horse that has been castrated, preferably at about 3 years of age. All of the Company's horses are geldings, being generally easier and safer to handle. Skin and Hair - The skin forms the outer protective covering of the body, throwing off waste products through sweating, and assisting in regulating the body temperature. It produces the hair for the body's coat and the horn of the hoof, chestnut, and ergot. The ergot is the small horny growth on the back of the fetlock joint. The base of the ears is the first place on the horse where sweating takes place; the neck, the flank, the side of the chest, the back, and the croup follow in order. All hair except the mane and tail is shed in the fall and in the spring. During shedding, particularly spring shedding, the vitality and condition of the animals are somewhat lowered and the skin is more susceptible to infection. Hooves and Teeth - Healthy hooves and teeth are necessary for the horse to remain healthy, serviceable, and alive. If a horse cannot eat properly, he cannot remain healthy, and if he cannot walk around freely, his body will not maintain itself. This is true regardless of whether the horse is sound enough to ride or not. A horse's body is designed for movement. Primarily, his circulation depends on walking naturally so that the frog pumps blood back up the horse's legs and maintains good circulation. Teeth wear unevenly and sharp edges form which will gradually inhibit his ability to grind his food and can also cause sores. A vet or specialist uses special equipment to file off the sharp edges. This should be done annually; some horses may need it more often.


Age - The average duration of life of the horse is about 30 years. Horses are capable of reproducing at about 1 to 2 years of age, but they are not bodily mature until about 6 years of age. The period of usefulness will average about 10 or 11 years. Horses 10 years of age or older are often better able to stand hardships than younger horses. The age of most horses in the Company can be ascertained by referring to the animal's written record. Although this information is available, each trooper should be able to estimate the approximate age of a horse by examining the teeth and looking for other signs of aging. Some of these changes can be seen in the shape of the muzzle and face, such as the appearance of gray hairs about the eyes and temples, and a deepening of the depressions above the eyes. Another indication is the appearance of 'wearing' about the legs. These are all good general indications of increasing age. (See Fort Riley Cavalry Manual, "Horsemanship and Horsemastership", Vol. 11, Part Three, Chapter 3, for detailed instructions on examining teeth to estimate age.) Height - The height of a horse is expressed in hands and inches, a hand being 4 inches. To measure the height of a horse, place the animal on a level surface with all four feet properly placed and bearing weight. The head and neck should be in the position of normal carriage. The perpendicular distance from the highest point of the withers (center of the arch) to the ground is then measured with a stick that is graduated in hands and inches.


Regions of the Horse.--

The Hoof and Foot. --


Breeds, Types and Strains - A breed is a group or race of animals related by descent, which have distinct characteristics that are not commonly possessed by other individuals or groups of the same species. Also, these characteristics are sufficiently well fixed to be uniformly transmitted to the next generation of the specific species. Listed below are the breeds of horse most commonly found in this troop: American Quarter Horse These heavily muscled, compact horses could run a short distance (a quarter mile) over a straightaway faster than any other horse, and the fastest were called Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses by English colonists in the 1600s. The breed mainly consisted of Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Morgans and even Standardbred bloodlines. In 1940 a registry was formed to preserve the breed which officially became the American Quarter Horse. The breed is known for small, short, refined heads with a straight profile, and a strong, wellmuscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters. They usually stand between 14 and 16 hands high. Morgan All Morgan's today trace back to the stallion Justin Morgan, foaled in 1789 in Springfield, Massachusetts, originally known by the name "Figure". The breed excels in many disciplines, and is known for its versatility. The registry for Morgan's was founded in 1909. The Morgan is known to be compact and refined in build, with strong limbs, an expressive face, large eyes, well-defined withers, laid back shoulders and a well arched neck. The breed standard ranges from 14.1-15.2 hands high. . Morgans are a long-lived, very healthy breed and suffer remarkably few problems with their legs and feet. Standardbred Standardbreds are a breed of horse best known for their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at gallop. Developed in North America, the breed is now recognized worldwide for its harness racing ability. The name "Standardbred" was first used in 1879, due to the fact that, in order to be registered, every Standardbred had to be able to trot a mile within the "standard" of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Original breeds that contributed to the Standardbred were Thoroughbreds, Hackneys, and Morgans. There are two basic types, trotters and pacers. As the name suggests, the trotter's preferred racing gait is the trot, where the horses' legs move in diagonal pairs, when the right foreleg moves forward so does the left hind leg, and vice versa. The pace is a two beat lateral gait; Pacers' forelegs move in unison with the hind legs on the same side. Standardbred Horses are generally a bit heavier in build than their Thoroughbred cousins, but have refined, solid legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Standardbreds have a wide range of height, from 14.1 to 17 hands. Thoroughbred Thoroughbreds originated in England in the 17th century, bred as racehorses. The breed continues to be bred for competitive racing. However, thoroughbreds that do not make money are generally sold as sport horses, becoming jumpers, eventers, and dressage horses, and smaller ones becoming polo ponies. All modern Thoroughbreds carry the genetics of three Arabians: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk. They have been incredibly influential on many of the favorite breeds of today, including the American Quarter Horse, the Morgan, the Standardbred, and other breeds.


The Thoroughbred stands typically from as small as 15.2 to as large as 17.0 hands. Thoroughbreds tend to have a well chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, and long legs. Arabian One of the oldest breeds of horse, the Arabian originated in the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the oldest horse breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses from the Middle East spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and good bone. The Arabian horse is a breed of horse with a reputation for intelligence, spirit, and stamina. Other distinctive features are a relatively long, level croup and naturally high tail carriage. Well-bred Arabians have a deep, well-angled hip and well laid-back shoulder. Most have a compact body with a short back. Some, though not all, have 5 lumbar vertebrae instead of the usual 6, and 17 rather than 18 pairs of ribs. Thus, even a small Arabian can carry a heavy rider with ease. They usually stand from 14.1 to 15.1 hands high. Most display a distinctive concave or "dished" profile. Cross-breeds and "Grade" Horses A Grade horse is a horse whose parentage is unknown, unidentifiable, or of significantly mixed breeding. Experienced horse people can usually spot a breed type in most grade horses. A crossbred horse is sometimes called a "grade" horse, but this is not entirely correct. Crossbreeds usually have known parentage in both the sire and the dam, and will sometimes form a breed of their own, such as the Morab (morgan/arabian cross), or the American Warmblood (any draft crossed with a light breed horse; also described as a cold-blooded horse and a hot-blooded horse). Color and Marking - The following is a list of the most prominent and permanent characteristics by which the horse may be identified, his color and the principally white or other contrasting hair markings. Colors: Black - a coat of uniform black hair. Chestnut - a coat of medium golden color Light Chestnut - a chestnut of yellowish tint Dark Chestnut - a chestnut with a cinnamon shade bordering on brown Bay - a coat of reddish color of a medium shade, black mane and tail Brown - a coat almost rusty black with reddish coloration around the nostrils, axillae, elbows, and flanks Sorrel ­ a coat similar to chestnut but is brighter red Gray - a coat of equally mixed white and dark colored hairs


White - a coat that has no pigment; white horses have pink skin Roan - a coat composed of red, white and black hairs, with red and white on the body, and a black mane and tail Strawberry Roan - a roan with preponderance of red hairs Buckskin - a coat of uniform yellowish colored hairs Piebald - a coat divided into patches of white and black only Dapple - a coat of lighter or darker spots overlaying the base color



Face Markings:

Star: Any marking on the forehead. - Pip

Snip: Any marking on the muzzle between the two nostrils. - Saber

Strip/Stripe: Any marking on the nasal peak between the forehead and nostrils. - Paddington

Star and strip: Any marking on the forehead and either a connected or disconnected marking on the nasal peak. - Colonel

Blaze: A broad vertical marking extending from the forehead to between the nostrils and is of relatively uniform width. - Deacon


Bald face: A very broad blaze--possibly extending past the eyes and down to the upper lip and around nostrils. [model] Leg Markings: Pastern or Half-Pastern: A marking which includes the entire pastern or just half. - A-1 Socks: A marking which extends from the coronet half-way up the cannon bone. - Chester

Stockings: A full marking to the area of the knee on the foreleg and to the area of the hock on the hind leg. It is an extended sock. - [model]


SECTION B: Caring for the Horse

Fundamental Needs The horse will not survive unless his most basic needs are met, these being water, food, and shelter. The horse's basic food groups are: 1 2 3 Water Roughage Concentrates

Water ­ This is the most important of the horse's nutritional needs, meaning a horse will die in a short amount of time without this resource. Horses need a minimum of 10 gallons a day. 10 is not a magic number; this may range from 5 to 20 gallons, depending on air temperature, humidity, body weight, level of activity and health and physiological status. Every horse should have access to a sufficient amount of water to meet its individual maintenance and activity needs. Water troughs and containers should be regularly cleaned to prevent algae buildup. They should be located where they are protected from electrical problems, fouling and freezing. Automatic watering systems should be checked daily to ensure they are dispensing water properly. The troop's horse care regimen ensures the availability of water by providing two large pasture troughs and individual buckets in each horse's stall. These sources are checked daily and cleaned regularly. Roughage ­ This is the main component of the horse's diet in nature. His digestive system is designed to consume vegetation throughout the day. Domestic horses consume roughage in the form of hay or grass. What is hay? Hay is simply long grass that has been cut and dried. Most hay fields have a variety of grasses planted and a minimal amount of weeds and other inedible plants (nothing poisonous of course). Troop horses get a prescribed amount of hay in their stalls and a sufficient amount distributed in the pasture. The horse stays healthy in nature by consuming roughage throughout the day, and hay distributed in the pasture simulates this; both walking and consumption keep the horse's digestive system functioning as it should, and reduce boredom. Fresh grass is much richer in nutrients. Troop horses should be permitted to graze only a few minutes at a time or they can get diarrhea or colic, which can be fatal. Troop horses get approximately 4-6 flakes a day but the amount does not need to be scientific. Horses will rarely get sick from eating large amounts of quality hay. Some horses need hay alternatives due to difficulty chewing, allergies, or other digestion issues. Alternatives include hay that has been soaked, or extruded hay products such as "Hay Stretcher." Concentrates ­ Horses in nature do not get concentrates (grain), but horses in work need additional nutrition in varying amounts. The troop primarily uses a pelleted feed, which is formulated grain and supplemental minerals. Different varieties include senior feed and other formulas such as "Carb-Guard." These formulated feeds are easier for the horse to digest and provide guaranteed nutritional analysis. They also sometimes contain a de-worming agent. Additionally ­ All horses require salt in their diet to survive. Salt is included in pelleted feed, but salt licks should also be provided for the horse to utilize as needed. Troop horses also receive additional supplements and medications along with their feed, as needed.


Shelter ­ Horses are fairly hardy but do require protection from the elements. Troop horses live in a relatively natural environment which allows for lots of exercise and social interaction. The trees in the pasture provide limited shelter from sun, wind, and precipitation. Unfortunately the size of the herd in relation to the size of the pasture makes a structured shelter (such as a shed) impossible. Horses are brought into the barn twice daily to ensure their feed requirements are properly met and to evaluate their health. Horses are only kept in their stalls when they are injured or when extreme weather conditions dictate. Barn duty Standard Operating Procedures in conjunction with a consultation, if necessary, with the Officer In Charge provide the mechanism for the decision to keep the herd in when necessary. It is important that this decision is made in a consistent manner. Grooming - Grooming is very important for the health and well-being of the horse. Grooming also is important an important part of training for both horse and horseman, and also builds the bond between horse and rider. The troop utilizes two grooming procedures, the bearing groom and the full groom. Complete grooming procedures are described in Section 4, Horsemanship. In addition to routine grooming procedures, the following processes are also important. Sheath Cleaning - The gelding's sheath requires occasional cleaning with warm water, sponge and a mild soap to remove dead skin and accumulated secretions and dirt. Form a lather with the sponge and carefully remove the accumulated secretions. The ball of waxy secretion called a "bean" which develops in a depression in the head of the penis should be removed with the fingers. This should be done annually or more often as-needed. Bathing ­ Horses living in a natural environment need minimal bathing. It is best simply to sponge or hose off a sweaty horse on a hot day after his body temperature has cooled. This will not remove essential oils his coat needs. Shedding ­ Springtime shedding can be helped with a shedding blade, which should become part of the trooper's grooming bag. The shedding blade is used open or closed, and run gently in the direction the horse's hair grows to pull loose hair off. This should be used with care on horses with thin or sensitive skin and should only be used on the fleshy parts of the body. Mane and Tail Care - The mane should be pulled to an even length by grasping a few hairs at a time and sliding the hand up close to the roots, then giving a quick jerk so as to pull the hairs out by the roots. A special short comb can be used for pulling. Always work on the longest hairs and on the underside of the mane and tail. Some manes may need thinning as well, but in most cases, a fullness of mane is desired and the end result should look natural. The troop-prescribed length is approximately 8 inches, or the length of a standard grooming brush. This length should be uniform along the neck. The forelock may also need pulling if it is excessively long or thick, but also must remain natural looking. The tail should simply be carefully detangled. The use of commercial products like ShowSheen is acceptable. Hooves ­ Hooves are a "horny growth" of protein, very similar to human fingernails. Healthy hooves and feet provide the mobility essential to the horse's circulatory system. Are "foot" and "hoof" the same thing? Foot refers to the hoof and all its internal structures including bones and sensitive structures. Hoof is only the hard outside covering of the foot including the wall, the sole and the frog. The hoof has no blood supply or nerves. Inside the hoof are the sensitive structures


which produce and nourish the hoof and attach it to the bones of the foot. Hooves grow at a rate of about 1 centimeter per month. Whether a horse is shod or not, his feet need to be trimmed every 5-8 weeks. A horse in nature will walk enough to wear away the hoof naturally. Trimming (and shoeing) is very much a science and cannot be done by the average horse owner. The skill required to keep a hoof properly balanced takes a lot of training and practice to develop. The foot must be trimmed levelly and so that all four feet are at the proper angle. The farrier also trims away the most outer parts of the sole and the frog. Troop horses wear shoes since they do a lot of road work and are "hot shod" which means the shoes are heated so they can be more expertly shaped to fit each horse's hoof; they are applied to the hoof while hot which creates a better fit. Improperly trimmed or shod horses will develop stress and lameness in various locations in their bodies. In addition, corrective shoeing can also be done to relieve stress and extend the usefulness of a horse who has special needs. In addition to regular trimming and shoeing, the horse's hooves should be picked (cleaned) as often as possible. This is done to remove hazardous debris as well as dirt and manure that affect the living part of the horse's foot ­ the sole and frog. Troop protocol requires picking hooves before and after riding. Anything unusual should be reported to Stables personnel. If a shoe comes loose without coming off completely, this must be addressed by someone experienced. It is a delicate process to break remaining clinches and safely remove the hazardous shoe. In the winter, troop horses are shod with shoes that include borium, special stud-like additions to provide traction on ice, and hoof pads, either full or partial. The pads prevent the buildup of snow within the hoof. Teeth - Horses have 36-42 teeth, with females usually having 36 and stallions and geldings having 40-42. "Canine teeth," remains of fighting teeth, are present on some horses, usually males, in either 1 or 2 pairs. "Wolf teeth" can be present in males or females, and sometimes have to be pulled because they cause pain. New head-tossing, objection to bridling, shaking his head and throwing grain around while eating, or a reduction in appetite can all be indications of a problem in the horse's mouth. His mouth is very large and should be inspected by grasping his tongue and pulling it aside. Molars extend quite far back and must be examined with care. Otherwise, teeth should be examined annually and may need to be "floated" by a professional. Floating is simply a method of filing off the sharp edges, but requires special equipment and should be performed by the veterinarian or an equine dental professional. Teeth should be generally clean and healthy and there should not be a lot of food debris in the horse's mouth. Some natural staining is normal. Teeth continue to grow longer with age and become more angular. Other indicators on the "table" (top surface) of the tooth are also used to age a horse. A detailed chart is posted in the feed room.


Above ­ views of healthy teeth and the process of floating teeth General Health The horse should be observed, whether in the pasture, coming down the runway, or in the stall. His level of alertness and his mood will indicate general health. Evaluate coat, nostrils, apparent breathing rate, and anything unusual. Check for obvious wounds, swelling, heat, discharge, or


possible tail rubbing. The following table shows normal vital statistics for the horse. In an initial evaluation, temperature can be felt by feeling the horse's chest, flank, or base of the ears. Visible panting would indicate an increased breathing rate. Vital Temperature Pulse Respiration Normal Range 99.5-101.3 F 28-45 beats/minute 10-14 breaths/minute Average 100 F 36 beats/minute 12/breaths/minute

Taking the horse's "vitals" is not difficult. It should be practiced and learned when the horse is healthy and relaxed. The horse should be held securely, by an assistant if possible. To take the horse's temperature: an equine rectal thermometer is used which includes a string or clip to attach to the horse's tail. Stand beside the horse's rump, facing his tail. Lubricate the thermometer with vaseline, lift the tail up and to the side, attach the clip to the tail, and insert the thermometer alongside the skin of the rectum, not in the center. Keep it in place as the manufacturer recommends, (usually three minutes if it's a mercury thermometer) then remove and note the reading. If the horse's temperature is below 99 or above 104, veterinary care is needed. The thermometer should be thoroughly washed in hot water after each use. To measure respiration: Stand where you can clearly notice the changes in the horse's flank area as he inhales and exhales. Count each inhalation (expansion) over a 1 minute time span, or 30 seconds and multiply by 2. A resting respiration rate falls anywhere between 6 and 20 breaths per minute. If your horse is demonstrating labored breaths, shallow, rapid breaths, or has flared nostrils, it is cause for concern. To take the horse's pulse: Use three fingers and push against the thick artery that runs underneath the jaw bone on either side of the horse's face (similar to the location on a human). Once you have found the pulse, count each surge of blood over a 1-minute time span, or 30 seconds and multiply by 2. If one is available, a stethoscope can be used to listen to the heartbeat (near the girth area) and count. If the heart rate is very fast (80 or more beats per minute), irregular or weak, there is cause for concern. Soundness - The horse must be mobile to remain healthy. When the horse is in motion, a regular cadence should be heard. Severity can range from a barely noticeable hitch in the stride to a reluctance to put any weight on one foot. The following information will help an observant horseman to determine the location of pain and possibly the cause. Lameness is easiest to see when the horse is trotting. A horse lame in one leg will often throw his head in rhythm with his stride. If the horse is sore in a front leg, he will throw his head up as the sore side touches the ground. If the lameness is in a back leg, he will lean onto the sound side. He may also drag the toe on the sore side. If the horse hurts in both front feet or all four feet, he will keep his head up and move with a short, stumbling stride. A sound horse stands with front legs perpendicular to the ground. A horse who stands "camped out" instead of keeping his legs under his body is probably sore. A relaxed horse will often rest a hind foot, but he'll keep equal weight on each front foot. A sore horse might try to take the weight off a front leg by pointing it forward with just the toe on the ground. Always start at the bottom, checking the feet for obvious causes. Pick out the feet and make sure there are no stones wedged into the crevices. Look for cuts or dark spots that might indicate a bruised sole. Badly cracked feet can also cause lameness. Have the feet just been trimmed? Were they trimmed too short? Perhaps a nail might be too close to the sensitive structures inside the


hoof or the shoe might be pinching. Feel the hooves. Is one hoof hotter than the others? Feel the pulse in the artery that passes over the fetlock joint. Is it pounding? Both heat and a pounding pulse are indications of injury. Move on to the lower leg, checking for heat or swelling. The horse may have injured a tendon or a ligament, similar to a sprained ankle in people. Like people, horses can suffer from joint problems such as arthritis and bursitis. The stifle, which is the equivalent the human knee, can slip and lock. Horses subjected to overly stressful work, particularly when young, can have bone chips floating in the joints. An experienced person can also use a hoof tester to discover pain within the hoof, most commonly caused by an abscess. The goal is simply to discover the cause and determine treatment, or to relay the best information to Stables personnel or the Officer In Charge of stable duty. Introduction to Diseases, Injuries and First Aid Treatment During the week, state agricultural workers are responsible for the daily care of Company mounts. The care of these mounts is the shared responsibility of these workers, their supervisors, and all troop personnel. All troopers should be able to recognize certain diseases and injuries so that they can notify the proper personnel and describe symptoms accurately upon request. In some instances, troopers are required to administer treatment as recommended by the veterinarian and only after receiving instruction from the Stable Sergeant, NCOIC or OIC. Important care decisions are made by the primary agricultural worker in conjunction with these other authorities.

Non-Communicable Diseases

Non-Communicable Diseases are conditions that compromise heath and are not transferred from one animal to the next. Their causes and prevention vary and are described with each listed here. Thrush · Symptoms: Thrush is a type of fungus that grows on the sole, the frog and in the valleys of the hoof. It has a distinct black-brown color and has an offensive odor similar to decaying flesh or puss. It will eat away at the frog, often making it look ragged with loose pieces at the edges and will also work its way down into the cleft of the frog. The destruction of the frog is progressive and, if allowed to continue untreated, may make the horse lame due to the deep infection of the frog and/or the loss of frog tissue. · Causes: Lack of proper care of the hooves, particularly failure to clean out thoroughly the valleys on each side of the frog and the cleft of the frog. Wet or filthy standings are the most common cause but dryness of the feet and cuts or tears of the frog are also possible causes. (See Figure 6.) · Prevention: Proper maintenance of the horse's environment is the best prevention. The horse should never be kept in an area that is frequently wet, muddy or mucky. If such conditions develop, the horse should be moved to an alternative location. Proper hoof care is also important; the hooves should be picked and brushed clean at least every few days. · Treatment: Pick the hoof out thoroughly and, using a stiff hoof brush, remove all loose dirt, manure and particles from the sole paying particular attention to the valleys and the cleft of the frog. Apply the treatment solution recommended by the veterinarian or


farrier to the entire surface of the bottom of the hoof being sure that the solution gets down into the cleft of the frog and the valleys. The typical commercial products, such as Thrush Buster, Koppertox or Thrush Remedy, rely on iodine, copper sulfate and other antibacterial, antifungal medications that soak into the hoof and continue to treat it after application. This treatment should be repeated every 2-3 days or as indicated on the Horse Care sheet until the thrush is barely visible and the odor has disappeared. Horses that are susceptible to thrush may need to be treated with the solution once a week as a preventative measure. Note: Be careful applying the thrush solution as it will permanently stain clothing and will readily stain and/or irritate your skin. Dry Hooves · Symptoms: A hard, dry and inelastic condition of the hoof. The first symptom of lack of moisture in the hoof is that the frog will appear hard and dry. The sole will also appear dry and may show visible cracks or fissures. While dryness in itself may not cause lameness, it may contribute to the development of other conditions such as contracted heel, abscesses and thrush. · Causes: Dry weather, inappropriate diet, allowing the shoes to remain on the feet too long, loss of the wax-like horny covering (periople) of the hoof wall, lack of frog pressure or lack of exercise. · Prevention: Horses that are turned out to pasture on a regular basis have fewer problems as their feet absorb moisture from the ground, rain, morning dew, etc. and they are continually moving which increases circulation to the hoof. In dry weather, almost all horses will need additional moisture added. Horses kept in their stalls for long periods or on stall rest require supplemental moisture because they are not absorbing it from their environment; the bedding in the stall will draw moisture out of their hooves and their movement is restricted. Some horses may need a different type of feed due to poor digestion or absorption of important nutrients or may need a hoof supplement to be added to their feed. Proper hoof care, including having the farrier shoe the horse at regular intervals, is important. Regular exercise will help increase circulation and blood flow to the hoof. The frequent use of hoof oil is encouraged. Note: Regardless of whether the horse has shoes, care should be taken to ride on softer surfaces such as dirt and grass if the hooves are particularly dry as hard surfaces will cause a dry hoof to break apart. · Treatment: The first step should be to correct any errors or delays in shoeing, and the second should be to restore the normal moisture content of the hoof. The hoof should always be fully cleaned before treatment. In severe cases, the hooves can be soaked in a bucket with clean lukewarm water or by running water from a hose over the hoof for not more than ten minutes daily. That treatment should be reserved for severe cases as the repeated application of water may cause skin problems on the lower legs. Traditional methods called for packing the hoof with wet clay; however, inexpensive topical hoof dressings, such as Hooflex, Rainmaker or Vita-Hoof for example, are usually easier to apply and more effective. The hoof should be dry and clean. Using a soft brush, apply the ointment or liquid dressing to the entire


surface of the sole, the frog and the bulbs of the heel. Then apply to the coronary band making sure to coat the entire hoof wall. The treatment should be repeated every 2-3 days or as recommended by the farrier or veterinarian. Horses that are on stall rest or that have chronic dry feet may need to have their hooves treated more frequently and may need supplemental moisture even in wet weather conditions. Note: Hooves grow from the coronary band outward, so moisturizing the growing, living area is most important. Contracted Hooves · Symptoms: A contracted hoof is easily recognized from its appearance. The quarters and especially the heels are narrower and higher than normal; there is little or no frog pressure and the pastern will appear upright not sloping. The frog is usually reduced in size and the valleys are often deep making the hoof more prone to thrush. Horses with a congenital condition called "club foot" can be distinguished from horses that have developed contracted hooves by the concave indentation in the front wall of the club foot. · Causes: Dry feet, insufficient exercise, thrush, curing of the bars, cutting away of the frog, allowing the shoes to remain on the feet too long or improper shoeing. May also be the result of a club foot. "Club foot" occurs when the growth of the hoof is restricted in utero and never fully develops to the same size as the horse's other hooves. · Prevention: Treat the hooves as described above to prevent dryness. Ensure that the hooves are being trimmed and shod correctly and at regular intervals. There is no way to prevent a club foot from forming during gestation; the affected hoof may require special care for the duration of the horse's life. · Treatment: If the cause is dryness, then the hoof should be softened as described above for dry feet. A consultation with the farrier is important to ensure that the hoof is being trimmed properly and that the heel is being gradually reduced to achieve a more natural angle from toe to heel. The best solution may be to remove the front shoes to allow the horse's weight to spread the heel and flatten the hoof out slightly. This is often not feasible as contracted hooves are often weak and break apart easily leaving little or no hoof. Club footed horses can stay sound and perform if the condition is not too severe and if the horse is shod correctly. Some medical treatments are available immediately at birth which may help correct the problem. Surgery may also be an option in severe cases. Scratches: · Symptoms: An inflammatory condition of the back of the pastern often leading to open wounds that appear like skin cracked or was slit open or may form pustules. Initial symptoms are redness, heat, pain and swelling of the skin on the back of the pastern. Later, the surface of the skin becomes moist and raw and will crack producing open wounds and pustules. Dust and dirt stick to the secretions to form a scabby mass which is difficult to treat. Usually there is lameness as the pastern bends with every step causing the wounds to continually re-open which is very painful.


· Causes: Wet, muddy or filthy standings; failure to dry legs that have been wet from slush, rain, or washing; pasterns not thoroughly cleaned while grooming or allowing short clipping of the hair to remain on the back of the pasterns. May also result from the application of certain ointments, fly sprays or topical solutions and may be caused by bell boots that do not fit properly. Occurs most often in the fall and early spring when the conditions are wet and muddy for long periods of time. · Prevention: Proper attention to the horse's environment and good grooming will usually prevent it from occurring. Horses should never be left to stand in mud or muck. If a horse's legs get wet repeatedly within a short span of time or in conditions where they will not dry thoroughly on their own, they should be toweled dry. Once the symptoms appear, treatment should be started immediately and maintained. As soon as a horse exhibits symptoms, it should be relocated to a dry pasture or kept in a stall during treatment and until the affected area heals. Use new topical products, such as fly sprays and coat conditioners, only as directed. Do not apply products, other than medications as directed by the Stable Sergeant, OIC, NCOIC or veterinarian, to any area that is red, irritated, swollen, bumpy or otherwise appears sensitive. Be aware that certain breeds, such as Thoroughbreds, are considered "thin-skinned" and more likely to have an adverse reaction. · Treatment: Wash the affected area with a proper wound solution, such as Nolvasan or Betadine scrub, and warm water. This is appropriate even if open wounds have not yet appeared. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly and to dry it completely with clean towels. Once it is clean, it is best to avoid washing the area or applying any water to it. The veterinarian will prescribe a topical ointment which should be applied to the entire affected area. If no prescription ointment is available, use Furazone ointment. Usually a bandage is not recommended because it is likely to twist or tighten around the pastern and exacerbate the condition. If dirt encrusted scabs have formed, it may be necessary to remove them by soaking them in warm water until they can be gently scrubbed off. In addition, it may be advisable to trim with scissors or clip the area to remove excess hair if it is preventing the area from being cleaned properly or is retaining excess moisture. For severe cases, it is usually recommended that the horse remain on stall rest to keep the area clean and reduce movement of the pastern to allow the cracks to heal. If a horse appears to be having an allergic or adverse reaction to a topical solution, the treated area should be washed immediately with mild soap and warm water. The area should be thoroughly rinsed and dried with clean towels. If the condition appears to worsen, a veterinarian should be consulted. Note: Be sure to read the label and apply any topical ointments as directed (i.e. wear gloves). Furazone and many of the prescription ointments contain steroids that can be absorbed through the skin. Laminitis (Founder) · Symptoms: The affected hooves will be hot or warm to the touch. A strong pulse may be felt at the back of the pastern. Usually more than one hoof will be affected so it is important to feel all four hooves to discern which hooves are affected. The front feet are more commonly affected.


In a mild case, the horse will move stiffly, taking short, quick, shuffling steps with the fore feet while planting the hind feet forward under its body. In acute cases, the horse will become severely lame in more than one foot and can be turned or moved only with difficulty. Symptoms appear very quickly, typically within 24 hours of the triggering event but may take several days to resolve. Severe cases may result in the rotation of the joint inside the hoof rendering the horse unsuitable for riding. Prompt diagnosis and immediate treatment can greatly reduce the severity of the condition and prevent permanent damage. · Causes: Overeating of grain, eating rich or spoiled feed or feed inappropriate for that particular horse; colic, exhaustion, sudden chilling, overexertion, long-continuous work on hard-surfaces, such as asphalt roads; drinking more than a small amount of cold water while overheated; severely dry hooves, insufficient exercise, thrush, and allowing the shoes to remain on the feet too long. · Prevention: Prevent horses from overeating grain by securing all feed buckets, bins and storage areas. Follow posted feeding instructions and SOPs to prevent horses from eating inappropriate types of grain. Never feed spoiled feeds, including dusty or moldy hay or grain. Limit access to rich pasture and do not allow horses to graze on fresh spring grass for longer than five to ten minutes a day. Horses that have foundered in the past are prone to founder again and extra care must be taken to prevent it from re-occurring. Knowing a horse's medical history and what triggers founder in that horse is critical for prevention. · Treatment: If founder is suspected, contact the OIC or NCOIC immediately. Keep the horse in its stall (unless other circumstances, such as colic, warrant a different treatment), remove any grain or hay and monitor its water intake. A veterinarian may be consulted depending on the severity and medications may be prescribed. Until a treatment protocol is established, the heat and inflammation in the affected hooves may be reduced by running cold water over the hoof or soaking it in shallow ice water bath (water level should be kept below the fetlock joint). If the horse does not have pads covering the soles of the affected feet, poultice or mineral clay may be packed into the soles to help reduce the heat and inflammation. Add additional bedding to the stall to provide some cushion and to encourage the horse to lie down for brief periods and relieve the pressure on its hooves. However, the horse may need to be tied in the stall to prevent it from lying down for extended periods of time. If the symptoms are not significantly reduced or resolved in 4 - 5 days, the horse is liable to develop the disease in a chronic form which is practically incurable. Diarrhea · Symptoms: Manure is loose, of a semi-fluid or fluid nature. The manure is often a different color and may have a strong odor. Droppings may appear shiny or mucus may be visible. An affected horse may defecate or attempts to defecate frequently. Fresh or dried blood in the manure indicates a more severe condition and a veterinarian should be consulted promptly. If the condition persists, the horse will often lose its appetite and will lose weight. · Causes: Feeding spoiled feed, such as soured grain or moldy hay; overfeeding of high protein or high fiber feeds, such as alfalfa, clover and bran; sudden changes of diet; errors


in feeding; major changes to routine, such as a sudden increase in the amount of exercise, commencement of an intense training regimen, trailering or relocation; nervousness; and oral medications, such as antibiotics. Diarrhea may also be a symptom of colic, a bacterial infection in the intestinal tract or a digestive disorder, such as stomach ulcers. · Prevention: Careful attention should be paid to the type, quality and quantity of feed and methods of feeding. Follow posted feeding instructions and SOPs to prevent horses from overeating or eating inappropriate types of grain. Never feed spoiled feeds, including dusty or moldy hay or grain. Any changes to the diet should be made gradually over a period of days or weeks. High protein and high fiber feeds should be excluded from the diet if horse exhibits intolerance or inability to properly digest the feed. For horses prone to colic or that have a history of digestive disorders, special care should be taken whenever there is a change in diet or routine. · Treatment: It is important to carefully monitor the horse and record symptoms to help a veterinarian diagnose the cause of the condition. Treatment depends entirely on the cause. Most commonly, diarrhea is a passing condition brought on by a parade or other nervous experience. If the diarrhea persists or occurs within the horse's daily routine, additional causes must be considered. The greatest concern is dehydration and every effort should be made to ensure that the horse stays properly hydrated. (See Dehydration). Where the diarrhea was caused by a change in diet, allow 24 to 48 hours for recovery. Feed should be restricted and the horse should be allowed to rest. Monitor the amount of water that the horse is consuming; it may be necessary to encourage the horse to drink. Access to water should only be limited on the advice of a veterinarian. A veterinarian should be consulted immediately if the symptoms are observed in conjunction with other symptoms of colic or another type of severe digestive disorder. Colic · Symptoms: Colic is a general term used to refer to a whole host of different digestive disturbances that can occur along the digestive tract, such as distention due to gas, twisting of the intestine, blockage of the intestine due to an impaction, or general spasms due to bacteria or other disruptors. Horses cannot throw up therefore whatever they ingest must pass through the entire digestive tract and be expelled. Most often the disturbance occurs in the intestinal tract as opposed to the stomach. Colic is the leading natural cause of death in horses and almost all horses will experience colic at some point during their life. Prompt recognition of the symptoms and appropriate medical treatment are critical to reducing the risk of fatality. Colic, almost regardless of the source, causes severe abdominal pain. Horses experiencing abdominal pain due to colic are often restless and will pace persistently, will lie down and roll repeatedly, kick at their belly while standing or while rolling, will look at or attempt to bite their flanks repeatedly, will sweat, will kneel as if to roll or lean back on their haunches as if they are stretching, and may attempt to defecate usually resulting in the discharge of gas, diarrhea, a small amount of manure or nothing at all. The horse's temperature may be elevated and its heart rate and pulse may be rapid due to its distress. The gums just above the front teeth may appear pale or dark reddish-purple with little or no capillary refill response when pressed. In almost all cases, a horse will exhibit one or more of these symptoms. Symptoms may diminish and re-appear an hour or a day later depending on the cause and severity of the colic.


Gas colic can be identified by the rapid and dramatic distention of the belly. It is extremely dangerous because often the intestine will twist or flip in response to the distention or the intestine or abdominal wall may actually perforate. Gas colic, however, responds well if treated quickly. An impaction is likely if the horse has not passed a normal amount of manure over the preceding 24 - 48 hours and appears dehydrated or dull and listless. Purple gums are a strong indicator of an impaction or a severe bacterial infection and the horse should receive immediate medical attention. Note: Because colic is such a broad yet serious condition, it is important to document as much information as possible as soon as a possible colic condition is suspected. Vital signs should be recorded by date and time as well as evidence of rolling, sweating, and other symptoms. Any obvious evidence which could suggest a cause should be recorded, as well as when the horse ate last, if he has stopped eating, and when he last passed manure if this can be determined. · Causes: Because colic is a general term referring to a host of digestive maladies, the number of potential causes is expansive. It can be caused by overeating; eating spoiled feed including soured grain or moldy hay; ingestion of feed inappropriate for horses or for that particular horse; consumption of noxious weeds or poisonous plants; lack of forage feed, such as grass or hay; lack of nutrition (starvation); sudden changes in the horse's diet or routine, including commencement of a new training regimen or relocation; sudden exposure to cold or allowing a horse to get chilled due to rain or snow or after a hard ride; working a horse too soon after feeding it; working a horse too hard for its level of conditioning or under extreme conditions; failing to properly cool after a horse after working it; allowing a horse to consume water too quickly after working; dehydration; and exhaustion. Parasites, tumors, and other abnormalities of any of the digestive organs may also be a cause. The accumulation of sand in the bowels resulting from grazing or eat hay off the ground in sandy areas can also cause colic, or ingesting bailing twine or the like. · Prevention: Overall good care, a proper feeding routine with high quality feeds and ready access to fresh water and maintenance of a suitable schedule with regular exercise and turn-out will significantly reduce the incidence of colic and reduce the severity of a colic incident. The incidence of colic often increases in winter as horses are stabled more, water intake is decreased due to lack of regular exercise and potentially cold or frozen water sources, and horses consume more hay rather than grass which has a higher natural water content. Preventative care also includes regular treatment for worms and an annual physical examination by a veterinarian. · Treatment: Colic rarely resolves itself without medical treatment and may re-occur within hours or the following day if not properly treated. If the horse exhibits one or more of the symptoms listed above, do not hesitate, second guess or delay. Take the horse's vital signs (heart rate, respiration rate and temperature) and record this information along with the observed symptoms. Contact the Stable Sergeant, OIC or NCOIC and describe the symptoms and provide the vitals as requested. Continue to record symptoms along with the time they occurred. Carefully monitor whether the horse urinates, defecates, passes gas, and how much it drinks. This information will be provided to the veterinarian. If the colic appears mild, allow the horse to stay in its stall but remove any grain or hay and limit water intake to a half bucket available at a time, so that the amount of water consumed can be measured and to prevent the horse from drinking too much water. If the horse is attempting to lie down, roll or thrash in its stall, take it out of the stall and


walk it slowly allowing it to rest periodically by putting it back in its stall. Keep the halter on the horse, even when it is in its stall. You may need to catch the horse quickly to stop it from hurting itself or if gets cast (stuck or wedged) in the stall. Common traditional advice has been to never let the horse roll based on the belief that rolling causes the intestines to twist or flip. The more current belief is that rolling may be nature's way of untwisting the gut or causing it to flip back over. It is best to follow the veterinarian's advice and, regardless, the horse should not be allowed to thrash violently in its stall or roll repeatedly and risk getting cast in the stall. The same is true of walking a horse experiencing colic. Short walks are fine and can encourage digestion, but the horse should not be overwalked which may result in exhaustion. Refer to the advice of the veterinarian or troop authority. Do not administer any drugs unless specifically directed to do so by the Stable Sergeant, OIC, NCOIC or the veterinarian. Do not allow the horse to eat even if it appears to have recovered or is interested in food. Typically grain will be withheld for 24 hours following treatment for colic and only small amounts of soaked hay will be provided. The veterinarian will determine the appropriate treatment based on the symptoms, his or her examination and the information provided as to the horse's symptoms and vitals. The veterinarian may administer pain medication and may administer muscle relaxants. Often the veterinarian will insert a tube into the horse's stomach and administer a mixture of mineral oil and warm water. This helps hydrate the horse and lubricate its intestines to allow an impaction to pass. Intravenous fluids may also be administered if the horse appears dehydrated or weak. Usually the veterinarian will administer any invasive treatments and will provide detailed care instructions. The horse may require medication but typically these are simple to administer. Follow the veterinarian's instructions and be sure to ask questions of troop personnel if there is something you do not understand or do not know how to do. In severe cases, the horse may require surgery. Colic surgery is major abdominal surgery and can only be performed in an equine veterinary hospital. It is extremely expensive, success rates vary based on the type and severity of colic, and recovery is a long, slow process requiring intense care. A decision will be made by the OIC, NCOIC, and commanding officers based on the advice and recommendation of the veterinarian as to whether surgery is an option. Heat Exhaustion (aka Overheating or Sunstroke) · Symptoms: A disturbance of the nervous system due to a marked rise in the body temperature. A horse that has been sweating freely will cease to sweat, or sweating will diminish. The skin will be hot to the touch and will become hotter as the sweating decreases and the horse is unable to cool itself. As the condition progresses, the horse will become dull and will require urging. In more advanced stages, the horse will stagger or become wobbly, especially in the hindquarters. If allowed to stand, the horse's legs will be straddled, its breathing very rapid and shallow, the nostrils will be dilated and its nasal membranes will be bluish-red in color. The horse may appear anxious and its body muscles may tremble contributing to the feeling of unsteadiness. The condition is very similar to what humans experience.


· Causes: Caused by long, continuous hard or fast work during hot or very humid weather, especially among animals not in good condition or having heavy winter coats. Horses with metabolic disorders, such as Cushings disease, are more prone as their coats tend to grow longer and thicker and their ability to sweat normally may be impaired. · Prevention: Keep the horse in sufficiently good physical condition to perform work required. Do not overtax the horse or require it to perform work beyond its physical abilities especially in hot or humid weather. If working a horse in particularly hot or humid weather, allow the horse to rest frequently and dismount in the shade for rest. Water the horse more frequently allowing small sips over a period of time. Sponge the chest, neck, flanks and inside of the thigh with cool water. This is particularly helpful during rest periods in between drills or training sessions. Watch for early symptoms and respond immediately if any symptoms are observed. All horses in work should have free and ready access to a salt block or trace mineral salt block. During periods of intense training, their diets may need to be supplemented with electrolytes. Horses with heavy winter coats and those with metabolic disorders resulting in thick coats during late spring, summer and early fall may need to be trace or body clipped. · Treatment: If symptoms are observed, immediately cease working the horse. Take its vital signs (heart rate, respiration rate and temperature) and record that information along with the time. Continue to monitor vitals as other treatments are administered. If the horse's temperature is above normal, sponge or hose the entire body with cool water. Ice packs can be applied under the chin and colder water can be applied on the neck and chest and the inner thighs where there are major blood vessels. Allow the horse to drink cool but not cold water in small sips; do not allow it to gulp water or drink more than half a gallon in one turn. Allow the horse to rest quietly in its stall or on the picket line away from other horses. Do not feed the horse hay, grass or grain until all vital signs are normal and the horse regains its energy. It may be advisable to supplement the horse's water with electrolytes to encourage it to drink more and to restore its electrolyte balance. A horse that has become stressed due to heat exhaustion is also more prone to colic and should be monitored for subsequent colic symptoms. Dehydration · Symptoms: Horses drink an average of 12 -15 gallons of water per day; the volume increases depending on the types of feed, amount of exercise and the weather conditions. A dehydrated horse will become dull and listless; its face may appear drawn and its eyes dull or glazed. The gums above and below the front teeth will appear dry and may be pale with minimal capillary refill if pressed. In its advance stages, the horse will refuse to move, stumble frequently, stagger or appear unsteady on its feet. A simple test is to pinch the skin on the neck in the triangular area below the crest and in front of the shoulder between two fingers and your thumb. If the skin forms a tent that does not almost immediately slide back onto the muscle when released, the horse is dehydrated. A dehydrated horse is very susceptible to heat exhaustion and colic. · Causes: Insufficient access to water; water provided is not clean, is too cold or is frozen; horse has sweat out more water than it has consumed; horse is experiencing colic or other condition that would discourage it from drinking.


· Prevention: Always provide free and ready access to fresh, cool water. Horses in a herd in a pasture usually require 2 or more water sources as dominant horses will attempt to control access to water as a way of asserting control. Horses kept stabled overnight should always have a full bucket (5 gallons or more) of water in their stalls. Horses on the picket line should be watered frequently at regular intervals. When traveling, horses should always be offered water prior to being loaded on the trailer and water should be offered on the trailer if the horses are kept on the trailer for longer than 3-4 hours. Horses should always have free access to a salt block or trace mineral salt block; this helps replenish the electrolytes and minerals lost due to sweat and encourages the horses to drink more water. · Treatment: If symptoms are observed, immediately cease working the horse. Bring it to its stall or a quiet place on the picket line and allow it to rest. Remove any grain or hay from the stall and do not allow it to graze on the picket line. Monitor water consumption and limit it to many small sips over a period of time. In severe or advanced cases, the horse may need intravenous fluids and a veterinarian should be consulted. Lyme Disease · Symptoms: Horses experience symptoms similar to those of affected humans including muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, and, in severe cases, neurologic dysfunction. Affected horses will often exhibit noticeable changes in their personality, aggressive behavior, refusal to respond to the aids or an overall unwillingness to go forward. The horse may or may not exhibit lameness and it may be difficult to discern because it affects multiple joints and the whole body rather than being isolated to one limb. · Causes: Bacteria spread by deer ticks; infection occurs within the first 12 - 24 hours after the tick bites and becomes attached. The symptoms are treatable with antibiotics but affected horses frequently relapse even after treatment due to re-exposure, stress, nutritional changes or other factors. It is estimated that 50 ­ 70% of all horses in the Northeast have been exposed. This, in conjunction with relatively inaccurate testing methodologies means it can be difficult to determine whether the horse is experiencing an active infection. The best measure is to compare a current blood titer to a baseline titer that was pulled prior to the horse becoming infected or when it was exhibiting no symptoms. · Prevention: Reduce avenues of exposure to deer ticks through the application of fly sprays and avoiding dense wooded areas and tall grass when riding. Thorough body checks should be performed after every ride except in the coldest wintery months. Ticks should be removed using special tweezers to ensure that the entire head and body are removed. Deer ticks often migrate to the jaw area under the chin bars, the insides of the hind legs and on the smooth skin of the tail dock. · Treatment: Heavy doses of antibiotics are usually administered either intravenously by a veterinarian or orally for 3 ­ 4 weeks. Oral antibiotics may cause diarrhea or mild colic symptoms. Additional medication to protect the stomach lining may be necessary and probiotics are often given to restore the naturally occurring bacteria in the gut that aids in


digestion. Horses undergoing treatment may be on restricted or light duty. It is important to be cognizant of the symptoms and recognize that an affected horse undergoing treatment may not behave as it normally would. EPM ­ Equine Protozoal Myloencephalitis · Symptoms: EPM is a progressive, degenerative neurological disease of the central nervous system. The horse gradually loses muscle tone and in advanced stages may be unable to control its body resulting in erratic gaits and frequent stumbling; often the hind end becomes wobbly and the hind legs may fall out or collapse. Often the horse becomes lame in one or more leg and no precise cause can be discerned. Because it affects nerve tissue that cannot be repaired, the damage is permanent and horses affected by EPM are often unable to perform to their potential and tend to suffer relapses. Not all infected horses display symptoms, but stress, dietary changes and other factors may suppress the immune system and contribute to infection. An estimated 22-65% of the horses in the United States are infected with EPM. · Causes: EPM is caused by one or more protozoal bacteria that infect the spinal cord resulting in permanent damage and scarring. The protozoa are carried by a range of animals including skunks, raccoons, armadillos, cats and oppossums. Oppossums are the primary vector as the protozoa is able to reproduce in its muscle tissue and the spores are shed through its feces onto the grass in pastures and hayfields, into grain and grain storage areas from which they are then transmitted to the horse. Due to the prevalence of oppossums in the Mid-Atlantic, South and Midwest, EPM is more prevalent in those regions than in the Northeast. · Prevention: Elimination of the vectors is virtually impossible; a better strategy is to eliminate those things that might attract vectors like oppossums, for example, preventing access to any food sources such as grain, cat food or other animal feeds. Grains shipped from mills in areas with a high opossum population have been suspected as a source of EPM; however the higher quality mills have made major investments in preventing contamination and eliminating possible sources of contamination. Every effort should be made to avoid acquiring a horse that is infected with EPM. A variety of tests exist to detect the presence of EPM, but like Lyme disease, they are prone to false positives and can be quite invasive requiring samples of the horse's spinal fluid. · Treatment: Treatment protocols are still being developed and refined as research provides more information. A variety of newer medications have been developed within the last 5 years that show promise; however, none can repair the damage that has already been done to the central nervous system. Most treatments involve intravenous medications administered by a veterinarian or oral medications given over a period of weeks or months. Treatment is expensive and the results vary significantly depending on the individual horse, its immune response and the extent of the infection. A significant percentage of horses relapse when treatment is discontinued and very few horses ever perform to their preinfection potential.


Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases are caused by specific living causative agents that are transmitted from animal to animal either by direct contact between sick and well animals or indirectly through the medium of water troughs, feed pans, corrals, or equipment. Some communicable diseases are incurable and some are transmissible to man. General Causes ­ The biggest cause is exposure to a virus or causative agent; animals who are weak for any reason can be more susceptible. General Prevention ­ Preventative measures include vaccinations and good stable management practices to minimize germs, parasites, and contact with sick horses. Equine Infectious Anemia - Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that affects the horse's immune system. Because the horse's immune system is impaired, the horse may also become susceptible to secondary infections, such as pneumonia. EIA-infected horses can die from the virus or from related secondary infections. It is transmitted by blood, usually from biting mosquitoes. Its symptoms vary and are difficult to recognize. There is no cure, and the disease is a serious threat to equine health such that the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or strict life-long quarantine for any horse testing positive to the virus. The test used to detect the virus is called a Coggins test. Crossing state lines with horses will usually require proof of a negative Coggins test done within one year, and it is common to need this proof when participating at any function which draws a number of horses together. Influenza - This is a very communicable disease affecting chiefly the respiratory system. It is also known as shipping fever, since it commonly occurs after the stress of travel and/or relocation. It is spread by both direct and indirect contact. Symptoms include listlessness, fever, cough and/or discharge from the nostrils, and a loss of appetite. Treatment includes immediate isolation and rest. Horses are usually vaccinated against influenza. Tetanus (Lockjaw) - Tetanus is a disease which affects the nervous system and can be fatal. The concerns with tetanus in horses are very similar to humans; they are vaccinated against the bacteria which causes tetanus, and if they sustain a risky puncture wound, the veterinarian might recommend a booster vaccination to neutralize toxins.


An injury, in general, is any break in the continuity of any body tissue or tissues caused by violence or stress. The common types of injuries are bruises, strains, sprains, and fractures. Injuries can be prevented very largely by the application of proper methods of animal management. From the standpoint of prevention, the size, type, location or severity of an injury is of little importance, but knowledge of the cause of the wound is essential. Injuries can be prevented if the causes can be found and eliminated. Kicks cause nearly half of all animal noneffectiveness in garrison, and equipment injuries are usually the cause of two thirds or more of the disability in the field. The following are some of the more common injuries, their causes, and methods of prevention. Tendinitis - Tendinitis is an inflammation of the large tendons on the back of the leg in the cannon region, usually caused by injury rather than disease.


· Causes - A strain of these tendons; long toes and low heels; violent efforts and sudden checks, as in jumping or galloping over rocky, uneven ground; long-continued exertion in which the muscles tire and are more easily strained; lack of fit condition; and tight bandaging or improperly fitted boots. A form of Tendinitis is sometimes a complication of influenza and strangles. · Prevention - Proper balance and shoeing of the feet. Have the animal in good, fit condition. Avoid other causes of the injury, including in particular, jumping, turning fast, or galloping horses that are not properly conditioned. Sprains - A sprain is a joint injury, usually without any break or injury of the overlying skin. · Causes - Caused by twisting or pulling of the joint or bending the joint beyond its normal range of action. This results in stretching or tearing of the ligaments which hold the ends of the bones in proper position to form the joint. · Prevention - Avoid causes of injury, including in particular, jumping, turning fast, or galloping horses that are not properly conditioned and also taking care in icy or slippery conditions, including slippery roads. Fractures - A fracture is a broken bone. · Causes - Most fractures result from kicks inflicted by other animals. Fractures of the bones of the legs are sometimes caused by sudden turns or stepping in holes. Wounds - Wounds are breaks in the continuity of any soft tissue. They are usually caused by external violence and most frequently involve the skin and underlying tissues. Depending upon their character, they are described as incised (sharp cut), lacerated (torn), penetrating (small opening), and perforating. · Causes - There are many possible causes of wounds. In garrison, kicks are the cause of nearly half of all wounds. In the field, most of the wounds are caused by the equipment carried by the horse, especially the saddle. · Treatment - The great principle in the successful treatment of wounds may be summed up in the word cleanliness. Cleanliness of the wound itself, of the dressing, and of the dresser are of the greatest importance. Wounds must be monitored for possible infection. Contusions (Bruises) - A contusion is an injury of a part without a break in the overlying skin. · Causes - Blow from a blunt object. Being kicked by another animal is a common cause. Treads and Overreaching · Causes - Treads are injuries, or wounds, in the coronet on the front or side of the foot and may be self-inflicted or caused by the shoes of other animals. Overreaching wounds are self-inflicted injuries to the bulbs of the heel, pastern, or fetlock which are caused by the animal's hind foot striking that part. These injuries are frequently inflicted when landing after jumping an obstacle, at the fast trot and at times at the gallop.


Natural conformation can be responsible, as well as a lack of training to travel correctly with a rider. Wounds similar to overreaching wounds can also be caused on the heels of the hind feet by another horse crowding up on the animal from the rear. Interfering Wounds - Interfering wounds are self-inflicted wounds made on some part of the inside of the leg, usually the fetlock, by being struck by the hoof or shoe of the opposite leg. · Causes - Defective conformation, such as toeing out, cow-hocked, and narrowbreasted. Fatigue is often a cause in animals that do not otherwise interfere. Equipment-Caused Injuries - Equipment-caused injuries, especially those caused by the saddle and the field equipment attached thereto, are extremely important. These injuries are almost always either abrasions (rub) or contusions (bruises). Occasionally the back will "scald," a condition in which the hair and outer layers of skin may peel as if it has been blistered. · Causes - All equipment-caused injuries are caused by either friction or pressure. Obviously there can be pressure without friction, but there cannot be friction without some degree of pressure. Pressure may be almost constant, as would result from a very tightly cinched saddle, or it may be intermittent (pounding or blows), as would result from a loose cantle spool or from the rider "pounding" the cantle of the saddle. · Predisposing Causes - There are many predisposing or contributing causes of sore back. Even though all other things may be perfect, if the horse has not been conditioned properly and the skin of the back hardened and accustomed to carrying weight, saddle sores are certain to result when the horse is called upon to carry the weight of full field equipment. Excessively long hours under the saddle are sure to cause injuries even under the best of conditions. Excluding failure to condition the animals, nothing is more productive of sores than improperly assembled, fitted, or adjusted riding equipment; and yet no contributing cause should be easier to remedy. Dirty equipment, particularly dirty saddle blankets, is inexcusably the cause of many abrasions and some pressure-caused injuries. A hard, sweat-caked blanket does little to pad the back or equalize areas of pressure. There can be no doubt that an improper seat and improper methods of riding, such as slouching or "pounding" in the saddle, have been the cause of many sore backs. Vaccinations & Parasite Control Vaccinations - Administering the appropriate vaccinations is the best weapon against common infectious diseases of the horse. The specific immunizations needed by a particular group of horses depends upon several factors, including environment, age, breed, sex, use, exposure risk, geographic location and general management. Troop horses are vaccinated annually as recommended by the contracted veterinarian. Parasite Control - A parasite control program is necessary in any herd of horses to maintain health. An effective program will include the administration of dewormers as well as manure and pasture management, and isolation of new horses. Euthanasia The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek terms eu meaning good and thanatos meaning death. A good death would be one that occurs with minimal pain and at the appropriate time in


the horse's life to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. Justification for euthanization of a horse for humane reasons should be based on both medical considerations as well as current and future quality of life issues for the horse. The following criteria (not all criteria need to be met for every case) should be considered in evaluating the necessity for euthanization of a horse: · Is the horse's condition chronic, incurable and resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering? · Does the horse's condition present a hopeless prognosis for life? · Is the horse a hazard to itself, other horses or humans? · Will the horse require continuous medication for the relief of pain and suffering for the remainder of its life? · If the horse is suffering but treatable, is proper and recommended care of the horse within the means of the rescue/retirement facility, such that the health and safety of the other horses are not compromised? · Is the horse constantly and in the foreseeable future unable to move unassisted, interact with other horses, or is exhibiting behaviors which may be considered essential for a decent quality of life? When necessary, the humane decision to facilitate the "good death" of a beloved troop horse is made in careful consultation with the contracted veterinarian. Conclusion The information offered in this section is merely a starting point. There is an almost infinite amount of additional resources available in print and on the internet. The best way to learn more about horses is through direct contact with them and by utilizing the knowledge of experienced horsemen.


Additional References

Some Sources Used: 1GHG Trooper Manual, circa 1980 (American Association of Equine Practitioners) U.S. Cavalry Manual Recommended Reading: Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook by Thomas Gore DVM, Paula Gore, James M. Giffin MD, and

Beth Adelman


Section C ­ The Tack and its Care

Components of Military Tack - The equipment to be used with the horse, such as the saddle, bridle, bit, and halter, compose the tack. The proper equipment to be used depends primarily upon the characteristics of the particular horse and the purpose for which it is to be used. As a general rule, only that equipment which is essential for the proper control during the work intended should be used. The Halter - A device made of leather or nylon straps that fits around the head of the horse and is used with a "halter shank" to lead or secure the animal.

The Bridle - The M1909 bridle allows for the attachment of two separate bits. When used as a single bridle, any regular bit may be attached to the cheek straps, as is commonly found at GHG. To be used as a double bridle, a curb bit is attached via the cheek strap and a second snaffle bit (usually a bridoon [or bradoon] snaffle) is attached using the bridoon carriers. Any bridle may use various bits depending upon the requirements of the particular horse.



M1909 Bridle with Pelham Bit

Note that the throatlatch and the curb chain are not shown.


Bits - The bit is the metal part of the bridle that is inserted in the mouth of the horse. The bit is very important in horsemanship because it is the main instrument whereby the rider communicates intentions to the horse. There are dozens of different bits, some gentle and some severe. All bits are variations of two main types, the snaffle and the curb. Also commonly used is the Pelham bit, which is a combination of the snaffle and the curb. Snaffle Bit ­ The snaffle exerts pressure primarily on the corners of the lips of the horse's mouth, and this pressure is direct. "Direct pressure" means that the amount of force applied by the rider is the same amount of force felt by the horse, and it is this element that defines a bit as a snaffle bit. Other features of each snaffle that determine its influence on the horse include the thickness of the mouthpiece, the type of metal used, and the style of rings.

Curb Bit - The curb bit is constructed so that when the rider pulls the reins, which are attached to the end of the shank, the bar exerts an increasing pressure on the horse's mouth. The curb bit uses leverage, rather than direct pressure, which is what defines a curb as such. Other features of each curb that determine its influence on the horse include the length of the shanks, the height of the port, the type of metal used, and other variations on the mouthpiece. In addition, the curb chain is a necessary part of the curb bit's leverage action. It exerts pressure on the chin and works in conjunction with the rest of the bit.

. Pelham Bit ­ The Pelham uses a combination of action from both the curb and the snaffle. This bit will have two reins attached, a snaffle and curb and accordingly, the snaffle rein is attached to the mouthpiece for a direct pressure action, and the curb rein is attached to the shank which results in leverage action. A curb chain is always used with a Pelham bit. When properly used, primary rein pressure is exerted by the rider on the snaffle rein, and pressure is only applied to the curb rein when additional pressure is needed, primarily to create flexion in the horse. A Pelham bit is stronger than a snaffle, but not as strong as a curb.


The Saddle - The saddle used by the Horse Guards is a McClellan M1928 Cavalry Saddle. This saddle is a modification of the M1904. The saddle was named by Captain George B. McClellan who visited Europe in 1856 and was impressed with a saddle the Prussians were using. He brought it to America where it was adopted by the U.S. Cavalry. The saddle has undergone many modifications in its lifetime, the last being the M1928, and was used until 1943 when the U.S. Cavalry was dismounted and mechanized. The McClellan saddle was designed to fit comfortably for any average horse, and comes in several seat sizes. When picking the right size McClellan seat, use the following rule of thumb: Up to 150 lbs. 1 1 in. Seat Up to l80 lbs. 1ll/2in. Seat Over 180 lbs. 12 in. Seat

1904 McClellan

1928 Modified McClellan



Saddle Blanket - Since the saddle blanket comes in direct contact with the horse, it is very important that it be properly cared for. The blankets used by the Horse Guards are of wool and are similar to Armed Forces hospital issue. Each blanket has a yellow number on one corner and is folded in a prescribed way. Troopers are responsible for washing assigned blankets on instructions from the Tack Sergeant and at such other times as is necessary. Saddlebags ­ Standard Cavalry issue included saddlebags. The troop uses saddle bags for the File Closer position, for liberty riding, and for riding to bivouac during annual training. They install easily over the saddle bag stud and using leather tabs which fit through the high foot staples.


Rifle Scabbard - When the order is given for the trooper to carry his rifle, it is kept in the rifle boot which is attached to the saddle. The scabbard is attached with leather straps to the pommel ring and the cantle ring on the near side of the horse. It should be positioned as vertical as possible with the muzzle of the rifle as far into the scabbard as possible. The scabbard is held in position while riding by the instep of the foot.

Care of the Tack - The materials used in caring for the tack are: saddle soap, Lexol, sponges, clean cloths, metal polish. Unless otherwise ordered, the tack is always cleaned and stored in the tack room. No part of the tack should be taken home for cleaning without permission of the Tack Officer or Tack Sergeant. The following is the procedure used in cleaning the tack. · · · The bit is washed thoroughly in warm water. All leather is wiped clean with a damp sponge. It is important to do this to remove dirt and dust prior to soaping the leather. With a sponge wrung out in warm water, apply saddle soap to all leather, working up a good lather in the process. Particular attention should be paid to the inside of the saddle skirts, the reins and the cheek straps. Remove all lather with a damp sponge and wipe down the leather with a soft cloth.



Polish all brass and other metal with a metal polish, but do not remove fittings from the saddle. Use a Q-tip or other object to remove excess polish from around metal and brass fittings.

All leather should be thoroughly cleaned (with a solution prepared for this purpose) and oiled two or three times a year. Prior to the annual inspection troopers are required to thoroughly clean their assigned tack and are fined if their tack does not meet inspection standard. The following information further details what is expected for tack inspections: · · · · · Saddles, Bridles, and Halters must be taken apart and the leather scrubbed clean, then conditioned. Brass must be polished on the front and back, and jade removed with a non-metal implement. Girths and Blankets must be washed. Do NOT put blankets in the dryer. Girths may be washed at GHG with bleach - or preferably Oxy-Clean (and a capful of oil soap helps). Except for the blanket, no tack may be taken home without prior authorization from Tack Personnel. If equipment is taken apart, buckles must be returned to the same position and the bit must be replaced correctly. Bridle adjustments are critical for horse health and rider safety.

When saddle blankets have been washed, they must be refolded properly. See following images. As always, any questions should be addressed through chain of command or Tack Personnel.


Blanket Folding Made Easy

Start by folding the blanket in half so that the number is forward and left from you; if you can visualize this number positioned correctly on the horse the whole time, you will not go wrong.

Bring your right hand to your left folding in half, keeping the number positioned.


Square up the corners before the last fold

Finish by dropping another fold in half, still keeping the number in the same place. Confirm that the pommel fold in your right hand is the folded edge and your left hand has the open edges.


Some excellent additional references on cavalry tack are:



The purpose of the Trooper Manual is to provide a repository of material that will be an aid in understanding the First Company GHG as a unique military-civil organization

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