The Portneuf Valley Pony Club participated in three different rallies a couple of weeks ago. Our club did an amazing job working together as a team and cheering everyone on.
The first rally was the Dressage Rally. As a team they took 4th overall with great rides. It was difficult to learn two different Dressage tests and ride in the awful heat, but they did an amazing job.
The next rally was the Show Jumping Rally which meant each rider had to memorize three different courses. As a team they took 6th overall with many great rides. They also tied for 1st in the horse management portion of the competition which means they definitely know how to take great care of their horses and be safe around them. They are to be commended for this achievement.
In the Tetrathlon Rally, they competed their hearts out. They each had to run, swim, shoot, and ride. Each member excelled in different phases of the competition. We were really proud of them overall for their team work and ability to push through long hot days in the sun.
So you are ready for your certificate. I know that you have all downloaded the test sheets and read them by now. If you have not, it would be better to do that late than never. Remember, that the examiners are not your parents or your instructor and they did not see you ride last year, last month, or even last week. They can only evaluate what they see tomorrow. Relax, have fun, be confident. Here are a few more specific tips:
Preparation for The Day Before:
If you are going to bathe your horse, do it today. Even if you aren’t showing up until tomorrow afternoon, if you bathe tomorrow, the best case scenario is that your horse will look like a dandelion puff. Worse is that your horse would not be dry.
Take it *very* easy on the “product”. By that I am referring to de-tangler, show-sheen, hoof polish, glitter, paint, oil, and any of the other things you might consider putting on your horse. None of you are going for a certificate that would benefit from “product”. Clean is good. Make-up isn’t.
Plan on showing up at least 30 minutes early and make plans that allow you to be several hours later than expected.
Pack all the stuff you plan to take (tack, brushes, books, etc.) tonight.
Remember the extra stuff you may not have been thinking about: USPC pin, polo wraps/tape/pins/etc. (for D3′s), jumping boots if you have them.
Take a hole punch. Take an extra bridle. Take an extra halter. Take extra stirrup leathers if you have them.
If your horse has been longed and you have the equipment, take it. If your horse is really bad, that could be used as part of the solution, but only if you have the equipment with you.
Run your saddle pad through the washing machine and dryer if it is even sort of dirty.
Fill out your stall card tonight. Bring it. Remember to take TPR on your horse (temperature, pulse, respiration) at rest. Make sure the numbers are inside the normal range. Take a picture of your horse and put it on the stall card.
Make sure every page of your record book is complete and the summary is filled out. Put the record book in a folder or binder all by itself. It is best if you have a picture of the horse with the record book. MAKE SURE YOUR NAME IS ON THE RECORD BOOK.
Bring a complete change of clothes that you *could* ride in that is safe even if nothing else about it is ideal. You never know what will happen.
Bring a copy of thank-you letters if that is a requirement for your test (D3 I think)
For the Day of the Certificate:
Be on time. (AKA 5 minutes early to turn-out, your ride time, and the knowledge session)
Relax. If you are nervous and tense, nothing will go as well as it could. It will be ok. The worst case is that you re-take the whole test in the fall. You won’t be the first, nor the last. I failed a lot of certificates on the way up. It is *not* a big deal.
Smile and act like everything that happens is something you expected.
Work together with other candidates when answering questions. First person takes the *single* hardest answer they are *sure* of. Then the next person and so on. When everyone else has given all the answers they can, and you know more, ask the examiners if you can give more answers. If they say yes, give good answers as long as they are smiling and nodding.
Don’t say “I don’t know, but…” or “I guess….”. If you are unsure, but you think you know an answer, give the answers you know first and then if you have to, say “I think I remember reading/hearing that …..”.
Depending on the certificate you are going for and the question being asked, if you are not getting the answer the examiner obviously wants to hear, try to get some guidance for what they are looking for. As an example, if you are working on conformation faults and they keep asking for more but you have named all you can think of, ask if there is a specific part of the body that they would like to hear another conformation fault on. Be creative and respectful and you can get examiners to give you surprising amounts of hints.
The examiner is right. Do not argue. If you disagree, you can ask for clarification. You can even ask them to explain how their statement and what you read in the manual can both be true (that is a nice way of saying the examiner is wrong). If you do that last one, be ready to bring the manual and prove that you are right. Do not say “But my instructor says to …”. The examiner is right. If they ask you to do something you cannot or will not do, you will probably not pass that part of the test but do not argue with the examiner.
Do exactly what the examiners ask you to do. You can do a little extra but DO NOT
Leave the circle where the group has been asked to ride.
Trot/Canter if you have not been given permission to.
Jump extra jumps.
Mount without permission.
Stop to chat with other candidates or parents in the audience
If the examiner asks you to jump a jump that does not have a groundline or is incorrectly set. Ask the examiner if they really want you to jump that jump and clearly explain why it bothers you. Chances are very good that you either misunderstood and would have done it incorrectly or they will change the jump to make you happier.
If your horse does not pick up the correct lead, crow-hops, bucks, or breaks out of a gait, you have not failed. If your horse refuses that is not a problem. You have not failed. If your fall off, you still have not failed. It is what you do *after* falling off or refusing that determines if you pass or not. That can even be an opportunity to gain an “exceeds the standard” if you handle the situation well.
Even when you are not officially being tested, still follow Pony Club rules. Take your tack off after riding when you tie your horse up. Make sure your horse is properly tied in a safe place. Brush/sponge your horse after riding. Keep yourself neat and clean. Make sure you have appropriate footwear on when you are around the horses. Unless the examiners specifically tell you differently, keep the appropriate footwear on at all times (unmounted knowledge, riding, grooming, loading and unloading your horse). Save the flip-flops for the car ride home.
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What additional equipment is required for a mounted "longe lesson"?
Safe riding pants
Gloves for the instructor
Shoes with heels
Where are your horse's blind spots?
Below the nose
Under his belly
Directly above his head
Under his left foot
Which are basic rules of feeding your horse?
Feed as much as the horse will eat
Feed at the same time every day
Feed little and often
Feed treats that are high in sugar
Add salt to your horse's water
How many points are possible for each station at mega-room?
What is the penalty for being caught with a cell phone at a rally?
Warning the first time, then elimination
Which step is not part of saddling your horse?
Put your girth on the saddle
Tighten the girth
Tie your horse firmly to something solid
Slide the saddle back to the correct position
Place the saddle high on the withers
What is the word describing the time when your horse is in the air over the jump?
A white spot on a horse's forehead is called a....
When riding a showjumping course, what happens if you circle in front of a jump before jumping it?
Your horse gets confused and you may go off course.
You have to re-ride the course starting from the beginning.
You may have time faults because it takes longer to ride a circle than to not ride a circle.
You cross your tracks which results in being eliminated.
You go out to check on your horse in the evening on a Saturday. Your horse does not seem interested in his feed and lies down and rolls several times while you are there. He bites at his sides several times as well but there are a lot of mosquitoes around at this time of day and year. You know the vet clinic is closed on weekends and the next day is Sunday. What do you do?
Get a large dosing syringe and give your horse about a pint of wiskey. That will relieve the pain and relax him which may solve the problem. Put a halter on him and walk him until the colic is gone.
Give your horse banamine and walk him. If he gets worse, call the vet.
Spray him with bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away and wait until Monday morning and take your horse to the vet.
Spray him with bug spray to see if the biting at his sides is really bugs, put a halter on him and walk him to see how bad he wants to lie down. If he seems to be getting worse or is still the same, in a few minutes, call the vet's emergency number.
Encourage him to roll. If it is colic and he has a twisted gut it may untwist the gut.
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Knowing the parts of the horse (anatomy) is important for anyone who rides, owns, or cares for a horse. The ability to identify where an injury is located and tell the veterinarian over the phone can save time, fear, and money. Riding lessons often include phrases such as “Reach forward and touch the poll, then back to touch the dock”. Without knowing where the poll and dock are, the rider cannot perform the exercise.
As a more experienced horseman, the knowledge of the parts of the horse is involved in discussions about purchasing an animal or determining the reason a horse is lame. At this level, the horseman is expected to be comfortable discussing horse anatomy and the soundness issues related to different ways that anatomy is put together.
Still more experienced horsemen who breed horses, own or manage barns, assist veterinarians, or seek to become farriers need to know more about the anatomy of the horse. These people need to understand how ligaments, tendons, and muscles connect to the bones and how those parts are affected by different conformation. That knowledge depends on first knowing the names and locations of the parts.
USPC defines a set and standards for each level of achievement. The specific sections related to parts of the horse for D1-C2 are included below.
USPC Standards Of Proficiency
D1: Name any 10 parts of the mount (such as mane, tail, leg, eye, etc.)
D2: Name and locate any 15 parts of the mount
D3: Identify at least 20 parts of the mount, to include hock, gaskin, withers, croup, fetlock, pastern
C1: Name three to four types of teeth found in a horses mouth
C2: Identify and/or describe parts of the horse’s mouth to include bars, lips, incisors, molars, wolf teeth and canines
Parts of the Horse
The parts of the mouth of the horse are a little more difficult to diagram. The following diagram provides a very basic illustration but is not complete:
Double reins are used with specific bits and/or bridles. Bits typically requiring double reins are: kimberwick, pelham, elevator, and gag. The double bridle requires double reins, one for the snaffle (bridoon), and one for the curb.
Riding with double reins is typically more difficult than riding with single reins and is typically reserved for more experienced riders. Each rein represents a different set of pressure points in the mouth of the horse and typically one set is more severe than the other.
Holding double reins depends on the horse, the instructor, the bit, and the rider. Could there be more variables? USPC suggests in the Volume 3 Manual of Horsemanship, that the snaffle rein be held under the pinky of each hand and the curb rein be held between the pinky and third finger.
There are good arguments, however, for holding the snaffle rein where it is without a curb rein, between the pinky and third and holding the curb rein either between the middle and third or under the pinky. The difference is how much leverage needs to be applied to the horse which depends on the horse and the skill of the rider. More leverage is available to the rein held under the pinky.
Old military experts held the reins in other configurations as well including holding all four reins in one hand to allow the other hand to hold a sword which requires good control of the position of the hand holding all the reins. Another configuration is to hold both curb reins in one hand with one snaffle rein in the normal position between the third and pinky with the other hand holding the other snaffle rein. This configuration is used but it is not readily apparent what the advantage is.