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TAU Equine Care Initiative (ECI)

Students Equine Handling

Goal: Students should be able to demonstrate basic, correct, and safe principles of handling a horse.  Students should be able to exhibit basic horsemanship and husbandry skills.


Step 1: Initial Screening

  1. Student should provide a brief summary of their horse experience on paper
  2. Student should come up with at least five personal goals to accomplish during eci

Step 2: Hands-On Evaluation

  1. Students will be categorized as repeat, sufficient, or advanced for each equine skill.
    Skills can be repeated until they are sufficient.
  2. Level of improvement for individual students will be taken into consideration

Learning Opportunities


  1. Review colors and markings
  2. Point out differences in breeds (exemplified within the TAU herd)
  3. Review terminology (for different sexes and ages)
  4. Identifying different types of feed


  1. Catching and haltering a horse
  2. Leading safely (turn, back, forward)
  3. Safe handling for colleagues to work on horse
  4. Restraint methods
    1. Twitch
    2. Shoulder roll
    3. Lip chain
    4. Stud chain
  5. Lunging
  6. Advanced opportunity: Foal handling
    1. Pick up hooves
    2. Touch all over
    3. Lead

Physical Exam

  1. Temperature
  2. Pulse
  3. Respiration
  4. Capillary refill time
  5. General visual assessment of horse


  1. Proper terminology and usage of basic grooming tools
  2. Safe/proper bathing methods
  3. Clipping (bridle paths only)-this is also likely going to be behavior modification


  1. Safely pick up and hold front and rear hooves hands-free for examination (goal of 90 seconds)
  2. Opportunity to observe/work with Chad Holmes (every five weeks, Wednesday mornings 8:30-11:00am)
  3. Basic lameness examination (flexion, palpation, hoof testers)

Leg And Hoof Wraps

  1. Standing bandages
  2. Exercise-appropriate leg wraps
  3. Shipping boots
  4. Hoof poultice wrap for abscesses

Medication Administration

  1. Injections (IM and IV)
  2. Oral medications

Behavior Modification

  1. Done as needed on a personalized basis for each horse
  2. Learn how to interpret equine body language and interactions
  3. Praise (wither scratching, verbal praise, neck petting) is the preferred positive reinforcement.
  4. Food (low starch treats or grain) may also be used as positive reinforcement but must be fed from a feed pan, not by hand. If horses begin to get mouthy this reward will cease.


  1. Identify basic pieces of tack and identify their functions
  2. Properly tack up a horse and adjust tack as needed

Bonus Opportunities As They Arise

  1. Caring for sick or injured TAU horses could include:
    1. Bandage changes
    2. Oral medication administration
    3. Ocular ointment application
    4. Physical exams
  2. Create mock preventative and basic care protocols for horses
    1. Vaccination
    2. Nutrition
    3. Dental
    4. Podiatry



  1. A trio of students (one each first, second, and third year) or more is assigned to one TAU horse. That horse is who the students work with on a regular basis and practice skills on (unless directed to practice a particular skill on a different animal).
  2. No student should ever come out to work with the horses alone.  At minimum, two people must be present for safety reasons.
  3. Time slots will be provided each week for students to sign up to attend.  At least two late sessions (4-6pm) will be scheduled per month with other time slots being during typical TAU hours.
  4. Students should not wear the same clothes they have been wearing at the hospital.  At minimum, rubber boots should be worn at the TAU (not street shoes) and long pants are required.
  5. Any incidents or injuries to humans or horses (student knocked down or kicked, rope burn, horse found with injury, etc.) should be reported to TAU staff ASAP.
  6. A horse must always have a handler when it is being worked with/on, no matter how simple the task or how calm the horse is.
  7. All horses must be thoroughly groomed (including picking out hooves) before they are returned to their pastures at the end of each session.
  8. Student participants are responsible for catching and turning out horses (part of the handling experience), mucking out stalls, disposing of manure, putting away tools, and sweeping barn aisle.
  9. Anyone seen attempting to ride a horse will be subject to disciplinary action.
  10. Anyone attempting to work with a horse outside of designated times without TAU staff approval will be subject to disciplinary action.

TAU Groom and Graze Group

Goal: Give human and equine participants an opportunity for positive, relaxing, non-structured interactions.

Permissible Activities

  1. Grooming
  2. Hand-grazing on TAU grounds
  3. Bathing (if it’s warm enough!)

Eligible Parties

  1. Anyone in the CVM family!  Open to students, staff, and faculty regardless of horse experience (assuming orientation session has been completed)


  1. Aiming for twice monthly sessions, likely during lunch hour
  2. If interest is high enough and/or during highly stressful times (near final exams, for instance) weekly sessions can be scheduled

Safety And Housekeeping

  1. Horses should only be worked with during GGG hours
  2. Participants should never work alone!  At least two people must be around for safety reasons
  3. Horses must always have a handler when being groomed
  4. Long pants and closed toed shoes are required (anyone without these items will not be allowed to participate)
  5. Participants should attend an orientation session and sign a rule  acknowledgement form before joining GGG (offered 3x/year)
  6. Participants are responsible for:
    1. Turning horses back out to their respective pastures
    2. Mucking out soiled stalls
    3. Disposing of manure (in spreader by dairy barn)
    4. Returning halters and grooming tools to their appropriate places
  7. Anyone attempting to ride horses, work alone, or bring horses up outside of scheduled times will be subject to disciplinary action
  8. Incidents (human or equine) should be reported to TAU staff immediately (person knocked down, wound found on horse, etc.)

House Points

  1. Each session rewards one house point to each participant