Revised: May 11, 2012

KERN COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT

MOUNTED SEARCH AND RESCUE GROUP

          Horse/Rider Proficiency Examination

 

A.  The objectives of the proficiency examination are: to reduce liability, eliminate inhumanity, and promote safety and good horsemanship.

B.     The proficiency examination is designed to evaluate basic equestrian skills necessary for safely conducting search and rescue operations.

C.     All exercises must be successfully completed.  (Time limits are noted below)  If a horse and rider fail two or fewer exercises, they may re-test within six weeks of the test date on those exercises they failed.

D.      The horse and rider will fail the examination if they fail three or more exercises.  The team may test again at the next regularly scheduled proficiency examination.

E.        The horse and rider will be immediately disqualified if at any time:

1.    The horse is lame, seriously ill, disabled, or seriously injured.

2.    The rider loses control of the horse.

3.   The horse starts bucking or kicking.

4.  The rider shows a lack of adequate balance and control while riding or handling the horse.

5.   The rider refuses or is unable to follow the examiners’ instructions.

 

Horse/Rider List of Exercises

 

1.      TYING UP:

Tie un-mounted horse in the arena, saddled and ready for examination, while the proficiency directions are read.  The objective is to demonstrate ground manners and that the mount will tie and stand quietly.

Time:  10 minutes

2.      OPEN AND CLOSE A GATE:

While mounted, approach, open, ride through and close a gate while keeping control of the gate and the horse’s movements at all times.  The objective is to demonstrate the rider’s control of both the horse’s and the gate’s positions and rider’s balance.

Time:  1 minute

 

 

 

3.      WALK ON TARP:

Maintain control while walking over a blue tarp sized at approximately 100 square feet.  The objective is to demonstrate the trusting relationship of the horse/rider team and the rider’s ability to maintain control.

Time:  1 minute

4.      BALL:

The horse must remain under control while a soccer or basketball is rolled approximately 5 feet in front of the horse.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s tolerance and rider’s ability to maintain control.

5.      EMERGENCY LIGHTS AND SIRENS:

Remain under control while walking within 20 feet alongside an emergency vehicle with the emergency lights and sirens on from a starting point of 20 feet from vehicle.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s ability to deal with emergency vehicles and the rider’s ability to maintain control.

6.      BALLOONS/FLAGS/STREAMERS:

Remain under control while weaving through balloons, flags and streamers placed 10 feet apart.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s tolerance and the rider’s ability to maintain control.

Time:  1 minute

7.      FLARES:

Remain in control while walking through a 20 foot wide lane with 4 flares on one side and the arena fence on the other.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s tolerance and the rider’s ability to maintain control.

Time:  1 minute

8.      CHAIN SAW:

Remain in control while passing at a walk within 10 feet of an operating   chainsaw located at a stationary point.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s tolerance and the rider’s ability to  maintain control.

Time:  1 minute

9.      CROSS OBSTACLE:

Cross over an 18 inch high obstacle within three attempts.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s ability to clear a typically sized obstacle found on the trail.

Time:  2 minutes

 

 

10.   BACKING:

Back in a straight line for 10 feet within a four foot channel.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s ability to back out of a situation and for the rider to control the horse’s direction.

Time:  1 minute.

 

 

11.   SIDEPASSING:

Side pass 10 feet in a straight line in both directions.  The objective is to demonstrate control while moving sideways.

Time:  1 minute each direction

12.   WEIGHT DRAG:

Using a rope, the horse/rider team must dally and drag a horse trailer wheel and tire assembly (or similar object with similar weight) to a point 60 feet away and back.  The objective is to demonstrate control while dragging an object and using a rope.

 

 

 

13.   MOUNT/DISMOUNT BOTH SIDES:

Rider must mount and dismount the horse, un-aided and from flat ground on both sides of the horse while the horse remains under control.  The objective is to demonstrate the rider’s ability to mount un-aided in a terrain limiting situation and the horse’s tolerance of being mounted/dismounted from the off side.

Time:  2 minutes

14.   PICK UP EACH HOOF:

Raise and lower all four of the horse’s feet, one at a time, without resistance.  This demonstrates the horse’s tolerance while remaining under control. 

Time:  2 minutes

15.   LOAD AND CARRY SADDLEBAGS:

While untied, mount must remain under control while rider places saddlebags with approximately 25 pounds of distributed weight behind the saddle.  Rider must then mount and ride to a point 60 feet away and back with the pack on the animal.  The objective is to demonstrate the mount’s ability to carry the necessary supplies.

16.   DON/DOFF ARTICLE OF CLOTHING:

While mounted, remain in control while donning and doffing a rain type jacket/windbreaker.  Jacket will be handed to rider by a person on the ground and rider will return jacket to a person on the ground.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s tolerance and the rider’s ability to maintain control and balance. 

Time:  1 minute

17.   PONY LEAD/PONY LED:

The horse/rider team must lead another horse and rider by a lead rope for 60 feet (without the led rider using the reins).  The horse/rider team must be led by another horse/rider team using a lead rope for 60 feet (without the led rider using the reins).  The objective is to demonstrate the team’s ability to work with other teams in close proximity.

18.   FIRECRACKERS:

While mounted, the rider must maintain control of the horse while 3 firecrackers are ignited in rapid succession.  The horse/rider team must remain within a corridor 20 feet wide and 50 feet from the firecrackers.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s trust and the ability to deal with a startling noise and the rider’s ability to maintain control.

19.   GUNFIRE:

Same criteria as above (#19) while three gun shots are fired from a handgun.

20.   TRAILER LOAD/UNLOAD: 

Mount must be observed loading and unloading from an unfamiliar horse trailer.  Mount should load within one minute and unload within one minute.

Time:  1 minute for load, 1 minute for unload 

 

     

21.  FIVE MILE RIDE:      

This and the following four exercises will be completed during the 5 mile ride.  The objective of these exercises is to demonstrate control and trust while facing obstacles frequently encountered during call-outs. The entire five mile ride will include various degrees of terrain and everyone participating must remain with the group.  The entire ride must be completed in 2 ½ hours or less.                         

22.  CROSS WATER:


One mounted rider at a time shall ride across a stream or river and return while remaining under control.  The objective is to demonstrate the horse’s ability to cross water and leave the group.

23.  CROSS BRIDGE:

 

One mounted rider at a time shall ride over a bridge and return while remaining under control. 

 

 

24.  LEAVE THE GROUP:

Rider will maintain control while the horse/rider team leaves the group.  The rider will leave group at a lope.  If lack of terrain or vegetation prevents the rider from traveling out of sight, the rider will proceed a distance of approximately 100 yards from the group and return at a walk

25.  GROUND LEADING:

Riders will dismount and lead their mount a distance of ½ mile.