Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Horses Help Teach Our Volunteers Some Lessons About Safety

We want to thank Dutch, Fancy, Angel, Olive, Raz, and Flora - six "dedicated volunteers" who assisted HRHR volunteer and trainer Heather Snow-Flamer and board member Thommie Haskins in teaching our "Safety on the Ground" clinic for our volunteers.

The clinic was designed to teach volunteers the following skills:
  1. safe horse handling skills on the ground and working in-hand
  2. a safe and complete grooming protocol
  3. how to tie two kinds of quick release knots and how to use the Blocher Tie Ring to safely tie horses
  4. hand walking a horse through an unpredictable environment

Heather Snow-Flamer demonstrated how to safely enter a horse's space, halter, and lead.

One of our volunteers shows perfect form, combining focus and intention to lead her . . . ah, well . . . first we had to practice on two legged volunteers before graduating to the four legged assistants.

Angel helped Christy practice her haltering skills.

Thommie and 14 year old Dutch watch volunteers practice their newly learned grooming skills.

Raz is a Trakehner gelding who was slaughter bound before being rescued by HRHR board member Becky McBain. He decided that the grooming part of the clinic was definitely his favorite.

Carey and Amy work on Dutch.

Volunteers learned how to tie a quick release knot.

While ever-patient, Angel let us know that she is really tired of teaching volunteers year after year and longs for a home of her own.

We are fortunate to have donated facilities at Redwood Acres Fairground. The final skill set of the day focused on leading a horse through an unpredictable environment.

Flora, Marie, Sarah, and Heather make the return loop, nearing the end of the clinic.
Our volunteers and horses may encounter race cars, a carnival, BMX riders, or 4-H pigs. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected.

Board member Kira Hawk shows how to "helicoptor" the lead rope to define a preferred space when a horse is rushing when being led.

Part of the mission of Heart of the Redwoods Horse Rescue is to provide education for humans working with horses to increase the safety of both and strengthen the equine/human partnership. Our volunteers start with different levels of experience and knowledge of working with equines. This Saturday clinic provided an opportunity for us to learn together while enjoying one another's company.