1) Must have written standard procedures for evaluation and removal of equines provides centers an unbiased tool for effective measurement of the abilities and suitability of all equines participating in center activities/therapies.
2) An equine’s satisfactory performance depends on being exercised regularly by experienced personnel who can effectively carry out the schooling and conditioning specific to the equine-assisted activity or therapy. Specific fears, sensitivities and vices of an equine should be addressed. Training and conditioning for a driving program should be done in a harness. It is understood that the quality of the results achieved in hippotherapy are directly related to the quality of movement of the hippotherapy equine. It is important to maintain the suppleness and strength of the hippotherapy equine through training and conditioning. In T-HPOT, due to increased stress, it is particularly important that the conditioning emphasize the elevation of the topline. The equine has to become gradually accustomed to the distribution of weight behind the center of gravity and desensitized to the input of the additional leg pressure near the flank.
3) An interactive vaulting equine is one that is obedient on the long-line and can maintain a circle while in balance at all of the gaits being requested. A progressive training and conditioning program is one that allows the equine to build skills based on previous training sessions. Strength and endurance must be developed over a period of time for the equine to become comfortable performing the work that is being asked. The equipment and activities used are specific to the discipline and require additional training to ensure safety.
4) Problems with sore feet, sore backs, sore sti es, etc., can affect an equine’s performance and disposition; changes in behavior may be the first clues that point to an underlying problem. The equine’s behavior and ability to work should be assessed prior to the participant’s involvement in the activity or therapy session. Equines with underlying soundness issues or other health problems that negatively impact their ability to work should be removed from activity or therapy sessions until their problems can be resolved.
5) A Some equines may not be conditioned sufficiently to maintain a schedule based on current recommendations for a specific activity or therapy and will need additional adjustments in scheduling. Centers may set any workday/continuous hour limit policy as long as it is implemented by the center and does not exceed the maximum. Centers may want to consider giving each equine a day off per week as working with participants may be stressful. Consideration should be given to the size and type of participant served when scheduling each equine.
6) A record should be kept of the number of hours and in what capacity each equine works, whether it is ground, mounted, driving, interactive vaulting, hippotherapy, tandem hippotherapy, psychotherapy sessions, etc. Many activities have additional scheduling recommendations that should be followed. The equine’s condition, attitude, pace, size and type of participant are factors to be considered when making scheduling decisions.
7) A working session is a period of continuous service without any lengthy breaks. As climate, equine conditioning and center activities/therapies vary considerably from center to center, each center should de ne “lengthy break” for themselves. The definition of “lengthy” does not need to be written, but center personnel should be consistent in their definition. A break for an equine would be time without tack or other equipment where the equine is not tied but allowed to move freely in a pen, stall, pasture or other area and has access to water.
8) Equines shall be provided with proper foot care including trimming and/or shoeing on a regular basis. Equines shall be health checked, vaccinated and de-wormed on a regular schedule. Teeth shall be inspected and floated as needed. Records should also be kept of any equine sickness or injury.
9) Written feed charts for each equine helps to ensure that equines receive proper daily rations. Feed charts should be easily accessible.
10) Must have plenty of water supply 24-7.
11) Shelters may include two- to four-sided loafing or run-in sheds with roof or natural shelter available in the geographic location of the center.