With the start of the new spring semester here at St. Andrews, we are pleased to see the new students in the stable management lab here at the barns. The first class meeting was a nice chilly 30 degree day. The students were assigned their horses for the semester and participated in a silly ice breaker that involved many laughs and creative descriptions of common horse items such as a side rein (or dog lease/belt/miniature pony lead rope/etc) and a grazing muzzle (spaghetti strainer).
The second class meeting was met with slightly warmer weather. The students were able to work with their horses during the class for the first time! The instructors set up a mini obstacle course with four obstacles to take their horses through: weaving the horse through a few cones, walking their horse to a stall and backing them in, jogging in an arc to a mounting block, and then finally walking to a gate, opening the gate, walking through, and closing the gate when they were finished. Many laughs, and sighs of frustration, were had when some of the horses refused to be backed into the stalls. The same feelings were felt again when some of the horses refused to stand at the mounting blocks, pointedly telling us that they did not want to be ridden at that point in time. It was a successful exercise and also told the students how well, or not so well, their horses stood in one spot waiting for their turn.
The students have also learned a lot about the feeding that goes on at the barns. They discussed in length the different types of hay that are fed and why the horses receive what they do. They also learned about the different types of feed that are available, the nutritional value of some of them, and how different mashes are mixed for feeding. They were also taught how to clean the sheath of their gelding, and spent part of a class period doing that. They will get to spend many hours working with their horses and caring for them throughout the semester.
by Shannon Hahn