Maplewood Hosts Popular First Responders Clinic

 First responders learned how to safely load a horse into a trailer.

First responders learned how to safely load a horse into a trailer.

Maplewood Stables hosted a successful fall First Responders Horse Handling & Safety Clinic on Sunday, November 26. More than 30 people attended the bi-annual event, where new participants learned the basics of horse handling and those more experienced practiced new skills.

The clinic was led by Maplewood's owner/operator Julie Winkel and her assistant trainers and Horse Industry Training Program students.  

"We believe continuing these First Responders Clinics is vitally important for the community," said Winkel. "Our goal is to assist our local firefighters, police officers and other first responders and help them learn how to properly halter, lead and load horses into trailers."

Attendees observed and helped to load a horse into a trailer, haltered horses in their stalls, led them out and then walked them into the indoor arena, As a grand finale, those interested were invited to participate in a fun "Team Penning" competition, where teams of three people were asked to herd a group of four horses into a corral in the most efficient manner.

 Julie Winkel explains how to read a horse's body language and to safely approach and confidently halter a horse.

Julie Winkel explains how to read a horse's body language and to safely approach and confidently halter a horse.

"This was a particularly challenging task because there were four horses and just two halters," explained Winkel. "But team members were able to use their belts or other means to catch the horses if they needed. Sometimes in emergency situations you'll face similar challenges—having more horses to catch than halters or lead ropes, for example. This is a real-world situation, and you have to think outside the box."

In the end, each team was successfully able to maneuver the horses into the corral, with times ranging from eight minutes to just over two minutes for the more experienced handlers.

 Clinic attendees participated in a fun "Team Penning" competition to test their horse handling skills.

Clinic attendees participated in a fun "Team Penning" competition to test their horse handling skills.

"This exercise also gave observers the opportunity to watch the horses and their body language as the teams worked with them, and in the end they were better able to understand the best ways to approach horses for their cooperation," added Winkel. "This is something that we'll continue in future clinics, and I hope to expand this Team Penning competition into a larger field so participants will be comfortable catching and handling horses in the barn as well as outside."

Please enjoy the gallery of images from the day and mark your calendars for the spring First Responders Horse Handling & Safety Clinic, to be held on April 16! 

For more information about Maplewood Stables, other educational clinics and riding lessons, please contact us: (775) 849-1849 or email: mwstables@aol.com.

Tricia BookerComment