Blue Level HorseSense Study Guide - PDF


The fourth Learning Levels HorseSense guide for unmounted equine instruction. REVISED FOR 2020!

Blue Level students are ready to broaden their understanding of topics learned in Red – Green Levels, adding details that will help them become knowledgeable and responsible horsey caretakers. Quite often this is the point where students begin to understand just how much there is to learn about keeping horses safe and healthy!

With the help of this guide and some hands-on instruction, students will be able to perform thorough grooming; to understand action of bits and specialty tack; to identify farrier tools; to understand principles of horse gaits and movement, basic first aid and parasite control, and safe longeing and trailering practices.

We recommend that all of our students who plan to own or lease a horse consider Blue Level the minimum requirement. This criteria applies even if they don’t keep the horse at home, because it takes at least this much knowledge to evaluate whether your horse is being cared for properly in a boarding facility. For students who will be the sole caretakers for their horses, Blue Level should be the starting point of their ongoing equine education!

Download file = 9.6 MB

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Tips for Printing and Using this PDF File

This PDF file is formatted for full color two-sided desktop printing on 8.5 x 11” paper, with an 0.75″ inside margin suitable for loose-leaf binders.

Make sure your printer software is not set to “shrink to fit”!

Print the cover page separately on white card stock.

To create a booklet suitable for a 3-ring binder, print the remaining pages using duplex printing (on both sides of the paper) and a hole-punch.  For best results, we suggest using 24-lb bright white paper stock. Thinner copy paper may not work well for two-sided printing.

You could also just print single pages as needed, or view the file online in your browser.


Pro Tip: Download our helpful Printing Tips for Study Guides for step-by-step instructions.

50 pages – 9.6 MB

What will students learn?

Learning Levels Topics covered in this resource:

bandaging, conformation, gaits and movement, grooming, ground handling, hoof care, mounted safety, parasite control, pony parts and anatomy, tack, trailer safety, unsoundnesses, vet and health care

Students will learn these horsey skills and concepts:

  • Groom a horse to turnout inspection quality (no braiding necessary).
  • Perform a safety check on a younger rider under supervision.
  • Know how to adjust different types of tack, including:
    • Martingales
    • Auxilary nosebands
    • Breastplates
    • Curb chain
    • Western cinch
  • Identify different types of bits, to include both snaffle and leverage bits.
  • Apply a polo wrap and discuss its purpose.
  • Know how the following injuries are treated: stone bruise, laceration, puncture wound, abscess, swollen tendon, injured eye.
  • Discuss life cycle and prevention of internal and external parasites.
  • Know names and functions of farrier tools used in trimming and shoeing.
  • Know basic horse movement, to include number of beats in each gait, footfall pattern, faulty movement, and methods of detecting unsoundness.
  • Discuss what conformation is and why it is important, to include basic faults of the leg, back, shoulder, neck and head.
  • Name and locate five unsoundnesses.
  • Perform a pre-trip safety check on a truck or trailer.
  • Safely load and unload a quiet horse, with assistance.
  • Discuss reasons for longeing, safe longeing practices and equipment. Demonstrate how to hold and give aids with a line and whip.

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We have been blessed with many talented photographers over the years: students who voluntarily stood out in a sweltering/ freezing arena – or slogged up and down our hilly pastures – capturing lifelong memories of camps, clinics, and shows. We’re grateful to all of them!

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