This unit of competency supports stablehands, foremen, trainers and others authorised to provide first aid and emergency care for horses.
Competencies attained in this unit apply to the harness and thoroughbred codes of the industry. Consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to the harness or thoroughbred code and statements of attainment will reflect this distinction.
This unit can be contextualised for other industries while also maintaining the integrity of the unit.
Elements and Performance Criteria
Recognise and report signs of ill health or injury in horses.
1. Temperature, pulse and respiration are measured and recorded .
2. Hydration levels and capillary refill are observed and reported .
3. Signs of common illnesses in horses are identified and reported.
4. Signs of shock in horses are identified and reported.
5. Signs of common injuries in horses are identified and reported.
Assess illnesses or injuries in horses.
6. Incident site is inspected and assessed prior to helping horses.
7. First aid policy and procedures with respect to obligations to owners, state regulations, stable policy and duty of care are followed.
8. Referral procedures for injury treatment and emergency care are followed.
9. Horses are calmed and restrained and risks are identified.
10. Threat to life of illness or injury is considered and plan of action is determined.
Apply basic first aid to horses.
11. Restraints are used to prevent further injury or to apply first aid to horses.
12. Wounds are cleaned and protected from further contamination or injury.
13. Swelling is controlled .
14. Bandages are applied for management of bleeding, swelling, wounds and possible fractures.
15. Horses are nursed to reduce impact of shock, distress and pain.
16. Horse behaviour and vital signs are monitored and observations recorded.
Respond to hoof and leg illnesses and injuries.
17. Feet and legs are inspected for signs of injury, soreness or foreign bodies .
18. Common injuries and ailments to hooves, feet and legs are identified.
19. Poultice is applied .
20. Condition and fit of horse shoes are assessed.
Assess health and fitness of horses.
21. Pre and post-race assessment of horse for injuries, distress, health and fitness is implemented.
22. Pharmaceutical or therapeutic treatments are applied under trainer or veterinary instructions and supervision.
23. Rules relating to prohibited substances and alternative treatments are known and applied.
applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
applying basic first aid to horses
applying quarantine control measures for isolation of sick horses and prevention of transference of disease by horses, other animals and humans
assessing vital signs of horses
assessing and responding to injuries in horses
calming and restraining horses
communicating with employer, supervisor, co-workers and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to providing horses with first aid and emergency care
evaluating risks associated with catching, handling and restraining horses
following instructions of supervisor
identifying behaviour of individual horses
identifying and correctly using different treatments under supervision
identifying common illnesses and injuries in horses
incorporating safe operating procedures into all instructions
providing assistance to others in the workplace
reporting horse irregularities to stable nominated person
reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including relevant rules of racing
relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
supporting others in handling and providing treatment to horses in the appropriate manner
using numeracy skills to measure vital signs
written communication skills to complete workplace documentation and reports.
basic industry terminology related to handling and treating horses
communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
common horse behaviour, social traits and vices
common illnesses and injuries in horses
disease control and reporting requirements
effective working relationships, including teamwork
handling techniques for horses
horse first aid
methods of restraining horses
racing industry animal welfare requirements
racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
relevant rules of racing
signs of shock in horses
signs of lameness in horses
types of treatments.
The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.
Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:
knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions that are to apply when providing first aid and emergency care for horses
implementation of procedures and timely techniques for the safe, effective and efficient provision of first aid and emergency care for horses
working with others to undertake and complete first aid and emergency care procedures that meet required outcomes.
Evidence should be collected over a period of time using a range of racehorses of different ages and sexes, and at different stages of preparation in racing stable and track environments.
Context of and specific resources for assessment
Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace that provides access to the required resources or simulated environment approved by the relevant State Principal Racing Authority. Assessment is to occur under standard and authorised work practices, safety requirements and environmental constraints. It is to comply with relevant regulatory requirements or Australian Standards requirements.
Assessment of the practical components of this unit will be by observation of relevant skills.
The following resources must be available:
a variety of harness or thoroughbred horses
materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to provide first aid and emergency care for horses
safe handling areas, such as racing stables, and training and racetracks
work instructions and related documentation.
Method of assessment
Assessment methods must satisfy the endorsed Assessment Guidelines of the Racing Training Package.
The suggested strategies for the assessment of this unit are:
written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
observed, documented and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
simulation exercises conducted in a State Principal Racing Authority approved simulated environment.
Evidence is required to be demonstrated over a period of time, therefore where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons.
Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:
RGRCMN201A Follow OHS procedures and observe environmental work practices.
Guidance information for assessment
Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).
The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.
The range statement provides details of how this competency can be used in the workplaces of the racing industry to provide first aid and emergency care for horses. Workplaces include harness and thoroughbred racing stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.
Measuring and recording may include:
measuring rectal temperature with mercury and digital thermometers
writing diary entries for temperature in degrees centigrade
measuring heart rate over 30 seconds, then calculating in beats per minute
writing diary entries for heart rate in beats per minute
measuring respiration in breaths per minute
writing diary entries for respiration in breaths per minute.
Hydration level reporting methods may include:
verbal and diary entry of observation of neck skin pinch rebound time measured in seconds
verbal and diary entry of observation of capillary refill time measured in seconds.
Common illnesses may include:
eye, nose and mouth disorders, including:
digestive disorders, including:
diarrhoea or scouring
exertional rhabdomyolosis (tying up)
knocked down hip
respiratory disorders, including:
exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH)
skin disorders, including:
Causes for shock may include:
loss of blood
traumatic accidents, for example hit by car.
Common injuries may include:
sprained ligaments or tendons
Incident site may be inspected and assessed to identify:
potential hazards for illness or injury of horses or people, including:
building or facility damage
crush or impact hazards
slip, trip or fall hazards
rescue equipment required, including:
rescue specialist assistance requirements:
animal health specialist services.
First aid policy and procedures may include:
administration of treatments
communication procedures when horses are treated
disease prevention and control
emergency phone numbers, for example veterinarian and fire department
procedure for recording treatments
procedure for recording and reporting vital signs
routine health checks
replenishing supplies of first aid kits
system of referral for injury treatment
staff access to first aid treatments and materials.
Reasons referral to a specialist may be necessary include:
have to be treated with race day or non-race day prohibited substances
have to be withdrawn from competition
require prescription medication
require stitching or specialist injury management or treatment
illness may be:
passed on to humans
illness or injury may be:
life threatening or have consequences to ongoing career of horse
result of neglect or non-compliance with duty of care.
Horses may be restrained using:
bit and head collar or bridle
Risks associated with handling horses may include:
Controlling risks associated with handling horses may include:
adhering to responsibilities under OHS legislation and workplace practices
adhering to responsibilities under national and state codes of practice; federal, state and territory legislation; and local government regulations covering animal welfare
considering variables that influence behaviour of horses, such as :
fences and equipment
other persons or animals
wind and noise
contributing to development of risk control measures
following safe operating procedures
identifying and reporting unsafe work practices
identifying emergency situations, for example:
horse getting loose
understanding individual horse behaviour
wearing personal protective equipment.
Basic first aid may include:
applying bandages for:
controlling bleeding and swelling
drawing out foreign bodies or pus
nursing sick, in pain or anxious horses
observing behaviour signs and symptoms of illness and injury
preventing where possible further injury or spread of disease
providing clean, warm or cool shelter out of inclement weather
quarantining sick horses
removing where possible cause of illness or injury
restraining an injured or cast horse to prevent further injury
taking and monitoring vital signs
treating swelling and inflammation.
First aid equipment may include:
antiseptic creams, lotions or sprays
bandages and wound dressings
infection control items
inflammation and swelling control items, including:
wound cleaning solutions.
Wounds are cleaned with consideration to:
options for treatment when animal is in pain or reluctant to stand still
possible requirement for stitching of wound
potential for infection
presence of foreign bodies or internal damage.
Swelling can be controlled by:
cold water therapy:
walking in cold water
icepacks using available sources, such as frozen peas or ice blocks
Nursing may include:
adjusting rugs to ensure adequate warmth
keeping horse quiet and calm
monitoring vital signs and behaviour regularly
sponging or hosing to lower temperature.
Signs of injury, soreness or foreign bodies in horse's feet may include:
distorted shape or angle of limbs
favouring a leg
irregular movement in some or all gaits
reluctance to allow leg or foot to be handled
reluctance to move
resting a foot
visible object in foot.
Types of injuries and ailments to hooves, feet and legs may include:
sole bruise and abscess
Application of poultice may include:
selecting drawing agent, including:
herbal or other treatments
applying protective covering, such as:
paper, plastic or other layers
adhesive bandages and bandage cover
Condition and fit of horse shoes would include:
shoes display even wear
shoe seated along hoof wall avoiding pressure on bars and sole
shoes firmly fitted to hoof, and nails tight enough to ensure shoe fit is stable
shoe removed if considered likely to cause further damage by:
identifying and describing function of shoeing tools required to remove a loose shoe
lifting and holding front and back legs in safe and appropriate position to remove shoe
removing shoe using personal protective equipment, appropriate tools and techniques by:
loosening and removing nail clenches
removing shoe with minimal damage to hoof wall
shoes shaped to fit hoof.
Pre and post-race assessment must include:
assessing vital signs
checking horse for illnesses and injuries
checking feed and water intake
checking manure quantity and quality
checking shoe wear and fit
horse's recovery rate
limb injuries or heat or swelling
shifting or sprung plates.
Pharmaceutical or therapeutic treatments may include:
antibiotics and other anti-infective agents
oral medications and pastes
ice and heat
Australian and local rules of racing of the state or territory regulatory racing body.
Prohibited substances include:
substances listed below as well as other items defined by racing regulatory authority from time to time, including:
general and local anaesthetics
vitamins administered by injection.
Harness and thoroughbred racing codes
This unit contains employability skills.
Refer to Unit Descriptor