In addition to learning how to safely ride and care for horses, Scouts who earn this merit badge will gain an understanding of the instincts and behaviors of horses and humane and effective methods for training horses.


  1. Do the following:
    1. Describe the safety precautions you should take when handling and caring for a horse.
    2. Explain and demonstrate how to approach and lead a horse safely from a stall, corral, or field and how to tie the horse securely.
    3. Demonstrate how to safely mount and ride a horse and how to safely dismount the horse after your ride.
  2. Name 15 main parts of a horse.
  3. Name four leading breeds of horses. Explain the special features for which each breed is known.
  4. Show how to care for a Western and English saddle and bridle. Name 10 parts of the saddle and bridle that you will use.
  5. Show how to groom, pick out hooves, prepare a horse for a ride, and care for a horse after a ride.
  6. Describe the symptoms of colic. Describe four other horse health problems.
  7. Name three main conformation faults of the feet and legs, and explain how to detect them. Explain the difference between lameness and unsoundness.
  8. Explain how to trim and shoe a horse's foot and how to make adjustments according to its conformation, the season of the year, and the riding conditions.
  9. Demonstrate the correct way to feed a horse. Explain how you determined what and how much to feed the horse and why the amount and kind of feed will be changed according to activity level and the kind of horse it is.
  10. Show how to properly saddle and bridle a horse.
  11. On level ground, continuously do the following movements. Do them correctly, at ease, and in harmony with the horse.
    1. Mount the horse.
    2. Walk the horse in a straight line for 60 feet.
    3. Make a half-circle of not more than 16 feet in radius.
    4. Trot or jog in a straight line for at least 60 feet.
    5. Make a half-circle of not more than 30 feet in radius at a jog or trot.
    6. Halt straight.
    7. Back up straight four paces.
    8. Halt and dismount.


Scouting Literature

Fieldbook; Animal Science, Mammal Study, and Veterinary Medicine merit badge pamphlets


  • Bennett-Talbot, Betty. Games on Horseback. Storey Books, 1999.
  • Edwards, Elwyn. The New Encyclopedia of the Horse. DK, 2001.
  • Haas, Jessie. Safe Horse, Safe Rider. Storey Books, 1994.
  • Harris, Susan. United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship: Basics for Beginners. Howell Book House, 1994.
  • Hayes, Karen. Hands-On Horse Care. Trafalgar Square Press, 1997.
  • Henderson, Carolyn. The New Book of Saddlery and Tack. Sterling, 2002.
  • Hill, Cherry. Horse Handling and Grooming. Storey Books, 1997.
  • Ramey, David. Concise Guide to Nutrition in the Horse. Hungry Minds, 1998.
  • Rodenas, Paul. Random House Book of Horses and Horsemanship. Random House, 1997.