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Groom Squad

The purpose of Groom Squad is to teach proper use of grooming tools, teach correct grooming procedures, encourage good teamwork, and to provide a fun activity. It also provides an area of competition, which includes 4-H members in the horse project who do not yet have their own horse.


 Each Team should have a minimum of:
Two curry combs (rubber, plastic or metal)
Two body brushes (hard bristles)
One dandy brush (soft bristles)
Mane and tail comb or brush
Grooming cloth or rags
Hoof pick
One bucket (3-gallon size or larger)
Show halter(s)
Shedding blade
 Not allowed:
Commercial cleaning or grooming products
Razor blades or any item containing any type of razor blades
Electrical equipment
 Teams are to consist of three (3) 4-H members.
Mixed teams – Any combination of grades three through 12 (or through age 18).
Senior Teams – All three members must be Senior 4-H age.
Novice Teams – Same as Mixed with the stipulation that none of the three members has ever previously competed in a 4-H Groom Squad Competition.
 Team members need not be from the same 4-H club. 
 Each competition may offer only Mixed Teams Division or Mixed Teams together with either or both of the others.
 Fair Groom Squad Competition for Senior Teams will determine the Team that will represent Snohomish County at the State Groom Squad Contest.
 Each Team must provide one gentle, ungroomed, untrimmed horse or pony, with feet in good shape. 
 This horse or pony will be used by another team.
 Each animal must be accompanied by a Release Form signed by the owner. (If an All Senior Division is offered, Senior Teams should make an effort to provide a horse).
 An animal found to have lice will:
Disqualify the team providing it if found before judging begins.
Lose 10 points for the team providing it if found after judging begins.
 Register team.
 Take horse into arena and follow directions as to where to tie it.
 One member of Team must take the written quiz. Another Team member should get the three gallons of water and the third member can be organizing the work area at the Team number.
 Equipment will be judged either before or during grooming time. Follow directions given.
 When judging begins, Teams will have 30 minutes to trim and groom horse.
 After grooming, 15 minutes is allowed for one member to practice showing the horse in a Showmanship Class (i.e., set-up, trotting, etc.).
 One Team member will then show the horse in the Showmanship Class.
 Showmanship and final grooming are to be judged at the same time. This member is not to leave the arena to change clothes, so must come prepared.
Basis of Judging
Safety: 25 points possible
 Check to see that horse is tied with safety knot (manger knot).
 Never use curry combs or shedding blade on head or legs below knees or hocks.
 Never stand or work in Danger Zones directly in front of, or behind, horse.
 When trimming or grooming legs, squat down so you can move quickly away if horse moves. NEVER KNEEL OR SIT. 
 Never have all Team members squatting at the same time 
 Each Team member must wear boots. (Style whether Western or English is optional). 
 Work quietly. Any abuse or harsh treatment of the horse may result in disqualification of the Team. 
 When crossing behind horse, either cross out of ranges of hind legs or pass close with a hand on horse.
 Avoid ducking under the lead rope. 
Teamwork: 15 points possible
 Space out to work. Never cluster around one area or side. 
 Be pleasant to fellow Team members.
 Do not talk with friends or parents in audience or other Teams. Excessive talking within Team may be marked down.
Grooming: 20 points possible
 Trim ears, bridle path, whiskers, jaw line, legs, fetlocks, pastern and coronet bands.
 Cut the bridle path only 1” long or as long as previously trimmed.
 Do not cut, trim or thin forelock, mane or tail.
 Do cut any hair or lashes around eyes.
 Use scissors pointing up on ears and away from horse when possible in other areas.
 Use tools in correct sequence on the body:
 Curry combs
 Hard brushes
 Soft brushes
 Use tools correctly
 Curry combs – Use in a circular motion to lift dirt, flicking motion to remove dirt. Never use on head or legs below knees or hocks or, on mane or tail. 
 Brushes – Use short, brisk, flipping motion to remove dirt. 
 Rags – For use on head and finishing touches on coat. 
 Mane and Tail comb or brush – Start brushing at bottom of hair and work up toward roots. Never start at the top. 
 Hoof Pick – Use on hooves from heel to toe to remove dirt and rocks. 
 Shedding Blade (not required) – NEVER USE ON HEAD OR LEGS. Use briskly but be gentle where skin is close to bone (withers, backbone, shoulders, etc.).
    Final Grooming: – Judged at same time as Showmanship.
 Judged on how well trimmed and groomed the horse appears as a result of the Team’s effort.
Quiz: 20 points possible
 Written quiz is taken from the 4-H publication Horses and Horsemanship for Mixed and Novice Teams. 
 Both Horses and Horsemanship and Horse Science are resources for the quiz for all Senior Teams. 
Showmanship: 15 points possible
 See Showmanship rules for showmanship suggestions.
 Judged on presentation of the horse to the Judge.
Equipment: 5 points possible
 Should have at least the minimum equipment. There is no limit to the amount of equipment allowed, but extra equipment will not necessarily receive more points. 
 All equipment should be clean and in good, useable condition. 
 Once equipment has been judged, do not borrow from or lend equipment to other teams.
Total points possible: 100 points