Every good horse trainer today will agree how important ground work is with your horse. From training a weanling to solving problems you may be having while riding, the answer is always to go back to ground work. The problem is a lot of horse owners don’t enjoy doing the ground work part. Oh they will go to clinics and get their adrenaline going. They buy the special halters and other equipment and head home with good intentions. A few months later the stuff is collecting dust and finally ends up in the tag sale box.
When I discovered Horse Agility I discovered one of the best training methods there is for horse and handler. First; IT IS SO MUCH FUN! I own a Leopard Appaloosa; a senior Haflinger, a Miniature Horse and a Mini Mule. All four can’t wait to come out and “play”. It keeps them focused, interested and happy. Both horse and handler are constantly learning. Any horse and any handler of any size and any age can do agility. There are also courses for horses or handlers with physical limitations or disabilities.
In agility the horse and handler learn to COMMUNICATE with each other to accomplish a task asked involving an obstacle. Some examples of obstacles are: a hula hoop, maze of poles, curtain of streamers etc. The task asked is always changing so the horse is constantly looking to you – his leader – for instructions. As the task gets harder, the communication between horse and handler is put to the test. A horse is a herd animal. They look to their herd leader to guide them. Agility helps develop that relationship between the horse and owner. Your horse learns to be trusting, doing what is asked with respect and willingness.
For horses with trust issues that are fearful or have been abused, the results from agility is amazing. For saddle horses equally so. When you sit in the saddle your horse is saying, “Okay what would you like me to do?” For horses that can’t be ridden or for the “Littles” (that is what we call our miniatures) agility is just plain FUN. Two years ago I could not get within 20 feet of “Maggie Mulie” . She has just won the 2017 World Championship and North American Championship in agility in her division. Her transformation from fearful and disrespectful ,to playful, focused and trusting is amazing!
In Agility we have different options to work with. “On Lead” is working with your horse in a halter and lead. “Liberty” is without the use of halter and lead. And “Equagility” is a combination of ground work through the obstacles, followed by riding through them. In all classes the handler and horse communicate with no physical force. In “On Lead” you may hold the lead but it must stay slack. You cannot pull or turn the horse with it. The horse must willingly do everything on his own; taking a cue from you. If you are saying, “Oh my horses could never do that!” then I would go back and read the last paragraph again on “Mulie”!
I am a “HAAT” (Horse Agility Accredited Trainer) through the “International Horse Agility Club”. The International Horse Agility Club was founded in Great Britain by Vanessa Bee; a trainer that specializes in building relationships between the horse and rider from the ground up. With over 1,600 members from all over the world, the club enables horse owners to learn and compete with their horse from their own home.
HORSE AGILITY PROGRAM OUTLINE
1. Introduction to Agility
What we do and why.
What equipment is used and what is not.
3. Why isn’t your Horse doing what you ask?
The six main reasons why; and how agility can change that.
4. Human Behavior
Your job and what you can do!
5. Different Types of Rewards
The four rewards we use in Agility to help encourage and communicate with your horse.
Practicing body language, voice commands, and cuing on the lead.
7. The Obstacles
Learning the different obstacles and accomplishing them with your horse.
8. Agility Courses
Agility courses begin at a starter level and work their way up. Horses and/or handlers that are compromised can work in the “Walk Only” course.
Please contact me if you and your friends would like to start a Horse Agility Program. It is rewarding and so much FUN!!!. That is what my programs are all about; having fun with your horse in different ways. As a “HAAT” trainer I can organize Clinics, Fun Days, Training Days and Competitions through the International Agility Club should you be interested. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Thank You very much;
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