Sarah brought Jazmine along to the fields to use our Horse Agility obstacles and to get some tips of teaching her new things. I am sure she won't mind me sharing the key points.
It's a Mark Rashid saying that horses, like water, will always find the easiest course. In Jaz's case, although she would put her front feet on the bridge, really couldn't see the point in going all the way along it when you could just as easily walk on the ground at the side. By putting half barrells along the side of it we were able to show her that the bridge was now the path through it. After that we could take them away again.
The fly fringe, particularly on a blustery day, is quite a daunting obstacle. To make this incremental you can circle it, look at it, and then hold onto the strips (or tie them up) so that they are less flappy. Then, by walking between the horse and 'the thing' you can help them to feel safe. With the wind blowing the fringes to the right, Sarah needed to be on the right in order to do this.
Easy for a horse to catch her feet on the bottom pipe of the hoop. Most of our obstacles are come apart easily so that they can be built up gradually. The two pipes are connected by a frangible coupling. The bottom pipe can be lifted up incrementally. Best tip: Really important not to turn to look at her as she goes through otherwise you will stop the back feet and cause them to touch the obstacle.
Sarah brought along her very accomplished riding friend, Jess Johnson, who took Jaz out for her first ride away from home. We asked her to cross her own tracks, work independently of the people on the ground, and she also had a lovely trot up all the hills. Now based in Nottinghamshire, Jess is a freelance rider and university student.
"Thank you so so much for today. It was excellent." SBThis afternoon we were due to long rein Jasmine again before taking her out. She seemed very calm and therefore I passed the reins over to her owner but rather too soon. Asked to work away from the comfort of the fence-line, she got upset, bucked and turned round in the reins before carting off at a canter.
In the face of a small disaster it's good if you can carry on as if nothing has happened, taking steps to try to ensure that it doesn't happen for a second time. Accordingly I re-took the reins and kept to the fence-line for a while...
...allowing me to turn her towards the fence a little if she started to push through the reins.
Note also that we have a breast girth on so that if the surcingle becomes loose as she sucks in her tummy it won't slip back and become a bucking strap.
When turning away from the fence-line again, we had a small task to keep her occupied and to encourage her to lower her head.
She was soon calm enough to go out for her first long rein out. However, we stuck to the enclosed lane with it's comforting sides and I had her on the lead rein to begin with.
Later she came off the lead rein but I stayed close enough to put a steadying hand on the long reins if I needed to.
Back at home she was ridden briefly in her saddle.
Nothing to forgive...
On our way back to Fritham we met more horses...