Horsemanship Skills

January 2021 - Closing date 28th.
Please note that for first competition of the year -  the course/requirements/horsemanship skills
are the same for all the different classes and categories. Everybody starts from the same place.

The Horsemanship skills section is the "serious" part of the competition, here you are under the judges utmost scrutiny. This is where your opportunity to really showcase your partnership skills comes into play and where you can really bump up those scores.

So what is it we are looking for?

Relationship - Connection - Understanding. "Natural" Horsemanship Skills.

"Natural" as in natural to the equine and natural to you. 

We are not looking for a performance of certain techniques or training methods, we don't want to see your equine doing "tricks" That is not Horse Agility.

We want to see a natural connection resulting in natural understanding. This can only be achieved by working with and not against your equines most basic instincts.

Horses are naturally flight animals, "spooking" is an entirely natural behaviour. Help him replace fear with curiosity, let his world become a playground, allow him the time to fully investigate an obstacle, let him test it by sniffing and pawing it, encourage the curiosity and watch it turn into courage.

Horse Agility should not "desensitise" your equine, you want him to always be curious of the obstacles, looking at and touching them, familiarising himself with them, allow his own natural investigation and calculation to build his confidence and trust in you, and of what you are asking him to do - an equines trust is the ultimate gift - one to be respected and nurtured.

The judges perspective.
Relaxed calm halts, the equine standing quietly next to the handler without moving.
Handler leading position, side changes and moving in front of equine, fluent and calm.
The walk should be active but not hurried.
The centre point must be directly under the equines belly in halt.
The quarter turns should be as small as possible - the hindquarters describing a smaller circle than the forehand with as little forward drift as possible.
The back up 4 steps should not be hurried or forced.
In the synchronised walk the handler's and equine's step should mirror one another. If the handler takes long slow strides the equine should lengthen his stride - if the handler takes small slow strides the equine must shorten his stride.
The halt and wait at the poles should be calm and relaxed the equine must show immobility. The "smile in the rope" is a lengthening of the rope with a "give" towards the equine. The "invite" to the equine to step across should be a clear visible
ask by the handler.
At all times the judge is looking for connection and understanding.

Awarding The Partnership - Not The Performance

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