Horsemanship Skills

February 3rd  -  28th closing date
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.
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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.
The walk should be active but not hurried.
The centre point must be directly under the equines belly in halt. Do not worry about standing directly over the marker, either side is fine, as long as the marker is in line with the equines belly.
The first weave must be entered through the off side shoulder.
The step away must be obvious to see - 2 steps.
The presentation of the flag to the equine should sympathetic to the equines reaction.
The anti clock wise turn should remain close to the cone, without drifting. the leading position should be adjusted accordingly.
The second weave between 3 and 4 is entered through the near side shoulder.
The equine should remain standing calmly while the figure of eight is performed, he should show interest but not an adverse reaction.
At all times the judge is looking for connection and understanding.

Awarding The Partnership - Not The Performance

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