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Liberty Challenge 3

See if you can challenge yourself and your horse to trot as much as possible through this course and see if you can stay on your horses right side.

1) Back horse between two obstacles like barrels. (Make obstacles wider apart and low for horses new to these challenges. For newbies also you could come forward and then back through two obstacles. For those that are good at liberty set your barrels upright and close together)

2) Trot over a bottle bank. (A bottle bank is a small or large area set upwith 4 poles made into a square. Put as many, or as few if new to this, flattened plastic bottles as you can into that area. As you progress you can fill it up a LOT…for newbies walk through this or if your horse is frightened then YOU walk through it and horse around it…remember it makes quite a noise to get used to! Build it up over the month to where you can walk or trot horse through bank)

3) Trot tight weave – handler to stay on one side of the cones, horse to weave. (Place cones or obstacles about 4-5 paces apart, 4-6 obstacles if possible. If new to this then walk you and your horse through the pattern. If good at liberty then trot through them and make it slightly harder than the normal wider apart obstacles but don’t make it impossible for your horse to achieve some success with this..again build up the level of weave during the month)

4) Trot horse between two flags – handler to walk outside obstacles. (For newbies just ask your horse to walk through the flags and make flags a big distance apart. For those who are good at liberty challenge you and your horse to trot through flags only 1 large pace apart)

5) Trot fig 8. (Horse to do the fig 8, handler to stand just outside the pattern. For newbies you may want to walk the fig 8 with your horse by your side first and build it up gradually)

6) Familiarisation with small tarp. (Horse to stand still whilst you play with small tarp around and on horse…start small and open up as you go. For newbies you may want to use just a small plastic bag)

7) Transitions: walk/trot/halt/backup/walk/trot/halt/backup (Looking for sharp connection in the up and downward trans, using breath in to go, breath out to halt. Newbies don’t have to do backup or trot but try it all month to see if you can get another transition in your repetoire)

8) Carry two pillowcases for 10′ in walk or trot. (Have two pillowcases or sacks or plastic bags if your horse is not frightened by them, fill them with something soft like scrunched up newespaper, hay, straw or even old teddy bears, tie them at the tops and tie them together so that there is a cord or rope between them so that they can go over the horses back safely. For newbies make sure your horse is happy with the unfamiliar item, play with it a LOT before trying it at walk, keep your hand on the bag nearest you so that you can take it off if necessary)

9) 2 or 4 feet on a pedestal. (If no pedestal just put something strange or unusual for the horse to put 2 or 4 feet on, not a tarp though, something like an old carpet, old towel, piece of flat wood, rubber mat etc?)

10) Off pedestal and ask horse to stand still whilst you skip around him/her. (You can keep one hand on horse whilst gently walking around him, you can trot around him or you can skip, whatever you and your horses level)

Always remember to have FUN with these challenges

  • Shelley – Horsesavvy

LC3

 

 

 

 

Liberty Challenge 2

There is a lot of scope for changing, rearranging things as you want them but make sure whatever you do is within your horses scope for now and we’ll build on things as we go to incorporate more familiarisation with strange things and higher gaits.

It can be done in walk or trot or a combination of both…build things up slowly and keep your horses confidence. Also if you’ve not done any liberty yet or are having teething problems there is nothing wrong with practicing online to help you and your horse. Try to keep the horse with a slight ‘smile’ in the rope (ie. not tight but not too loose) and have the horse beside you so you are more shoulder to shoulder…not behind you.

1) 2 front feet into a hulahoop. (it could also be a bicycle tyre or a , the aim is to help confidence putting feet into things)

2) Weave around 4-6 cones, this month try to stay one side yourself and ask your horse to weave in and out

3) Horse walk through ‘L’ pole shape (stay out of the shape yourself, give the L lane all to your horse)

4) Small jump (doesn’t have to be big, if horse is confident you can make it bigger, if horse unconifident just stepping over it is good)

5) Walk through a ‘Scary Corner’ (make the corner up with posts and bunting or plastic bags flapping..anything that could be scary to a horse…now, if you’ve not done this before just put up a couple of things into the corner and walk by it or squeeze by it. If your horse has done this before then put up two ‘lanes’ of bunting or plastic bags and ask the horse to walk through it with you on the OUTSIDE. Not until your horse is truly confident, calm and happy about scary plastic things, flags, banners etc should you go in before the horse. Keep safe with this one and stay out of being in front of the horse until you are very good at this!)

6) Transitions: walk a straight line doing transitions: walk/halt/walk/halt/walk/halt…as many as you want or can. Keep confidence and relaxation throughout and a tip to use your breathing for these transitions. Big breath in and go, big breath out and halt.

7) Familiarisation with a flag. Either on a safe, short stick or free flowing in your hands (you can use a flag, towel, sheet, whatever you have available). With a horse new to this make the flag small and rub him/her all over. When more confident try opening it up and draping it over the horses back, neck, head. If very confident and horse is calm and relaxed then flap it all around the horse and you can move around too. See how much you can do, this is one of those things where you can start small and build up over weeks to where horse will stand still whilst you walk around it waving the flag!)

8) Sidepass along a fence line. Go slowly with this, go online if it’s hard at liberty. Do a few steps to start and more when confident.

9) Tarp: walk onto the tarp, halt in the centre for 5 seconds and then walk off.

10) Pick up feet one at a time. Either walk around the horse picking up one at a time or if more confident can you pick up the feet from one side!

Have fun with the challenges, build up each one individually and then string them together more and more until you can do it with true confidence.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

LC2

 

 

Liberty Challenge 1

A challenge you can do with your horse at liberty but also online or even ridden.

These challenges are not about being perfect but about getting ‘Connected’ to your horse and about learning new things by taking yourself and your horse out of your comfort zones a bit on maybe one or two tasks each month. None of the tasks has to be done in this order or even with these items, (ie. if you don’t have cones, use polypoles, or tyres or anything you have as markers) do what you can for you and your horse and later push yourselves a bit to progress. With this I mean that if your horse is frightened of a particular thing then do something you horse can do to start with to help with confidence but make things harder as you and your horse get more confident with things.

SO, if your horse is worried about going over a jump then just walk over a pole on the ground. If your horse is worried about a hulahoop then see if he can put his foot/feet into a box made from 4 small poles. If your horse is worried about tarpaulins then try asking him to go over something not so worrying like a piece of carpet. Use your imagination but also use your common sense and never push a horse into or over anything they are worried about. Use approach and retreat to help your horse find confidence to do the tasks you ask over the month,

Try to set up all the obstacles/tasks so that they flow nicely from one to the next either in a circle or a fig 8 shape.

Ultimately and hopefully you will graduate to doing these things at liberty and maybe liberty ridden too. Remember it’s about having FUN and that means fun for you and YOUR HORSE. Enjoy

 

LIBERTY CHALLENGE 1 – (in walk with horse on your right) 

1) Walk a circle together to the left in walk

2) Walk a circle together to the right in walk

3) Halt for 5 seconds

4) Walk through a narrow gap of two poles, handler on the outside

5) Weave through 4 cones together

6) 1 or 2 feet in a hulahoop…you choose which feet

7) Small jump together (either jump with horse or walk alongside outside of jump)

8) Walk over a tarp

9) Walk over a pole without hitting it

10) Halt and back up so that horses back feet are at or very near pole you just walked over

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


LC1

 

 

 

For anyone interested in Competing in Horse Agility then there is the International Horse Agility Club and you can compete from home using video’s. Check out the website here: http://www.thehorseagilityclub.com/online-horse-agility/