Spirit and I have been getting our online communication better and better by working on the 3F basics (Familiarisation, Feel, Focus techniques of HorseSavvy) for 3 1/2 months he’s been with us now. I love it when the ABC’s we started with become more sentences and then paragraphs of connection through communication. Today we started getting more of that connection by using the 3F techniques with more fluidity and using obstacles which helps in using the ‘games’ for a ‘purpose’.
Lots of fun can be had doing Agility with your horse. I find it helps with communication spook busting, finding a smooth connection, transitions and having fun, which is the most important thing.
This month I put just a few simple things together for a 9 obstacle course and did it at liberty then with long reins and finally ridden, you can start this online if your starting out and there are many ways to keep these 9 obstacles interesting, here are some ideas:
~ Online ~ at Liberty ~ Long Rein ~ Ridden bitless ~ Ridden with neck rein/cordeo ~ done in walk, trot or canter ~ done in obstacle order or in reverse order ~ juggle the order about ~ Choose to do completely different things with each obstacle ~
Beginners: start online in walk then trot
Intermediates: go to neck rope in walk or trot
Advanced: work at liberty in walk, trot or canter
Fun: try riding it (w/t/c)
Front feet & back feet in hulahoops (or walk over)
Trot over poles on tarp
Trot/canter through scary corridor
Trot through weave pattern
Transitions through narrow corridor (walk in/halt/backup/trot out)
Walk/trot over bottle bank
Walk/trot fig 8
Walk/trot through curtain
Trot through arch or jump hoop jump
Sidepass over or near an obstacle
Walk through water feature
Ground tie (immobility/halt) and extreme familiarisation with objects around horse
Liberty with Solly
Ridden with Solly
Try and test all the obstacles to make sure you and your horse know what to do at each one, make sure you reward for the slightest try and as you advance you do more with each obstacle, either stay longer, transitions or all at a higher gait throughout.
Once you know what to do with each obstacle then put them together as smoothly as possible as a course (if online then keeping a ‘smile’ in the rope as much as you can).
Set it up the best way for your area so it doesn’t need to be in this order or this shape.
Do not push your horse through or over things, accept what he gives you and teach him more as you go along. Repeat as often as you can for a horse that is a slow learner and make sure you mix it up often for a horse that gets bored quickly.
Remember it’s supposed to be fun….for you AND your horse 🙂