"TRAIN WITH OBTACLES?"
train with obstacles? My horse and I do dressage, why would I need
obstacle training? My horse and I aren’t ready for obstacles;
he’s too green. I have a 3 year old; can he do obstacle training?
I hear all sorts of questions around obstacle training. It seems
a little misunderstood at times. Let me try to explain the
purpose, applicability, and advantages.
times have you gone out for a ride and your horse acts frightened of
something you think is nothing? Let’s say you walk your horse out
of the barn and there’s a plastic bag blowing on the ground that wasn’t
there the day before. What does your horse do? Many times
they’re afraid and their instinctual flight response kicks in.
Horses have this 6th sense that tells them to run before the monster
eats them. Obstacle training can help your horse develop trust in
you over time instead of listening to their flight response.
of the beauties of obstacle training is that you can start it from the
day your horse is born. Calmly rubbing your newborn foal with a towel
or your hand is part of obstacle training! Building on that
foundation with incremental steps over the course of the horse’s life
forms a bond like no other.
So you may say your discipline is dressage, reining, eventing,
pleasure…. Regardless, everyone wants a safe, calm, willing, and
controlled horse irrespective of discipline. For example, when that
dressage horse enters the ring at letter A, if he is fearful of the
judge’s stand at the other end of the arena at letter C or the child
with the balloon attached to his stroller on the rail, it’s unlikely
he’ll make a straight line in his pattern. When your horse’s
focus is not on you, it doesn’t matter what discipline you ride, the
effect will be the same. Or how about the young horse whose rider
says they’re not ready. The level of the obstacle has to start at
the basic foundation and build up. It’s the young horse that
benefits greatly by starting at this fundamental level. Applying
the strategies and methods we teach from our experience in the mounted
police traverses all disciplines and age to help the horse understand
they are safe when they trust you.
Obstacle training can increase your horse’s focus and attention. The
advantages are numerous. Not only do you get a calmer horse, but
a more confident, happy horse that can focus longer on your
requests. This may seem like a tall order, but if the obstacle
training is developed correctly, the results can be impressive.
Every horse can take baby steps towards building their trust with
obstacle training. There are also fun challenges in obstacle
training. Your imagination is the only limitation. Well
thought-out, safe, creative obstacles have revived bored, spoiled
horses, as well as inspired their riders. Obstacle training, when
correctly applied, can provide exponential dividends in the partnership
of the horse and rider team!
I’ve seen many a skittish horse over the years in my teaching and every
single one has individually improved if the rider is receptive to this
training. ‘The slower you go, the faster you’ll get there’ is an
age-old horse-training concept. Obstacle training can be the
enhancement to your riding to create that perfect accompaniment to your
equestrian program. There are also lots of emerging sports
evolving from obstacle fun! Whatever they’re called - Trail Trial,
Trial Challenge, Versatility Challenge, Obstacle Challenge, Cowboy
Challenge, Cowboy Race, Trail Rally, Judged Trail Ride, Versatile Horse
& Rider, etc. – they’re fun to test your new found skills of
obstacle horsemanship! After all, having fun is hopefully what it’s all
about! Enjoy your obstacle training!
Dove Farm provides training Mounted Police Style to the general
equestrian public. We encourage partnership, communication, and
exceptional trust. We are National Mounted Police and Toronto Police
Services Certified; as well as have multiple international Police
Equestrian Championships and NYS Police Equestrian Games Gold Medals.
Contact Joann Long at JKLong@rochester.rr.com or 585-738-7477 for
training opportunities. Let us know if you would be interested in lessons at our farm in Bloomfield, NY!
Happy and safe travels!
Joann K Long
Wheeler Station Rd.
Phone: (585) 738-7477
Bloomfield, NY 14469