Saturday 15 June saw the Worcestershire BHS Committee hold a horse agility day for its members.
This was a new and untried event, which is carried out on foot rather than on horseback, aimed at creating a bond and building trust between horse and handler. It is suitable for horses or ponies of all sizes and ages and handlers of all abilities.
Horse Agility consists of negotiating a course through a series of different obstacles and encompasses such things as a ‘corridor’ of flags, streamers and windmills, which move in the wind, walking through a dangling curtain of ribbons, and weaving through a ‘maze’ of poles on the ground.
In addition there was also a ‘pool’ of plastic bottles and milk cartons to walk through and over, umbrellas to be opened and shut, flags to be waved, cycle tyres to be walked over, a podium to stand on, as well as small pole jump and some large sack type 'saddlebags' to be carried.
The day was run by Sheila Reid, who is an accredited Horse Agility trainer. During the morning Sheila put the ten participants through their paces, advising and coaching as to the best way to negotiate the obstacles and also how to reassure their horses and ponies thereby building up the level of trust between them.
Despite some torrential downpours, everyone remained enthusiastic and for those watching, the increase in confidence and trust between horse and handlers was quite noticeable.
Following a short break for lunch, the afternoon session was a competition between participants, where they were marked on their ability and effectiveness to negotiate a course of obstacles nominated by Sheila.
Although some scored higher than others, everyone emerged winners, all having built up the bond and trust with their horses and ponies, which was the object of the exercise.
The day was so popular that an additional horse agility event has been organised on Saturday 3 August, again at New House Farm. There are a limited number of places left, so if anyone out there fancies having a go, contact Worcestershire BHS committee member Lisa Randle via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07767 897902. Cost is £35 per horse and handler.
Top: Lisa Randle and PK braving the scary 'flag alley'
Centre: Alan Hope and his Shetland, Freddie, showing that size doesn't matter in horse agility
Bottom: Hannah Jackson shows just how much her horse is frightened of umbrellas!