Saturday 15 August saw the second Worcestershire BHS Horse Agility Day of the year take place in brilliant weather! Temperatures of about 21 degrees, accompanied by enough sunshine to cause a bit of sunburn, were the order of the day.
This is was the sixth time in the last three years that we have held a horse agility day and this type of event is still as popular now as when we first thought of it. As usual, all places were quickly sold out when advertised and again we had a waiting list in case anyone having to drop out.
As per our previous days, horses and ponies of all sizes including Freddie the Shetland, who is now a firm favourite and “regular” at these events, attended the event.
To the uninitiated, horse agility is carried out on foot with the horse or pony in hand, rather than the participant being mounted. It is aimed at creating a bond and build up of trust between horse and handler and It is suitable for horses and ponies of all ages and sizes and handlers of all ages and abilities.
It 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 is 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. A new obstacle was also included, which is best described as an archway of foam tubes through which the horse and handler have to push through.
As per all our previous events, the day was run by Sheila Jones (nee Reid), who is an accredited Horse Agility trainer. During the course of the morning Sheila put the twelve 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.
Everyone showed tremendous enthusiasm and for those of us watching, it was quite noticeable that the confidence and trust between horses and handlers continued to increase as the morning training session went on
Following a short break for lunch, the sun really came out and it became really warm, giving us lovely conditions for the afternoon session.
This was a competition between participants, where they were marked on their ability and effectiveness to negotiate a course of obstacles nominated by Sheila.
At the end of the day the scores were extremely close, only a couple of points separating the first few contestants and only some 14 points between all who took part.
Congratulations must go to Sandra Langdon and her horse Leo, who took a well-deserved first place. That said, everyone who took part was a winner, all having built up that crucial bond and trust with their horses and ponies, which was the object of the exercise.
Thanks must go to Sheila Jones for her enthusiasm and input, New House Farm for the use of their arena and all of you who helped set up prior to the start and take down at the end of the day.
No doubt, the Worcestershire Committee will organise more agility days for 2016. They will be advertised around February next year, so keep your eyes on the Worcestershire BHS Facebook page, as well as your local BHS circulations, as places are booked on a first come, first served basis and they go very quickly!