Slightly disappointed that the "2 flags" obstacle isn't in the Halloween course this year, but I'm sure I'll be able to improvise :-D The "scary corner" will become the Halloween Spooky Corner and the curtain obstacle is in, so I can dust off last year's "creepy cloth" curtain - well, maybe not dust it off, mwaaaahahahahahahahahahahaha......
The standard of entries in the Horse Agility has been going up and the bar is being raised to keep us all challenged! There are some new obstacles again this month, a zig-zag corridor using poles, to be completed at a fast walk and an offset weave, the weave to be completed with the handler maintaining the same leading position throughout the obstacle. I predict that the tight turns will make the leading position a challenge, there will be a tendency for the horse to go ahead or drop behind through the turns.
Backing over a pole isn't new to us, but we still haven't cracked the not touching part. Stepping into a hula hoop with the front feet isn't new to us either, but again we haven't yet cracked the not touching part (sensing a theme here?). The spooky horses tend to avoid touching, but you have to get their confidence up to approach the obstacle in the first place! The confident horses are easy to get close to the obstacle, but tend to just walk all over it! So either way, it makes for a nice challenge!
What is also new to us this time is stepping into the hula hoop with the back feet! Again, no touching allowed for full marks! So the pony has to step into something with it's back feet, which it can't see at the point of stepping in!, without getting spooked by the thing that it can't see round its back legs, and without touching! No pressure there then :-)
Finally, the precise back up is making another appearance. This month it's 10 steps at Medium level. The handler can be anywhere, so I'm reasonably confident that we can get a straight back up by me standing in front of the pony. But getting exactly 10 steps, not one more and not one less, requires the pony to not only listen to your request for backing up, but to give you single steps on request. I've found that even numbers do seem to work better than odd numbers, the 5 step back up was a killer, so we shall see what happens once we get practicing.