There are definitely some interesting new challenges for us in the August course. Three obstacles involve variations on "stand and wait". One of these is a relatively simple stand and wait. The horse to stand on the tarp for 5 seconds without moving his feet. Made slightly more challenging by specifying an area of 2m x 2m, but otherwise fairly straight forward. The other 2 varations, involve the horse waiting whilst the handler goes through an obstacle first and then joining the handler when invited. At Medium level, the horse has to join the handler at a trot i.e. the horse stands and waits until the handler is through the obstacle, so some 2-3m away, then the horse goes from halt to trot through the obstacle and the handler is not allowed to achieve this by pulling on the rope!
One obstacle is completely new to us this month and that is for the horse to step cleanly into a hula hoop with its back feet. We have done this obstacle with front feet, but never with back feet. I have seen videos of nice TB or Arab type horses with dainty feet doing this very delicately. My chunky native ponies with their soup plate feet can barely fit 2 feet into a hula hoop, let alone do it delicately, ha, ha, ha. It will be..... Interesting :-D
Our nemesis, the single pole, is also putting in 2 appearances this month. There is backing 4 feet over a single pole without touching or stepping on the pole. And there is also trotting over a raised pole of 30cm. Most of the time, I'm very happy that my ponies are confident to put their feet onto strange surfaces when I ask them to. But when that extends to them standing on the poles as they go over then it's not so good for a high score....
So, all in all, its going to be a month of nice challenges!