The most exciting new obstacle is the Noodle Walk, depending on the Level that you are at, from 2 Noodles up to 10 Noodles, attached horizontally to a frame (2 meaning one each side of the corridor, 10 noodles being 5 each side of the corridor). The Noodles are soft foam swimming pool noodles, or tubular pipe insulation works just as well and can be found from as little as £1 for 2 x 1m lengths (perfect for the Starter competition :-) The idea is that the horse has to push through the noodles, preferably at chest height, although mine have ended up more at knee height due to the limitations of the frame I had for attaching the noodles to.
Another new obstacle for us this month is to pick up a closed umbrella, open it whilst standing next to the horse and then carry the umbrella over the horse's head whilst walking 4 metres. Fat Pony LOVES flags on poles, but an umbrella is new and a bit of an unknown quantity!
The S bend is also back this month and for the Advanced Level, the requirement is for the handler to stand in a fixed spot outside the poles, whilst guiding the horse through the S without the horse knocking or stepping outside the poles!
And the stand and wait has morphed from "horse to not move it's feet" to (at Advanced Level) horse and handler to stand COMPLETELY still for 10 seconds! Eeek! That'll be a challenge then! Pony to not move a muscle, not lick his lips, not move his ears...... Ha, ha, ha! I expect that blinking and breathing are allowed, but not much else.
There is another park the pony at the curtain this month, which I'm not too worried about as Fat Pony's stand and wait is pretty good these days. But at Advanced Level, the horse then has to join the handler at a trot (from a standstill and not allowed to pull on the rope). We can do this in walk. Time to work on our cues for trot then, methinks!
So, LOTS of challenges, again, but the ground has dried out, the weather is lovely and the course looks really exciting (and buildable!). Have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy this one :-)