The "Wagon Wheel" is a new one for us, a number of poles raised off the ground in the centre and arranged like the spokes of a wheel. The horse has to step over the poles as it walks in a circle around the centre. The closer the horse is to the centre, the higher the mark! As long as your horse is physically sound to go in small circles, this is a good gymnastic and suppling exercise (trotting poles on steroids, ha!), as well as an exercise in trust and building confidence, as well as developing spatial awareness. At starter level, the wheel has just 2 spokes to walk over, but by Advanced level the wheel has 5 spokes to complete in trot!
The "Parking Bay" or "Box" is also a new obstacle for us. This is a U shaped "box", at least 3m long, no more than 1m wide and must have solid sides at least 1m high. At Medium level, the task is to send your horse into the box whilst you stay at the entrance. The horse then has to wait for 3 seconds, before you ask the horse to back out of the box by asking him/ her to back towards you i.e. you have to stay behind/ to the side of your horse and "draw" him/ her towards you. Lots of different trust and confidence aspects to this one!
There's a new variation on the tarpaulin. It always amazes me just how many variations you can make from a single, simple obstacle with a bit of creativity! This month the tarp is to be folded into a long, thin shape, 75cm wide by 3 long and for Medium level the horse has to trot all the way along the tarp without stepping off. The handler is not on the tarp. Although the tarp can be weighted to stop it blowing away, this may not be done with use of poles or anything that would help to "guide" the horse along the narrow corridor (no cheating folks! :-)
The Scary Corner also has a new twist. Or, more precisely, a new Turn, as it must be built with a sharp (read right angled) corner to trot around. This will be great practice for us in preparation for trotting through L and U bends made from poles on the ground, which we will have to master now that we are at Medium level.
Some nice obstacles, I can't wait to try! Must find time to enter this month!