Horse agility is a new equestrian sport that is growing rapidly in popularity because people who love horses have found that they can now compete at the highest levels without having to ride.
In this fast and exciting sport the horse has to overcome a number of challenging obstacles, sometimes against the clock, being guided by a handler who moves along with him. The speed, drama, tension and excitement of the competition make this a great spectator sport.
Horse Agility tests the horse’s physical as well as his emotional fitness and tests the handler’s ability as a trainer to keep the horse travelling safely over the course effectively and with style.
The sport is great for people who can’t or don’t want to ride, disabled people who are unable to ride but can move alongside a horse as it completes the obstacle course, horses that are unable to be ridden for behavioural or physical reasons and ponies that are too small for an adult rider. It gives everyone the chance to compete without having to ride or spend hours preparing their horse for non-ridden showing classes.
In short Horse Agility offers riding and non-riding horse lovers a completely new way of being involved in a competitive equestrian sport that is active and exciting which has never been available to them before..
As safety is a very large part of the training for Horse Agility the skills learnt in training make everyday handling of horses easy for everyone and helps the horse to build a more confident, trusting relationship with his handlers.
Often there seems no option but to ride a horse to keep him physically and emotionally fit but the horses that are presently in training for Horse Agility Competitions are exhibiting a calm outlook and are more becoming physically able without lunging, long reining or being put onto horse walkers which are often the only choice left to people.
The problem solving required to complete the obstacles keeps the horse’s mind working constructively and is a lot of fun for the handlers as they find ways to help the horse understand the request.
Obstacles comprise simple bending poles and crossing tarpaulins to tunnels, seesaws and A – frames just as in dog agility but with bigger obstacles!
Because of the levels structure of the competitions there is always a new skill to learn and improve and at the higher levels horses compete within an arena at liberty without a lead rope. The top level athletes can then move onto Wild Agility in which horse and handler travel at least 5km across country against the clock completing a number of natural obstacles along the way.
People are finding that the Horse Agility competitions and training days, with the emphasis on having fun, are a great way to meet like minded people who think the same way about their horse’s potential other than as a ridden horse.
All horses and ponies can join in Horse Agility whether they are ridden or not in other competitions, they just need to be in good physical condition.
Everyone can join in – children and adults of all ages and ability, the people do the horse training the horse does most of the energetic bit!
OLHA! On Line Horse Agility
Now you can video a set monthly competition course in the comfort of your own paddock or barn and compete in the world wide league by internet judging!
Competitions and training days are being arranged all over the world with great opportunities for sponsorship by companies who want to be involved at the beginning of a new and fast growing sport.
Local trainers who offer training and organise events are: