Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2017 >Daily Dispatch #120

April 30, 2017: !!!!!! agility clinic !!!

!!!!! I seldom use explanation marks because I’m not an exclamatory kind of gal. But today merits a !!!. I was so apprehensive that I lost sleep wondering how it was going to go, so my knowledge that I was tired added to my angst. No it, nevertheless, went just fine. No, it went really, really well.

I ought not have fretted. It went well by everyone else’s estimation so it went well by my estimation. This is the way life works. Six students, six horses, ten obstacles, and a handful of observers. And the course was the April online agility course, the one that I did with Raudi and Hrimmi, so I was familiar with it. I also had assistants – Colleen did the videotaping, and Sarah was my right hand. And Linn,

who is the facility owner, she did clicker training in the barn with one group of three while I worked with the other group.

I first had students do introductions and then gave them an overview of what agility is about. I next went over safety issues, and then did a walkabout. We went through the obstacles individually and then in groups of two, leading one another twice, each participant being a horse and being a handler. I then did this brilliant exercise where I had them all “walk” the six basics. For alignment I had them walk with cones on their heads.

After, all took their horses over the tarp, through the curtain, and through the labyrinth. I focused on riders, referring back to the basics, soft eyes, breathing, and centering included. It went well; the horses also seemed to be having a good time.

The afternoon was a bit more disjointed because I was tired and lost my focus. But here was my defining moment. One student, Janet, could not seem to get her horse Cody through the curtain. Quite clearly, she was the problem. The horse was a steady eddy kind of guy and looking to her for guidance, which she could not give. So without thinking I took the horse in hand. And there it was, before me, the curtain, and beyond that, the peanut gallery. Cody refused to go through for me, and I thought, I’m screwed. I attempted to get him to walk through by standing by his side and moving forward, but he would not budge. And I attempted to move him through by putting treats in front of him, but he would not budge. So I backed him up and walked him around the hula hoops in a figure eight – and finally, told him “we are going through the curtain.” And he obliged.

Right then I passed his lead rope back to his owner who was very happy. I told her that was enough because I had had enough and for me needed to end on a good note. I may have gotten lucky with this exercise. Everyone saw me being patient and patience paying off. Phew.

I worked with the rest of the group on the remaining obstacles and then lastly, had a competition in which participants could do the course. If there was a winner it was Sydney with her mini horse. She was painfully shy, so this was a wonderful day for her. Actually, I think it was a wonderful day for everyone, but mostly for me. I learned so much, and of course am eager to get home and see how my horses and I do at agility.

121. 5/1/17: Down Time

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles