2019 Jan/Feb 2019 E-magazine - Page 20

obstacles allows the horse to gain more confident feet placement. Equally, leading your horse out of the obstacle before completion keeps the exercise diverse and avoids natural anticipation tactics from your horse. Stand calmly with your horse for a few minutes once they are confident enough to step into the water box. Encourage them to smell the obstacle and use your training stick to rub them while you stand at a 45 degree angle to the horse’s shoulder. OBSTACLE COMPLETION Once your horse is meeting your pace and respectful of your guide through all stages of the water bridge obstacle, you can focus on making the actual obstacle execution pleasant to watch. Focus on your own foot timing and try to match walking strides with your horse through the obstacle. Encourage your horse’s head downward at the standstill first, and then while walking to demonstrate the horse’s confidence over the obstacle and to help slow their steps. Take your time exiting any obstacle you work through to reinforce proper exiting and to teach the horse to meet your pace. If your horse falls off the obstacle or gets pushy, immediately back them up and around to the beginning of the obstacle.