I have a range of mobile obstacles that I can bring in my van to build a challenging obstacle course for you and your horse. Below are a few photos showing the sort of things I set up for my trainees.
My s-bend is made from hinged decking boards, which stop horses moving the boards too far if they touch them. This reduces the time spent putting it back together again in a session. This simulates the tight turns of hairpin bends when scaling steep terrain.
My portable roll-up wooden footbridge gets horses used to the noise of walking over wood, and can be combined with other obstacles such as water trays, mats and roadworks to make it a bit more challenging.
Part of the above footbridge is a thicker, dual-sided EVA mat which can be split in half to allow full and thorough investigation – especially useful if horses are not confident enough to walk over them straight away. Dude had a really good sniff, snort and stamp of the mats before he was happy to walk over them in hand, but by the end of the session he was confidently being ridden over them the long way.
Just like many footbridges on bridleways, the horse has to remain calm even when there is not much space either side
My low branches are adjustable for heights 12hh-17hh. I always introduce them on the top setting, but once the horses have got the idea the height is reduced to 30cm above the wither, and I will adjust the rider’s folded position to ensure that they can get through before increasing the speed, if they are happy to do so.
I have two types of bending poles available with spikes or heavy bases depending on the surface. To introduce the horses to cantering between them, they are placed further apart than normal to make it achievable for the horse to stay in canter.
I have a new mobile gate which can be opened easily in both directions, great to practice the specific technique for gates in TREC without letting go.
I have two ‘scary’ jump wings which can be placed close together to get horses used to things brushing against them.
I often use these for the neck reining obstacle, where riders must demonstrate a figure of eight while riding one-handed.
Immobility in a small circle – will your horse stand still for 10 seconds if you release the reins to take a photo or get something out of your saddlebags? Patience is a very important skill to demonstrate!
I simulate the water crossing with a tarpaulin – this can be very challenging for some horses, but worth persevering with.
In TREC, water must be crossed at a walk because if you are out hacking and come across a river to ford, you don’t know what the footing is like. If a horse is struggling then it can be folded up very small to begin with, and done in hand, then gradually opened up as they realise it isn’t anything to worry about.
Ditch – I usually fold up the tarpaulin to represent a ditch to be jumped or walked across. I have had a water tray built which I will paint to give the optical illusion of being a real ditch – brown edges and black at the bottom.
As most venues have some jumping equipment I just use what is available, but if you have no equipment then just let me know and I can bring poles to make the corridor & rein back.