There is far more to play and horse agility than first meets the eye. It provides us with an excellent opportunity to fully engage with our horses on many levels: cognitively, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. It teaches horses and humans about sharing a learning experience. In horsemanship play is a wonderful tool in development of a shared language as it opens up two way communication. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence in both equine and human participants which enriches a shared supportive relationship. Agility and play are wonderful for building mutual respect, trust and bonding.
If you want to have a go at horse agility I can come out to you and teach you with your own horse. I have a good selection of horse agility equipment that I am happy to bring out for you to use. I can do this on a one to one basis, or I am happy to run for you and a small group of friends a horse agility fun day at your yard. This can include tutoring in horse agility, so you get to practice each element of an agility course followed by a fun and informal competition with rosettes.
If you enjoy horse agility you should look up and and join the Horse Agility Club and compete in the sport.
For more information on how I can help you and your horse have fun with horse agility please use the on-line Get in Touch page. Or text or call on 07930605544.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of horse agility:
If you want to ignite cognitive development in your horse agility and play are a great way to encourage your horse to think. Horses are very able to cognitively process, problem solve and think things through. Agility allows horses to explore the world and is fabulous for conquering their fears. Using play you can help your horse think, to look to you for guidance rather than react. It’s great for spook busting and bomb proofing your horse. Horse and human together through play around facing fears, develop new competencies, enhanced confidence and a resiliency in facing future challenges. From practicing spook busting games as a partnership, you and your horse will have tools and strategies in dealing with scary situations. Once practiced and skilled you will view tricky situations as golden training opportunities not to be feared.
Agility teaches humans about patience and understanding. As for true horsemanship it should be 50 / 50 with the horse. So here it is essential we listen to the horse, as how best to help our horse with each new task. We want to ignite fun and for the horse to see agility as one type of play it enjoys. When we observe natural play in our horses we are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their view point. Horsemanship is looking into their world so we can learn to communicate more effectively. There is a place for human led structured activities, but be mindful to incorporate time for horses to select and decide their own play.
Agility builds active and healthy bodies. Physically play enables participants to practise certain physical movements so it is great for developing better reflexes, balance, core strength, coordination, increased joint mobility, flexibility and muscle tone. Physical exercise makes you feel good as it raises the levels of the natural mood-enhancing hormones. Plus it can be one useful tool in burning calories keeping waistlines in check.
Despite the many benefits of play and agility, many don’t place a high value on it. Many people lead stressful, hurried lifestyles and opportunities to interact with their horse are often about training for an equestrian discipline, or human led agendas. For us, play is a wonderful way to get off the wheel and practice emotional well-being. Many horses are managed to meet their physical needs, and have abundant resources and live in relative peace, however due to management practices they may not be receiving the full benefits of play. Some people are unaware of how agility can be a wonderful part of enhancement of training their horse. Play is so important to optimal equine development. It helps horses to adjust to schooling as it enhances learning readiness and learning behaviours. Through play horses develop emotional maturity and the ability to concentrate. Exploration is the heart of play and it is the ignition to curiosity and problem-solving skills.
Too many of us get hung up on being serious with our horses. Letting your hair down, laughter and joy in play is a wonderful way to spend time with your horse. Play should be a cherished part of horsemanship. It sets you up for a meaningful close bond and friendship with your horse. It is sociable, rewarding, motivating and sets us up for success mentally, physically, socially and emotionally. Most of all play is fun.