We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine July 2016 - Page 27

hesitation, she went right on across. When the ribbons popped up on the side, I want to clarify that they did not come anywhere close to touching the horse nor were they close to her face. She startled slightly and she was watching a little more for a couple of obstacles. Later, I was talking with a mom of a youth rider and she told her daughter, “If Squeeky can do it anyone can”. For those not familiar with this mare, she has a tendency to be rather reactive. They removed the balls from the cavelletti boxes (they were only going to be on the side of the bridge, but were completely removed), but the multi colored tarp was a challenge for several horses. There was a slant bridge that most horses did without too much problem. My comment to the other English riders when I finished that course was “That was a fun course. You’re going to love it.”

Some of the newer obstacles simulated walking on the side of a hill, working around various animals, going down a trail or across a field and stepping on or hitting a branch that swings up at either your horse or the horse behind you. All of this has happened to a horse and me at one time during the many miles I have ridden out in this great country of ours. I feel one of the great things about AHCA is the variety of circumstances we use in each one of our courses. I do want to mention that if there is an obstacle you feel that you and/or your horse are not ready for, you will not be disqualified for going around it.

I can imagine that the judging of these courses was both fun and rewarding. We all pull for each other and the judges are pulling for every team as well. It allowed them to see us in a variety of circumstances and not just did our horse ‘do it’, but how did we as riders handle their reaction. I imagine they could see trust as well as training, teamwork and well thought out rides. Having judged at our National Final level in the past, I know that those rides are thrilling to watch.

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