We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine November 2018 - Page 12

Introducing Horse & Dog Agility!

For years we at Sport and Trail Magazine have had the inspiration to pursue a competition horse, rider and trail dog could do together. The sport has a strong following in Germany, and a few groups have appeared here in the U.S. now and again over the years. We feel it is time to get serious about this horse and dog business once and for all, and there is no time better than the present!

During this year's Sport and Trail Games we held our first Horse & Dog Agility Course. We made it very simple; straight forward obstacles, common commands most dogs should know, uncomplicated situations one might truly expect to encounter on the trail or around the farm or ranch.

To start, there will be two divisions; Pro and Trailmaster. Pro is anyone who trains dogs professionally or shows in any other association than Horse & Dog Agility. Trailmaster is any adult who has a horse and a dog. We will add a youth division should interest develop.

Scoring

Horse, Rider and Dog all start out with 10 points per obstacle. Points are deducted for errors, balking, poorly maneuvered obstacles, etc. Opportunities for bonus points are a fun option. In this course, we added an optional obstacle purely for bonus points for the dog; Retrieve. The rider was given a hat and asked to toss it a good distance away from the back of her horse. The dog was then asked to retrieve the hat and give it to the rider. If successful, the dog would receive a 5 point bonus. There was no penalty for failure. The object here is to introduce an obstacle a bit more complicated as a challenge. It may also provide the dog owner something new to go home and work on!

Once the course is completed, all scores are added together for a total team score. A perfect score for our course was 210 with 15 available bonus points. The team in the photographs earned 214 points for their run. Outstanding!

The Gate

Approach the gate. Ask dog to down & stay.

Rider opens the gate, passes through, calls dog through the gate.

Cue dog to sit and stay while gate is closed. Proceed together to the next obstacle.

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