My clients never cease to amaze me. More often these days, that is meant as a compliment! I am constantly learning about new products, training methods, events and other goings-on in the horse world and it is just incredible all of the things one can discover among the equestrian community. Recently, a client mentioned to me that she was doing a lot of work with her horse on a teeter-totter. Remember those from our childhoods? Two participants sit at opposite ends of a long board centered on a fulcrum and take turns rocking up and down. OK, sure – we all know what one is. But have you ever seen a horse on a teeter-totter?
This is so cool! My client is a member of the California State Horsemen’s Association and competes in their trail trials. Her jubilant black Quarterhorse gelding Otto is particularly fond of the teeter-totter competition. Basically, as the video shows, he balances on a platform that is centered on a railroad tie. Otto is a total pro at keeping both ends of the platform in mid-air- he has really figured everything out. It appears that he really likes it too- since he is essentially ground tied on the platform but never bothers to eat the grass below his feet. It takes a lot to stop a horse from eating green grass by his own free will!
My client explained to me how trail trials and obstacle course competition works. Riders are judged on how well they negotiated their horse through an obstacle with an emphasis on calmness and safety. Time is not a factor in scoring, however, they will ask you to move on if your horse is taking an inordinate amount of time to complete an obstacle. The judging is very well-developed, strict and methodical.
Of course, I should have known that there is an association for this type of competition. There are all sorts of challenging obstacles involved in competitive trail riding, including:barrel board pin wheel, opening gates and the vine simulator. Needless to say- they all “look” easy- but for those of us who have attempted to convince our horses to engage them, we all know that they are extremely difficult.
Who among us competes in trail trials? If you have any words of wisdom for enthusiasts, let us know!
BARREL BOARD PINWHEEL:
THE VINE SIMULATOR