After a conversation with some of the elderly riders at the barn yesterday I have decided developing a trail course would be enriching/entertaining for the senior horses and riders (and I am sure the H/J's will end up there too. So that being said, I am looking for obstacle ideas. I don't have much of a budget for this, so affordable is a must. If it's popular I will find money in next years budget for a couple special elements.
Pictures and/or diagrams would be good.
Thanks in advance
Check out www.perrydaletrails.com She has developed outdoor trail courses using mostly natural obstacles and terrain on her farm. They have built some bridges, and the pictures don't show everything that is there, but give a good idea of what they've done.
Are you looking for more natural/mountain trail type of obstacles, or more show trail types? There are a few places around with extensive outdoor/mountain type courses that I can look up, if that's what you're interested in doing.
NATRC restricts judged obstacles to "obstacles must be natural and native to the local terrain” .
This rule came about after the use of unsafe artificial obstacles was questioned.
I was thinking more of show/portable elements I guess, I have usable space between the dressage ring and jump ring for mellow activity. Some of the horses are mid to late 20's and even though they can still do trot poles and jog a couple cross rails,they won't likely head out on any big trail events. Nothiing competitive just something to do besides hack in the ring.
I guess I could put some log walk overs in the outside course but I don't want to take away gallop space for people wanting to do CC ( yes I know they can gallop over a log on the ground) not everyone who gallops does jumps too.
Maybe I'll walk thru Home Deport tomorrow, stare at stuff and see what's on clearance.
Tie a rope to an old tire and you can drag it from horseback. Fill a garbage bag with empty soda cans and hang it on the fence post...you can carry it around. Put up cones to back through or around in a figure 8 or cloverleaf pattern. Put an old mailbox on the fence post and then you sidepass up to it, open it, close it, then sidepass away.
Flags can be carried from point A to point B.
Designate a place to mount and dismount from the right side.
A blue tarp anchored with railroad ties can provide lots of entertainment.
Practice doing a "gate" with jump standards and a rope.
Build a "bridge" that's made of 2x4's and paint it with stripes or polka dots. Mine measures 4'x6'.
Go to youtube and look up trail challenges, cowboy races, etc. This is where I got ideas as we practice for our first obstacle challenge. Some are easy to put together and fun to do, but others you need a really specfic terrain. Have fun. My Stinky Pony has found his new calling. He's more engaged mentally. Also, my barn mates have enjoyed playing with the obstacles.
Jessie and Bosco, The Stinky Pony
For show trail elements, check out the "One Pole at a Time" videos that Tim Kimura did for AQHA. You can find them here: https://www.aqha.com/Video/How-To.aspx
There are 3 videos, he talks about proper spacing to set up different show trail elements, and gives tips for obstacle negotiation and training.
If you have poles available you can use them to side pass over and make an L shape to back through, or a square to do a 360 in.
This place has some great "natural type" of obstacles. I'd love to set up a course like this one.
And I've come up with a long list of obstacles to practice. Which is great to keep your horses mind active even if you don't normally find these things out on the trail.
1. Mount from opposite side
2. 12’ box. Walk in and do a 180 * turn
3. Narrow space to walk through. Put a ground pole down and have tall objects at entrance.
4. Bridge with object along the side.
5. Black drainage tubing, formed into circles to walk over. Have tall objects at sides.
6. Tarp made into a ditch with flower floating in it.
7. Kiddies’ pool to walk through
8. L shaped back through lined with flowers, trees, ect
9. Maze made out of ground poles or limbs to walk thru and around.
10. High tire filled with dirt that you have to jump onto with all four feet touching.
11. Rope an object
12. Pick up a bucket of water and dump water into a barrel or onto the ground.
13. Tent or T-Pee
15. Balloons and streamers
16. Pick up rain slicker and put on
17. Mail box to open and take out paper or other object and close door.
18. 1 Straight pole on ground to walk over. Straddle, keeping the left feet on one side and right on the other.
20. Teeter Totter
21. Step up platform
22. Pool noodles on ground
23. Hula Hoops to push a big ball into
24. Car wash. Strips of tarp suspended above your head to walk through.
25. Stacked barrels to walk through
27. Gate to open. Could be just a rope gate.
28. Blow bubbles
29. Log or branch to drag.
31. Bags full of cans to drag or place on barrels.
32. Fire crackers
33. Use a tractor tire to put either both front or back legs in, then, move around tire.
34. Ground poles or elevated logs to side pass
35. Tarp on ground
36. Cones with flags sticking out of them
37. Bags or flags tied to fence or a rope fence
38. Bubble wrap. Pop it close by and even place on ground to walk on
39. Cap gun
40. Leaf blower
41. Mattress on the ground to walk on
42. Milk jug with rocks in it to drag
43. Ditch in ground to step over – boxed out in wood
44. Plank wood to step over. 2x8”, with flowers in front of it
45. Toss object (water balloon, apple, horseshoe) on to a table or bucket
46. Pick up object off the ground with long pole.
47. Hold pole to ground while riding around it in a circle. (Advanced-keep pole on barrel)
48. Straw bales to jump over.
49. Squirt gun
50. Back up hill
51. Corral Gate to walk thru. Corn stalks on side of opening, RR tie and tires to fan out opening.
52. Gong or something loud to bang against, hanging up
Some of the things on that list seem down right dangerous.
American Competitive Trail Horse Association has a list of obstacles that are accepted for theri trail competitions.
I would skip these two...
Originally Posted by Sentry Chick
Just a thought on walking on tarps - they can get stuck on a horse's shoes. Have seen it a couple of times and it's not pretty. But then again lots of times nothing happens.
For other suggestions, Extreme Cowboy Association lists their approved obstacles in their rule book and on aother page.
ACTHA has a page of obstacles which are similar to EXCA's obstacles.
Look on YouTube under "Mountain Trail 'Oregon Horse Center' " for video of some "natural" trail obstacles set inside. It's pretty awesome! I'd love to do that one day with my horses!
I think SentryChicks list sounds like fun! I haven't done fire crackers, but did go to a schooling session with people who do civil war reinactments and there was gun fire. We always have a bonfire at the farm where I board and we usually ride past it the next day when it is still hot. Some things I set up at the barn where I board are an "L" shaped area made with poles to walk or back thru. Dragging something both from behind and then backing horse and dragging object towards horse. "pickup sticks", a pile of poles or could use branches to walk horse over or thru. Bucket on a rope. take ahold of rope(usually hanging on fence) and lift a small bucket(I often put horse treats in it) and retrieve a treat.A slicker on a pole or fence, pick up put over horse's wither area, then hang back up. Mailbox-can attach to a simple jump standard, put treats in to be retrieved. Cones can be set up to walk or trot weave thru. put down two poles paralel to each other throw some nerf balls and plastic water bottles in between poles for horse to walk thru. Can put pool noodles in a trash can and walk up and remove one then put back in the same can or could have another can a little distance away to walk over and put noodle in. A piece of plywood on the ground can act as a bridge or someone mentioned bubble wrap, could staple bubble wrap to plywood. 360 in a box-box made out of poles walk in and either do a turn on the forehand or haunches or just circle horse and walk back out.
If we got our horses used to fire crackers, then the Fourth of July and New Year's "OH NO" posts would go away. ;)