Need advice on Halter Obstacle...

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Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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A good friend is interested in maybe showing in something like Halter Obstacle...I have seen the classes, but actually know very little on what kinds of obstacles she might encounter or just how to train for it..and I want to give her good advice.

I wonder if anyone here shows in that class that could send me to a website or offer some advice on how to train for and what to expect...

There is a video you can get from several of the mini tack vendors about halter obstacles and it's pretty good! I bought it and it shows you how to teach them to do pivots, side pass, etc. It's been awhile since I watched it but I was impressed and it's only about $40
I love this stuff! Obstacle/trail is almost more of a mental challenge than an obstacle challenge. The best way to do well is make sure you have your basic(and I do mean basic) training down. This starts with your everyday handling be it getting your horse to move over while brushing or move away while trying to get through the gate with a cart full of feed. Have a specific command for specific movements and consistently use them. That is the hard part. I have used trail obstacles as part of my training for years just as athletes cross train. When riding I would do some rail work then do an obstacle then go back to rail work. It gives a mental break for both and let's you go back to what you were doing before with a fresh mind.

In my turnouts I have also used trail obstacles as toys for the horses and let them get used to stuff on their own. Cones, old tarps, rock jugs, plywood, old grain pans, cardboard boxes anything they thought they wanted to play with and still be safe. The more they are exposed to the less likely the are to blow up when they see new things. My stallion Val has lots of body issues and every training session starts with rubbing plastic bags and rock jugs all over his body and in every rude place. He starts to be silly then goes ho hum, this old thing and then the session goes much smoother. As you get the movements you want then start refining them down and asking for cleaner movements, softer ques, moving one foot at a time, narrower back throughs. Don't always complete each obstacle as you see in shows. For an L back through make sure you work on setting the horse up to start correctly, back a few steps and walk out again. By breaking an obstacle down into manuevers instead of always working on the whole obstacle you keep them from anticipating and rushing through an obstacle.
I did big horses, halter/trail etc and I had nearly everything imaginable in the work area. Planks, cavalleti, raised cavaletti, tarps, cones with tennis balls on top, you name it , it was there. We worked as needed on these however the best stuff was just out in the pastures, creeks, stumps, fallen branches etc. Anything to get them 100% spacially aware, where every hair and foot was. Go watch a few classes or get the videos, they are worth every penny

I will tell her about the video, she has a weanling from me, so she can start right from the beginning on working with him. She is also wanting to do all this will work together. WCR..I copied and pasted your post into an email for her..and now I need to get her to come HERE...