Ed Dabney Gentle and Natural Horsemanship Confidence Course. Step by step obstacles to develop confidence, trust, agility, awareness on part of horse.
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Confidence Course

The ED DABNEY Gentle Horsemanship Training Center features a fun and challenging "Adventure Trail Obstacle Course". Learning to negotiate these obstacles increases the horse's courage and more importantly it builds their trust in their human leader. Most obstacles have a basic function as well as a more advanced application. We lead the horse, send the horse and ride the horse through most of the obstacles.

Every new obstacle a horse learns to accept enables him to more easily accept other new challenges or "scary" situations he might encounter on the trail or in the show ring. Successfully overcoming each obstacle with the help and patient guidance of his human leader teaches the horse how to handle his fears and shows him that you are a trustworthy leader.

The Mounted Search and Rescue Squad uses our Confidence Course as a prerequisite for membership. Anyone wishing to join the squad must successfully negotiate all the obstacles.

For most of the stations on the confidence Course we will lead, send (longe) and ride the horse through various obstacles and challenges.

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Building horse confidence and courage on confidence course

Tarp - Builds the horse's courage by having him walk over and stop on the blue plastic tarp on the ground.

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Improving straight horse backing, also confidence course poles used for sidepassing training exercise

Poles - (Two 30 foot parallel telephone poles four feet apart) Having the horse back between the poles improves his straight line backing. Also used to side-pass along one pole with the pole running under the horse for a straight side-pass.

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Confidence course maze improves horse turns, hindquarter control and precise movement and control

Maze - Walking forward and backing through the railroad tie maze improves the horse’s turns and hindquarter control, working toward precision of movement.

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Build horse's courage using tires as obstacle on confidence course. Develops horse's trust in his rider leader.

Tires - Walking through the tires builds the horse’s courage and trust in his human leader.                                   

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Confidence Course poles obstacles helps horse learn to regulate pace and be aware of obstacle and pace regulation

Cavaletti - Trotting down the center of the poles helps the horse learn to watch where he is going and to regulate his pace.

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Horse jumping exercise. Also used for lunging, longe, lunge training

Jumps - Plastic barrels and tree trunks of differing diameters create obstacles the horse must step or jump over. Another use of this station is in lunging.

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Plastic hanging streamers develop horse confidence to calmly pass through hanging obstacles. Develops trust in rider leader.

Car Wash - An archway of blue plastic streamers creates a challenging obstacle for ground and mounted work which really builds the horse's confidence and courage.

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Balance beam develops trust in leader. Horse gains confidence to achieve firm footing while balancing.

Horse confident and willing to pass over moving platform. Willing and trusting of leader rider.

Teeter-Totter - Horses are always concerned about having a firm footing under them, so to ask them to walk over a moving platform is a true test of their willingness and trust in their human leader.

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Confidence Course Wagon Wheel. Horse foot placement exercise, horse attention to obstacle and foot placement

Wagon Wheel - Walking around the spokes low or high teaches the horse to pick up his feet and watch where he is going.