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.
most of the stations on the confidence Course we will lead, send
(longe) and ride the horse through various obstacles and challenges.
Tarp - Builds the horse's courage by having him walk over and stop
on the blue plastic tarp on the ground.
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.
Maze - Walking forward and backing through the railroad tie maze
improves the horse’s turns and hindquarter control, working
toward precision of movement.
Tires - Walking through the tires builds the horse’s courage
and trust in his human leader.
Cavaletti - Trotting down the center of the poles helps the horse
learn to watch where he is going and to regulate his pace.
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.
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.
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.
Wagon Wheel - Walking around the spokes low or high teaches the
horse to pick up his feet and watch where he is going.