My round pen is looking more crowded these days.
In a previous post, I mentioned that over Winter I bought a set of handmade trail obstacles. Now that the weather in my area recently turned favorable for more regular riding, I finally get to use them!
The set includes a walk-over bridge, a rope gate and four ground poles. These types of treats are normally beyond my budget, but a sale and a zero-percent interest layaway plan made them within reach.
I purchased the set from Backyard Equine and More (no relation to my blog, but I love the name!). They are best known for their jumps and cavaletti.
Most of their items are customizable. You can have stuff made in the colors you’d like. They deliver around the Midwest states (they are Indiana-based), but you can also place an order and pick it up yourself.
I do regret that I didn’t get the poles stained to match the bridge and rope gate. It would have looked better to have everything in the round pen matchy-matchy. But I have to say that I have a thing for colorful poles. It reminds me of the jumping I did as a youngster.
The next time Backyard Equine and More has a sale, though, I might like to get three ground poles stained to match the gate and bridge. And a flower box set as decoration/an extra walk-over obstacle would look good too!
Whether I add to my collection or not, I hope to get lots of use out of my current set. And if I ever get bored with them, maybe I could make some money by renting them out for X amount of dollars per week? Or maybe rent them to a horse show for the weekend?
On a related note, it got me to thinking that it’s been almost a decade since I entered an obstacle competition. Here’s a set of photos of my old gaited pony, Pumpkin Spice, and me at a competition in 2013.
The course called for things like dismounting and then remounting on the opposite side, carrying a flag, pushing a big horse ball, crossing under a pole set between two jump standards, and negotiating a maze of flowers. So much fun!
I don’t know if any competitions are in my future, but I am enjoying practicing with my new toys. It’s interesting to see each of my horses’ take on these new-fangled objects.
With Shiloh, I felt immediately comfortable riding him over the bridge without practicing from the ground. Ditto with working the rope gate. Here’s a view from the saddle on our first day with the bridge (short-side first).
Similarly, Bear marched right up onto the bridge the first time I asked in-hand (he’s retired from riding).
Piper, bold as he usually is about things, was none too sure about these new additions. He needed to investigate the gate with lips and teeth.
And on first introduction, Piper thought the walkover bridge was a bridge too far.
So we are taking baby steps from the ground for now.
In closing, here’s Shiloh giving me the side-eye. I imagined him asking me to reassure him that jumping the rope gate will not be in our repertoire.
And then I saw his relieved reaction when I reminded him that backing, turning and side passing are required but no jumping! Phew.