Name - Obstacles 3. S-Bend
Status - Available - Open
Required - see below
At the entrance to the S-Bend, halt.
Step in front of and face your equine, try to make the distance at least one arms length away.
Throughout this exercise you are required to walk backwards through the obstacle.
Your body position in front of your equine should be grounded and relaxed, feel your feet on the ground, keep your knees soft, your energy should be saying "I'm here, don't push through me"
When asking your equine to proceed forwards, incline the lower half of your body back and away from your equine, your energy is "drawing" your equine towards you, if he starts to rush, stand a little taller and "push" your energy back towards him.
There is no need to rush through this obstacle, it is the quality of the turns that is important.
Watch your equines feet, in doing so you will automatically make the adjustments to his body to negotiate the turns successfully.
You will want to see him stepping under and across and not shuffling from side to side.
Younger and older equines may have some difficulty, particularly on one side, it may be helpful to "warm" them up first, by asking for small tight turns, encouraging then to step under and across.
Try to remain mindful of the task, remember to breathe, breathe in and fill your lungs and exhale slowly, before your begin.
At the exit halt - "look and see" your equine, smile at him, let him feel your thoughts of gratitude.
Regain the partnership leading position, breathe in and exhale you have finished.
This exercise is about control, not the control of the equine, but the control of your own thoughts, feelings and actions and how they influence the conversation between the two of you.
Break this exercise into incremental steps, first 2 poles, then 3 and 4 etc.
You want your equine to feel calm and confident with the poles, for some they feel "trapped" in the obstacle and want to get "out" so take your time.
I'm looking to see a handler "in charge" of herself. This obstacle demands you to be mindful of the task.
This obstacle particularly is about the asking and not the doing.
I want to see a constant backwards and forwards of conversation between the two partners.
A relaxed contact is important, take your time, I don't want to see you rushing through the turns.