Your agility practice starts from the moment you think about going out to catch your equine.
Check your own energy and thinking.
When he first sees you, what is his expression.
What does his body language tell you about how his feeling.
What are his ears doing. Is his eye soft. Is his mouth and nose pinched looking.
Be mindful when putting on his headcollar.
The first step you take together, will set the tone of the day's practice, make it a positive one.
Breathe and relax.
Place a small number of obstacles in your practice area.
With your equine just stand and look at them.
Does one particular obstacle catch his attention.
What do you think he is feeling about it.
Check your own thoughts.
Your thoughts and emotions effect your energetic field.
Your equine is reading this.
Chemicals released into your blood stream effect your adrenalin levels and heart rate.
Take a walk together around the obstacles.
Is he drawn to any particular one.
Allow him to touch and explore.
If he is highly reactive, go for a walk, circle around the obstacle, let him dictate when he wants to approach it.
Be mindful of his body language.
Watch his facial expressions.
Only when his adrenalin and energy levels are low can learning take place.
Don't rush him.
Be responsible - be respectful.
Keep your practice sessions short.
Be aware of over practising.
Don't mentally or physically over tax
young or older horses.
Keep your energy light.
Keep your eyes soft.
Encourage curiosity, it will be your best friend.
Reward good behaviour by stopping and letting your horse just "be"
Be the best person you can be.
Use incremental steps.
If faced with a problem, take a step back.
Keep your own energy relaxed and calm.
Nose before feet.
Let him explore the obstacles.
Add the reactive parts of the obstacle one at a time, the bunting and the flags.
Don't jeopardise his trust, leave it, go and do something he is confident with and come back to it.
Remain mindful of his natural instincts.
Always finish on a good note.
Miss Rachel Watkins