We really enjoy mixing up normal ring riding in the winter with obstacles. These obstacles do a number of things:
- help us build trust with our equine partners,
- break up the routine ring work, and
- help desensitize our horses to new and potentially scary objects.
Our general go-to obstacles in our ring are fairly limited. We mostly use a combination of tarps, poles, jump standards, and sometimes things we have laying around like lunge lines to simulate opening and closing a gate. Check out this short video below to see some of our obstacles.
However, when you check out the obstacles that my friend Sabrina has created, we definitely look like amateurs! I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the great obstacles she has built at her farm. The obstacles shown below are only a subset of her impressive array of horse obstacles! (I know, it’s impressive!)
While many of these require a lot of work to construct, most of these obstacles can be modified to meet your needs.
If you really want to go for it, you could even try things like smoke and fire. Check out the drone footage from Sabrina’s Equine Sensory Day Clinic this past summer below!
Please be sure to use your best judgement when introducing your horse to new obstacles. Some of these obstacles may be too challenging for certain horses depending on their comfort level with these types of things.
I generally suggest approaching an obstacle from the easiest way possible and working your way up to more challenging approaches. For example, don’t start going the long way down the teeter totter – start with it flat on the ground and ask your horse to step over it until they can do so in a relaxed way.
If you’re interested in learning more about the construction of any of these obstacles, let us know and we can provide details. A big thank you to Sabrina of Sweet Moon Stables for allowing me to share all of her impressive work!