Meet the 2011 Horse Agility World Champion

Posted by Paige Cerulli

Requiring excellent training, confidence, and trust, horse agility is a fast-growing sport with annual world champion awards. 

You've likely heard of dog agility, the sport in which dogs and handlers race around a course of obstacles. Slighter slower paced, horse agility bears a similar resemblance.

In agility, horses and handlers must navigate a course of obstacles. The horses must look to their handlers for direction and reassurance, and in most cases, the horse performs at liberty without the use of a halter or lead rope.

If you think that horse agility sounds like a challenge, then you're right. This sport is competitive, and you and your horse can move up in terms of levels of difficulty. The Exmoor pony stallion in the video below was born wild, but in 2011 he became the Horse Agility World Champion.

And it's clear why - this stallion easily and smoothly navigates obstacles with confidence. He's clearly in tune with his handler - check out some of his moves in the video below.

Want to get started in agility? Begin with groundwork. In order to perform agility, your horse should be able to follow you without you taking up any tension on the lead rope. With your lead line remaining slack at all times, teach your horse to walk and trot forward, halt, and turn in each direction in response to your body language.

Your horse will also need to learn how to ground tie and to come to you when asked. While this may sound like a challenge, you'd be surprised at how easy this initial training can actually be.

One of the great things about agility is that you don't have to compete, and you can do it in your own arena. Many agility obstacles are easy and affordable to make, so you can create your own course.

For some guidance, see if there is a local equine agility club or trainer near you. There are also many books and videos on the subject that can help you to get started.

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Meet the 2011 Horse Agility World Champion