Competing Competing Competing
So you've done some preparation and training and now you would like to have a go at competing, here's what you need to know.
The COMPETITION agility course, comprises of 10 obstacles, one from each of the 10 categories listed.
The competition is judged on you and your ponies ability to negotiate your way around the course, following a given criteria ,over, under and through the different obstacles, which remain the same throughout the different levels of agility. It is the standard of horsemanship skills which differs at the different levels. The course and the obstacles have been standardised for 2019. Different elements may be added at different times but the obstacles will remain the same. You are scored marks out of 10. The highest percentage of the marks are awarded for horsemanship, 6 out of the 10 marks. The main emphasise throughout Shetland Pony Agility is the horsemanship skills of the handler. How you present the pony to the obstacle, what you do and how you deal with things if they don't go according to plan. Your Leading position is marked at all times. Unless otherwise stated, your pony should remain along side you, on a relaxed rein, his nose level with your shoulder, not pulling or lagging behind. Agility is never about just "doing" an obstacle, it is about your relationship with your pony. Our aim is to help you achieve a high standard of horsemanship. The other 4 marks are for effectiveness, this is how you completed the obstacle according to the requirements of your class, for example, in the Newcomers and Novice levels, the requirements are kept simple, and may only include one halt and immobility at only one of the obstacles. This is to encourage you and your pony and allow you to progress through the different levels of agility. The last 10 marks are for "expression" The expression of a pony preforming agility should be one of curiosity and interest. Some of the obstacles may be scary but we don't want to be scaring him. Your trust based relationship will often be put to the test, your pony should look at the obstacle and then look to you and ask "is it ok?" Low marks are awarded for over expression to much excitability, or under expression a dull uninterested pony, therefore be careful not to over train your pony, keep your training sessions short, interesting and POSITIVE.