For this week’s blog post I will take you through an article from IVC Carriage. Myrna Rhinehart guides us in her advice for the ultimate cones course tactics. If you’re just a beginner Myrna recommends going through the cones course without your cart 1st and using “cotton long lines with rolled ends.” Also, I find it important that when you are long-lining, through a course on just in a 20 meter circle, you should never leave slack of the long-lines behind you. This can be an accident waiting to happen if your horse takes off or it can become a tripping hazard for you. Be sure to only let the remaining bit of your reins dangle to your shins.
Myrna also mentions the key use of verbal cues when going through an obstacle. For me, personally, I like to use “step G” when making a hard right and “step ha” when going left. With practice you can associate any phrase or word with a command. Find what works for you and remain consistent with it.
Whether you are just starting a horse on cones or getting a seasoned horse back in shape, it can be beneficial to start with a small number of sets of cones and to make them wide. One point Myrna makes that I really like is, “I don’t want the horse to associate cones with excitement and stress.” To avoid this, Myrna puts sets of cones in her warm up and then walks through them after. This will show the horse he/she can be relaxed when doing the obstacle. Now you don’t want to hit any cones because that can, ultimately, lead to major deductions on the judges card. Starting off wide will teach you and your horse the width of your cart and timing going through each one.
If you’re looking for further tips and instructions on topics with cones including: proper form/bending, “going faster and tighter,” and what to and not to do at your first competition, checkout the link below.