• The main OLHA league will consist only of courses completed ‘on the lead rein’ (including Advanced 1 Star course), there will no longer be a Liberty element to this league
• Competitors may join the Liberty Trophy competition at any time of the year and start competing at any level they choose
• First prize winners at each level (Bronze, Silver, Gold) get a Liberty medal.
The Liberty Cup will become the Liberty Trophy in 2014
As usual the judge is looking for free flowing movement both within and between obstacles. Treats and touch may be used to reward the horse within the obstacle but not between so that flow is maintained and there is no possibility of the food being used to keep the horse connected to the handler or that the touch is manoeuvring the horse. At any time the horse loses contact with the handler between obstacles this is called a break and one mark is deducted. This is taken from the next obstacle’s score.
There are ten obstacles in the competition Liberty Trophy competition course.
There are three levels in which to compete:
Competitors can easily see what level they are at (Bronze, Silver or Gold) by looking at the League table and seeing what their cumulative league point total is and checking it against the table below.
Bronze level is 0 – 40 Liberty Trophy league points
Silver level is 41 -120 Liberty Trophy league points
Gold Level is 121+ Liberty Trophy league points
The Bronze course is the equivalent of Starter Level
The Silver course is the equivalent of Medium Level
The Gold course is the equivalent of Advanced One Star Level
Bronze level competitors may have a headcollar and/or a neckrope* on the horse to correct and guide him but every time it is used in this way they will lose a point.
Silver level may use a neck rope with the same caveats as those at Bronze level.
Gold level will have no equipment on the horse at all.
*A neck rope is a long lead rope that forms a loop around the horse’s neck. It should ideally lie loosely on the shoulders but may be anywhere from the behind the ears to the withers. Every time this rope goes tight marks will be deducted.
Competitors may join the Liberty Trophy competition at any time of the year and start competing at any level they choose. However once they have entered at a level they cannot move from that level unless they are promoted by gaining league points within the Liberty Trophy competition. For example, a team may not enter at Gold level one month and then Bronze the next.
The league points are awarded as follows:
These league points are cumulative through the year so that competitors can rise up through the levels, they are added to the lifetime points as happens now and will affect the team level in the ‘On Lead Rein’ League and ‘Real-time’ competitions.
Everyone gets rosettes as usual and all first prize winners at each level (Bronze, Silver, Gold) receive a Liberty medal. At the end of the year the highest placed competitor wins the Liberty Trophy.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Horse Agility Summer of Sport 2013.
We received over 200 entries and the quality of horsemanship was superb!
In classes ranging from Show jumping, to Long reining and a bit of Dancing and Gambling thrown in, a lot of fun was had by all – including our horses!
The brand new equestrian sport of Equagility , made its first appearance producing a huge number of entries. In Equagility handler and horse negotiate an obstacle course on foot before the handler becomes a rider and goes over the obstacles again – all without saddles and bridles! Very inspiring and a glimpse of the future for us all!
With Specially commissioned Summer of Sport Rosettes for every entrant and Limited Edition T shirts for all the first prize winners, every competitor receives a keepsake to remember the fun they’ve had.
Thank you to everyone for helping us make the sport of Horse Agility such fun to be a part of.
The highest placed competitors in the Top one hundred of the half year league are as follows:
Canada: Beth Smith & Desi
Great Britain: Sarah Davies & Blue
USA: Adriana Anthony & Mattie
New Zealand: Hertha James Boots
Austria: Michaela Res & Cayenne
Belgium: Saskia de Clerq & Zyta
Australia: Karri Nadazdy & Tin Tin
Croatia: Hana Bobinac & Perun
Netherlands: Laura Knoops & Joep
Beth Smith and Desi, of Prince Edward Island, Canada topped the League with a score that was way ahead of any other competitor and we send many congratulations to them both.
Beth and Desi have competed every month and have consistently won their class thus amassing a prize winning score of 305. Beth and Desi have been competing at the highest level of Horse Agility, Advanced One Star level, in which handler and horse complete a course of ten obstacles at liberty just as dogs in their agility classes.
When the Horse Agility Club was launched in December 2009 many said that this would be impossible and now Beth and Desi are proving it is not only possible but the beginning of a whole new way of competing with horses.
The Reserve Champion is from Great Britain. Sarah Davies and her pony Blueearned a most respectable 190 points in the first half of 2013 and are also very highly placed in the Horse Agility Liberty Cup competition which still has another six months to run. Sarah qualified as a HAAT (Horse Agility Accredited Trainer) earlier this year and is proving to be a popular coach for those who want to excel in this sport.
Our Junior World Champion is 15 year old Adriana Anthony from Arizona in the US. Adriana and her pony Mattie (166 points) have a long and happy relationship but as Adriana grew up she really did not want to part company with her childhood friend, Horse Agility has given them both a fun way to still compete. Adrianna is an exceptional horse handler and we lok forward to seeing her compete for many years to come.
Special Awards sponsored by Sarah Davies of
Sensible Horsemanship go to:
Highest placed Amateur (non HAAT) North America:
The Horse Agility Club has become acutely aware in recent weeks of presence of a great deal of misleading, inaccurate and in some instances, totally wrong information circulating about the sport and in particular, our new Liberty Cup competition and associated scoring.
As a result of this there has been much confusion amongst our members and it’s time to set the record straight.
It’s important to always keep in mind the advice or information on the sport provided by individuals who are not actively involved with Horse Agility or do not have the level of knowledge required to make judgments on complex issues, can lead to misunderstandings. If our members have questions regarding any aspect of the sport, it is best to first address them directly to the club.
Why was the Liberty Cup introduced?
- It was an important introduction to ensure that Advance 1 Star level teams weren’t bound to competing in two Liberty classes each month, just to remain competitive in the 6 month OLHA International League. League points earned in the Liberty Cup are no longer counted as part of the main OLHA International league.
- Competitors of all levels could take part in a single competition, completing the same course and perhaps at the end of the yearlong competition, be in with chance of winning prizes.
Clearing up some myths about Horse Agility Competition
Myth 1: The handicapped scoring for Liberty Cup also applies to the main OLHA League.
It doesn’t. The scoring structure for the main OLHA league remains unchanged from last year.
Myth 2: I’ll never be able to achieve the perfect 100 score in the Liberty Cup class.
When the results are released your original score is published right next to your adjusted score. Your adjusted score is only used to determine your cup points and your position in the class relative to competitors of other abilities.
Myth 3: The main OLHA league isn’t fair; Advanced 1 Star competitors get the most points.
As our most elite competitors, our Advanced 1 Star teams compete each month on the most technically demanding course, at Liberty and against the clock. This is the start of pure Horse Agility and what they have been building towards as they progressed through the preceding levels.
As such, we award league points which match the complexity and difficultly of the course. As you move up through the levels your horsemanship will improve and as you do, you accumulate league points which reflect the difficultly of the courses you complete.
Now that our OLHA league has been split into two competitions each year, you wont have to wait until January to have another go at getting to the top of the league.
Myth 4: The handicap that the Club has set for the Advanced competitors (-10) makes it impossible for them to win a class.
Myth 5: That handicapping is something new and rarely used in other sports.
Wherever competitors of varying abilities meet to compete on the same stage, there is in countless instances a form of handicapping in place, which keeps competition fair and exactly what is says- a competition. From golf, to horse racing, to motor racing, handicaps are used to level the playing field and give all competitors a chance to shine.
It all comes down to maths and facts.
The club scrutinised and analysed scores from teams of all levels competing in last year’s Liberty classes. Handicap values were derived from the average scores of each ability level, applying the handicap to each team’s score means that we create a level playing field where teams that excel in the class can be rewarded accordingly.
The results in Liberty classes last year show that the top places were consistently taken by those teams of the highest ability levels, with the introduction of the dedicated Liberty course for our Advanced 1 Star teams, the club decided that a change was required to the existing Liberty class and the result was the Liberty Cup.
Thank you for your support and we look forward as always to seeing your entries.
This article relates to scoring in the new Liberty Cup, scoring in the main OLHA league competition remains unchanged.
Having looked at all the ideas and suggestions that have been sent to the club about the handicapping of the liberty entries in the OLHA! competitions the club became aware of two issues:
- The liberty results skew the OLHA! league places and upset the balance of the league because it is in fact an OPEN class with no handicap, in other words everyone at any level competes together, this is unfair, there needs to be a handicapping system.
- Most of the suggestions were either based on gut instinct (rather than mathematics) or were designed to help the member have more likelihood of winning (understandably!).
Finding a Solution
So the Horse Agility Club Team sat down and worked through every liberty entry for 2012. They needed to find out what the average score was at each level within the liberty classes so that a TRUE handicap system could be proven rather than one based on gut instinct and emotion.
The results were extremely interesting, here’s the maths:
Total number of Entries
Starter – 27 Entries
First – 22 Entries
Medium -25 Entries
Advanced – 41 Entries
Implementing a fair points handicap
To create a true handicap system that puts everyone on a level playing field we look at Starter level which is 85.
All the other levels have to have their scores adjusted to bring them down to that level.
So if we look at first level we can say there is a 5 point score difference so we handicap the First levels -5 points, but Medium also gives away 5 score points so is also handicapped -5 points.
Advanced level is at 95 so needs to give away 10 points to bring them into the same level as the Starters. So our gut instinct was on the right track to levy a -10 point handicap for Advanced One Star, but in reality it needs to be bigger!
We now have the following mathematically worked out handicaps in place:
Advanced 1 Star
If this information is recalculated and added to at the end of every year then, as the sample grows bigger, the handicap can be even more exact right down to fractions of a point. This is the fairest way to apply a handicap because it’s in the numbers provided by the scores.
Introducing the 2013 Liberty Cup
For illustrative purposes
Because the Liberty results skew the League there will be a completely separate Liberty league called the Liberty Cup with the winner actually winning a Cup at the end of the year.
So from the end of February 2013 (incorporating the end of February Liberty class results) all Liberty entries will be handicapped according to their level (see above) and entered into a separate league.
No longer will the liberty class league points be added into the main levels OLHA! League because they now have their own league they will however be added to lifetime points as usual.
How will league points be awarded?
The league points awarded for each place will be as per the Team level, so if an Advanced competitor comes First he will get 48 points, if it’s a Starter level they get 13. If the league points were docked as well that would be a double handicap!
League points will be awarded as per the table below:
Please read the rules and regulations through carefully to ensure that you understand what you need to do to enter this class. Visit our Online Horse Agility Competition page to learn more >
There are two classes:
Wild Pony Agility Class 11 Wild Horse Agility Class 12
There is a list of eight obstacles below that you need to source to complete the Wild Agility course. HOWEVER please ensure that you have the landowner’s permission to be there and film (some properties do not allow filming or you may require a permit to do so). It is your responsibility to ensure that you, your horse and other land users are kept safe. In other words CLOSE THE GATE!!!
The League Points awarded will be the same as those awarded in the liberty classes.
You may work at liberty or on line for the April competition, you can do one obstacle on a lead rope and another at liberty as the fancy takes you. You do not need to stick to one or other throughout the whole video. The judges will look for looseness in the leadrope as usual and a connection between the horse and handler when working at liberty.
Each obstacle can be filmed in isolation but must then edited together in the order given below. This gives you the opportunity to film until you get the best bit then send it in. It’s what the Pignons, Hempfling and Honza do – so that’s good enough for us!!
As you film each obstacle please ensure that the judges see THE APPROACH, THE OBSTACLE and THE LEAVE.
The obstacles need to be natural in their environment, in other words Urban Wild Agility is quite acceptable. Not everyone has access to wide open countryside so working in an urban setting is great! However no contrived settings will be allowed. For example in the weave through five trees, you could use five parking meters or bollards but setting up a cone weave out of context would be unacceptable.
ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FOR YOU, YOUR HORSE AND OTHER PEOPLE.
Also please make sure you have the relevant insurance cover for your country. In the UK you may not be insured to be on the road or any other public space without a bit in your horse’s mouth. The Horse Agility Plus Insurance will cover you for this as it was designed with Wild Agility in mind.
Here are April’s eight obstacles:
1.Trot to a gate which opens into a wide open space, stop. Open the gate, send the horse through to circle around and come back to you, and shut the gate – not taking your hand off the gate.
2.Jump a fallen tree/log or other solid obstacle.
3.Horse to do a figure of eight round two trees, two rocks, dustbins (garbage bins) or other objects natural in that environment, while handler stands still.
4.Cross a stream or other water feature. In desert or frozen areas please find a dramatic change in surface that the horse needs to travel over or through.
5.Canter/run across a wide open space with your horse, safely. Judge must see start and finish with the horse and handler standing together.
6.Weave through five trees or other natural feature at trot.
7.Send your horse down a slope ask him to turn and come back to you.
8.Run through a wild area of trees and undergrowth. If you are in an urban setting you may need to get your thinking caps on here. The feeling must be of the horse and handler traveling together as a team, at speed, through a jumbled area!
As in the Liberty Classes the judges are looking for loose free movement in horse and handler – a feeling of flow. The judges want to be thrilled and excited by these videos so get cracking!
This is your opportunity to be creative and produce a video as good as any of those out there. The Horse Agility Club knows you can do it! Show the world how good you are!
From January 2012 anyone who enters any competition in Starter class, provided they are a full club member, will get 1 bonus league point for entering each class. Why? You are probably asking, well Vanessa Bee explains.
There have been many people who have entered competitions throughout the year and made great improvements but because of the sizes of the classes they never get a league point. This is discouraging because getting league points means you move up to the next level, so basically they are stuck.
There is one competitor who has competed 8 times and has gone from scoring round the 70 mark to just over 90 but still hasn’t got a league point so is stuck in Starter Level. This isn’t because she isn’t any good it’s because new competitors have more experience at this and just keep her out of the top 6 places that award points, this is so frustrating because she is ready for the next level. That way everyone has a chance of moving up, after 12 competitions they have enough feedback and experience to be able to move up a level.
I think this was the most enjoyable OLHA! judging to date due to the Halloween theme. Thank you for everyone who got into the spirit (pun definitely intended!) of the event especially the Prince Edward Island group who all did the course in fancy dress – horses included.The Medium Level and Liberty Courses were particularly challenging and I congratulate everyone who made such a brilliant attempt at them.
The November courses will be up within the next day or so I’ll give you a bit of a breather this month to get your strength up for the December holiday, it’s time to start thinking about some Christmas decorations to entertain me even more! The League finishes at the end of December and starts again for 2012. The places at the top are pretty close and with our big cash prize (courtesy of Leasefield Farm Holidays) shared between the first three it’s going to be a race to the finish! Click here to view the results…
Vanessa Bee – Founder The International Horse Agility Club