Introducing The International Horse Agility Club
By Founder Vanessa Bee
We ran our first horse agility playday way back in February 2003 and have used the obstacles and training skills in our horsemanship courses since then. It was only in December 2009 that I asked myself if anyone in the world had ever devised this as a standardized competition and to my amazement no one had -so my vocation was shown to me.
The Horse Agility Club was launched almost immediately with its primary aim to bring together people who have been practicing horse agility worldwide and support those who would like to become part of a competitive arm to develop it as a well organized, structured and standardized sport.
Horse Agility brings together people who have been practicing horse agility worldwide and support those who would like to become part of a competitive arm. The Club now has over 500 members in the UK and with overseas, 40 registered instructors and over 800 horses registered as Agility Horses. Horse Agility is not just about playing with horses it strengthens the bond between horse and handler without gadgets or quick fixes, indeed the aim of Horse Agility always is for the horse to run completely free of any restraint, directed round a course of obstacles by the handler.
But that is not where we start, the loose horse running freely beside a handler is the dramatic public face of the sport but supporting this image are many participants starting their learning with the horse on a lead rope slowly negotiating obstacles. This level is just as valid to support as the high level competitor indeed good solid early training is vital to achieve a polished finished product.
People and their horses will have fun just playing together over obstacles and some will take it further to compete at the highest levels all are important here.
This is a very powerful sport but always we think of the emotional welfare of the horses and their handlers being positive about the standards they have achieved and offering support to help them move on.