Control of Paces – Slow Canter, Fast Walk
This section is a simple test of how slowly your horse can canter and how quickly it can walk, without breaking into trot from either pace. It is measured through a corridor of up to 150m in length, and between 2 and 2.20m in width. See the rulebook for the points scored for canter and walk times respectively.
You will canter away from the start, and walk back. Time starts and ends between the pairs of flags at each end of the corridor.
Don’t stray out of the corridor, and don’t break into trot. If you feel like you are doing well in the canter then don’t be afraid to kick on for the last few strides, to ensure that you finish in canter, rather than break pace 10 yards from the end to score zero!
PTV – Obstacle Course
Give it a go!
There will be 16 obstacles, to be done in a certain order. Generally, you should aim to canter between the obstacles, then come back to walk or trot in good time to present your horse correctly at each one. Red flags to the right, white flags to the left. Once you’ve passed through the flags at the start of an obstacle, if you then break pace/stop/fall, you will lose points – see the rulebook for the scoring systems for different types of obstacle.
If you don’t want to attempt an obstacle then you don’t have to do it – you must however stop at the obstacle and tell the judge clearly that you will not be attempting. If you simply ride past and shout over your shoulder you will be judged as though you took the wrong course and get 0 points for the whole phase. If your horse never loads in a trailer, won’t go through water at home, or has never jumped before, he’s unlikely to do it well in competition, so you can opt out of any obstacle you don’t like the look of and you will just score zero for that one.
You can’t score minus points at obstacles for getting them wrong, just zero, so if you and your horse are feeling happy and confident then do try the ones that maybe you weren’t sure about at the start. The only time a judge will award a score of less than zero is if brutality or dangerous conduct is observed at an obstacle. Don’t waste time at ‘sticky’ obstacles – if your horse is saying no, then leave it for another day and work on the issues at home. Similarly, if you feel yourself getting anxious or angry with your horse at an obstacle, just take a deep breath, stand still and tell the judge you’ll bypass it. Each obstacle is only worth 2% of the total marks available in the whole event. This is a tiny amount, and it’s perfectly possible to get placed even with some low or zero scores on your card as everybody has different strengths and weaknesses.
A few points to remember:
Safety is always paramount. Remember to stay out of the way of the horse if he could jump up/down/over an obstacle while you are leading.
When leading you can choose to take the reins over the head or use a leadrope, unless the horse wears a running martingale – then you must secure the reins and lead from the rope.
Always secure your stirrups so that they do not flap around – either cross them or run them up securely. You will lose points for flapping stirrups, unless using a Western saddle.
The water, footbridges, S-bend and trailer MUST be negotiated at walk. On inclines, make sure you go in a straight line between entry and exit flags. Jumping obstacles must be jumped, rather than stepped/climbed over. If your horse is inexperienced and the jump is small enough, have a go for experience and just be aware that the score for that obstacle may not be very high. Ditches can be jumped or walked through – it depends on you and your horse’s preference.
This is a timed obstacle course, the speed will be clearly displayed but the intention is that riders will canter between obstacles. Time penalties are deducted from your total PTV score if you are over the optimum time, at the rate of 5 for the first minute (or part thereof) over the time, 10 penalties for the next minute or part, and another 15 penalties for third minute or part of. So 3 minutes over the time = 30 penalties, after that no further time penalties are incurred.
If you would like to have a go at some obstacles or start to improve your scores, come along to one of our training days, or you can book Evie or Kathryn for your own training. See the events diary for more details.
This guide was written by Evie O’Keeffe and may be linked to, but not reproduced elsewhere, without prior permission.