For this month's course I'm going to share one of my courses. I recently drew this course for the Region 5 Arabian & Half Arabian Championships is Monroe, Washington. I was also the judge for this class. The show had great equipment which added to the prestige of the event.
Obstacles 1 & 2 made for a combination of technical efforts; walk/overs, bridge, back, and walk/overs.
Obstacle 3 is quite a lope/over challenge and big change in gears from the first two obstacles. I first saw this obstacle in this configuration on Robert Dehn's Paint World Course. I was so impressed with these lope/overs, I've used them in a couple of courses this year.
The jog overs of obstacle 4 served as a transition to the gate (#5). The left u-turn and the sharp right turn to the gate made the gate obstacle more difficult as the horse needed to settle immediately to execute.
I like to put one "retro" obstacle in all my courses when I can. The cattle guard jump (#6) served that role. When I was a teenager and a young trainer in my 20's we use to see them periodically on trail courses.
At home, when we school the lope/overs of #7 we call it the "ribbon of darkness". It is challenging but beautiful to watch when done well. A horse needs to have a high level of confidence to execute this obstacle well. They have to rate, then throttle down to make the turn and rate again for the second half of the obstacle. They do this all on a diagonal which serves as an optical challenge.
The final obstacle is a serpentine variation that is popular in modern day courses. It was interesting to see which horse could downshift and readily steer after performing the lope over obstacle.