Agility Leading is the first step and it requires a set of consistent signals based in body language to communicate directional and speed changes without bringing the rope into play. Easier said than done, at least for me. I was on unfamiliar territory and, even though she was patient with me, all I heard from Jalila was: Which hand points the way? What? Why are you over there? What-Is-UP-With-You?
My first efforts left me completely demoralized. The loose line idea is so foreign to me! Vanessa Bee says: Leave your wands and your clickers by the hitching post. You will be far too busy communicating with your horse to be bothered with them.
BUT since I am not competition bound and Jalila and I have a history with clicker training, I decided to find something she could target that would also help me focus and be more consistent while establishing a set of signals. Wands and ropes serve other purposes for us. I needed something entirely new for this new activity. I looked at a lot of expensive options and finally settled on a 69-cent purple fly swatter! It turned out to be the perfect solution. See for yourself in this short video.
We’re a long way from going off lead, but we are getting the basics down and learning a lot about each other in the process.