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Trail Trials - A Family-Friendly, Easy-Going Event

November 10, 2008
Friends can ride together between obstacles.
Friends can ride together between obstacles.

Wouldn’t it be great to forget about those uncomfortable show clothes, use your everyday working tack, and ride with your whole family and several good friends in a relaxed setting with a friendly element of competition? You can do all this when you participate in Trail Trials, one of the fastest growing riding events today.

In a Trail Trials event, riders are judged individually on their skills and abilities to guide their horses calmly and safely through 10 to 12 obstacles along a trail that is located outdoors in a park or other natural setting. Obstacles include such things as walking over logs, opening and passing through gates, riding in and out of ravines, and crossing creeks. A judge is stationed at each obstacle and instructs riders, who are categorized by age and ability, on how to proceed through the obstacle. The judge then watches to see how well the rider and horse perform, with an emphasis on calmness and safety. Finally, the judge records the results on a form. This not a timed event but is casual in nature for both the horse and rider.

A saddle and bridle are required, but the style of tack is up to the rider. Riders are also required to have a halter or halter-bridle, lead rope, knife, and hoof pick with them at all times on the ride. Helmet use is recommended and encouraged.

“I’ve spent most of my life riding horses; the rest I’ve wasted,” might be a quote from any horse lover, but it is especially descriptive of the avid Trail Trial rider of today. Trail Trials is a great way to get out and ride — and have fun, too!

Do a Trail Trials obstacle in 4 basic steps

1. Receive your obstacle instructions.
2. Check your cinch.
3. Proceed.
4. Thank the judge.

The California State Horsemen’s Association (C.S.H.A.) has a fully-recognized Trail Trials program. Check out www.trailtrials.com for all the details.
See you on the trail!