A trail horse challenge will put your horsemanship skills to the ultimate test! Riders and those leading their horses from the ground should expect a series of natural and manmade obstacles in an arena. Your job is to maneuver through them while being judged on how well your horse completed it and how long it took you. Many shows have different divisions for the range of experience levels.
Check out some trail obstacles you might find in the competition:
- Pool Noodles- You may be required to walk your horse through a half dozen or so colorful pool noodles. This can include noodles coming from overhead, on the sides, and on the ground. Your horse will have to remain confident as they rub against his body.
- Gate- Riders walk up to a gate, unlatch it, open it, and successfully close it. Ideally, the rider’s hand remains on the gate during the entire process.
- Bridge- The horse confidently walks overtop a bridge. It could be smaller and lay on the ground or raised. More experienced horses will be asked to stop and stand in the middle for three seconds.
- Railroad Ties- A series of ground poles that can range from railroad ties to logs are laid in a row. The horse is asked to walk through them without hitting his hooves.
- Water- With many entrances and exits, a good water obstacle will have excellent footing and test a range of rider and horse levels. The horse may be required to put his front hooves in the water, walk through a shallow end, or walk through a deep end.
These trail obstacles will put you and your horse’s relationship to the test. They can be a fun way to strengthen training skills and your bond!