What is the difference between Trail Trials and a Trail Horse Challenge?
A Trail Trial, most of the time, is a trail ride with natural obstacles that are found only while riding a horse trail that is limited to several miles. (3-6 mile trail lasting 2-4 hours to complete) Similar rules to NATRC rides. (15- 50 miles, which requires conditioning of both rider and trail horse.)
A Trail Horse Challenge is confined to a smaller area or horse arena, that will have a trail course of both natural and man made obstacles. It challenges both rider and trail horse in confidence, control, agility, and horsemanship. A Trail Horse Challenge course is completed in minutes depending on number of trail obstacles. Perfect for busy trail riders that don't have the time to condition their horse for long trail rides. Multiple trail courses may be entered for a full day of challenging trail horse obstacle fun.
What Trail Riding Division do I ride at Bridlewood's Trail Horse Challenge?
Bridlewood has three ranges of divisions and obstacles. Your choice of division will determine the challenge degree of the trail horse obstacle. Each class that you enter may have a different course and trail obstacles to complete. Each class may have 3 three divisions. Obstacles should be a challenge for both rider and horse. This is how Bridlewood has defined the trail horse challenge divisions: Green, Pleasure Rider, Open.
Green- Trail Horse or Trail Rider that have been under saddle, or riding for less than 5 years.*
Pleasure Rider- Trail Horse and Trail Rider both have been under saddle or have ridden for over 5 years.*
Open- A rider that has accepted money for lessons or advice in horsemanship or training, Professional trainers. Horse that has won in any type of trail horse class. Trail horse and rider with multiple hours of trail riding experience.
*Horse or Rider that consistently wins their division at Bridlewood Challenges, will be moved into the next division.
Trail Course Class Options
Colored trail horse (palominos, paints, buckskin, appaloosa, etc)
Solid colored trail horse
Riding for the Brand (Barn, Stable, Business, Club)
Gaited Trail Horses
Tapadero Trail Rider- 13 and under
Trail Explorer- Rider- over 13 to 49
Rusty Stirrup (over 50 riders)
Trail Horse Family (any combination of 2 riders)
Trail Riding Partners (pair of horse & riders)
Trail Rider with pony horse (pony your horse's buddy!)
Trail Horse For Sale
Jackpot Trail Horse
Ride For the Time
Schooling (at will, after the Challenge Show)
I do not have a trail obstacle course. May I practice at Bridlewood?
You may ride at Bridlewood Equestrian anytime. A reminder that Bridlewood Equestrian is a locked facility for the protection of our boarders and horses, so call first for entry requirements. (Coggins & liability releases) We do have a "pull in fee" of $20. rider/horse, or $100 per month membership, to use the entire facility. (4H riders are free, must be current with 4H club.) Under 18 riders must have a adult or trainer. (we do recommend helmets)
*During our Trail Challenge events, horses will not be allowed on the obstacle course 2 days prior to competing. During the competition, only horses "on course" are allowed. Riders on foot only. Visitors and auditors may set up their on chairs to watch the fun, but remember, no on-course coaching! Just cheering!
What kind of riding skills should I practice to ride a trail challenge?
The three divisions decide the difficulty of each obstacle. Example of a backing obstacle:
Green- May be asked to back-up 3 steps.
Pleasure Rider- May be asked to back thru ground poles.
Open - May be asked to back-up between ground poles on a up-hill incline.
- Stop - responds to halt cues without argument.
- Be able to ask horse to stand quietly on level ground or a raised surface.
- Execute all gaits calmly and as directed. All gaits natural to a breed are acceptable.
- Be able to move the horse laterally (side to side) mounted or in-hand.
- Make turns on the forehand and/or the hindquarters.
- Be able to back a horse in a straight line and/or around corners.
- Horse should be able to complete obstacles mounted as well as in-hand.
All riders should be prepared for a tack check which includes halter or halter bridle, lead line, hoof pick, trail knife (for adults), helmet recommended. Breast collar, cinch, flank, bridle, bit should be safe and fit properly. Horses should have well fitted tack, no rubs or abrasions from the tack should be evident.
Your horse should be clean and free of any debris that could cause rubs. Tack and dress appropriately for trail riding.
This is learning Fun! Don't take it too serious!