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365 Days in Horse Country – Trail Trials

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | December 30th, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Trail Trials



Trail riding is the number one pastime of horse owners, so it’s no wonder that competitions have been created to help encourage training of good trail horses.

One of these competitions is trail trials.  Held by different regional organizations around the country, trail trials test the willingness, sensibility, and obedience of the trail horses.

Trail trials are obstacle course competitions that take place over a several kilometers trail route.  To participate in a trail trial, you need a good- well-trained trail horse, and you need the skills to handle a horse in different trail situations.

At a trial, you may be asked to cross water and bridges, step over logs, walk through tunnels, and negotiate hills.

At trail trials, judges often ask riders to perform certain tasks such as opening and closing a gate while mounted, or dragging a tire or log.  Horses must also be led from the ground, be willing to lift their feet quietly when asked, and stand tied without fussing.

Many clubs that offer trail trials sponsor clinics that allow riders to enroll their horses and spend a few hours learning how to perform the required tasks.