What is competitive trail riding like?
Title says it all, what is competitive trail riding like? :)
A lot of what a CTR is like depends on what region/organization you are riding with.
Around here, the local organization (ECTRA) doesn't do things like judged obstacles on trail and specific camp site rules like other organizations do. They do give you a pace window you need to fall into to not lose points and they do the hands-on exams. Most CTRs here offer a variety of distance options (12-15 miles, 1 day 25, 2-day 50, 3-day 80 or 100).
I just did the Glass Ride CTR 2-day 50 over the weekend. That thread (with pictures and video) can be found here. I did the Chesapeake CTR 2-day 50 back in sept and that thread can be found here.
As Phantom said, CTR can really vary by the organization that is putting on the ride. Look into who is sponsoring the ride and what their organization rules are.
I enjoyed doing NATRC for a number of years when I got back into horse. My biggest complaint was that the only NATRC ride in Utah was the one I put one. I lost interest in competing when I had to travel out of the state to Colorado and New Mexico for every ride. That became a 5-10 hour haul each direction. I tolerated that when diesel was 80¢ a gallon. But I have no interest in long trailer hauls when fuel is over $3.50 a gallon.
NATRC rides are mostly weekend events. You show up Friday night, check in and ride Saturday and Sunday. Awards are given out Sunday afternoon and you head home. Most rides are around 40-50 miles over two days, Saturday being longer than Sunday.
You have two judges, One is a Vet and judges the horses conditioning, The second is a Horsemanship judge and will judge how well you and your horse deal with the various obstacles. You are judge on how you camp and care for your horse as well as your time in the saddle. I think it is great experience for anybody who camps with horses to learn how to take care of their horse in camp and on the trail.
This last ride I was at gave you a window of 4:40 to 5:10 to complete the 25 miles, plus had a 30 min hold.. so that means you had to cover 25 miles in 4:10 (250 minutes) to 4:40 (280 minutes). That means "max" average pace was 10 minutes per mile (6mph) and "min" average pace was 11.2 minutes per mile (5.4 mph).
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