Competitive Trail Riding-- Help??

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Competitive Trail Riding-- Help??

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  • How to condition the competitive trail horse
  • Trail riding help

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    06-26-2009, 09:39 AM
Competitive Trail Riding-- Help??

Hi everyone!
I was thinking of starting to do competitive trail riding with my pony. But I was wondering how I get into it and how to find ones that are within an hour or two of where I live. I live in York, PA. I was also wondering, what are they normally like? Are they rocky? Lots of hills? Lots of water? Jumps? A lot of flat land or what? It doesn't matter to me as my pony will go on any terrain just fine, I was just wondering. How much do they generally cost?

Also, could some people send me there work out schedule for their horse to condition them for these? A girl at my barn might be helping me get a workout schedule figured out for my pony, but im not positive yet. But I think my pony can get through it pretty easily, we normally do 6-7mile paper chases and after them she isn't breathing too hard and she still wants to go out and run. But I want her to be in good physical shape for this since they are a lot longer.

What type of saddle and other tack do you recommend for these? DO I need boots of any kind?

Any other help and tips would be great! Thanks everyone! Also, I am an experienced rider, I have been riding for 9 years, mainly english hunter/jumper. I own a 2 horses. I show a lot and always in the ribbons(not bragging). I just think my pony would be very good for this. Thanks everyone!!
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    06-26-2009, 10:54 AM
The terrain depends on the area you live in. I love Hunter Paces.. wear boots. And there are usually jumps out on course (XC-type jumps) and therefore wear what you normally wear when hacking, just add boots if you don't normally. They add support for the rough terrain and for the jumps if you decide to jump them.

To condition go on trail rides around your barn and trot through the trails. Trotting or even walking up slight (but long) hills helps a ton. Good luck! Don't ride too hard a day or two before though, hunter paces are usually really long and the horse will tire if they've been working too hard at home. Go in a group and you'll be all set. Sometimes they have a little "competition" before you head out on the trail where you have to lead your horse through cones and back them up, etc. It's kind of like an in-hand class.

To find hunter paces around you try looking at the USEA site for your area. Pennsylvania? I believe that's area 2.. I'm not sure how helpful the other area sites are, but the website for my area (area 1) is very helpful with tons of competitions listed. Or just look up "Pennsylvania Hunter Paces 2009" on google.
    06-26-2009, 11:22 AM
Alright, thanks!!

I usually use splint boots when I do the paper chases, but that is just because everyone at my barn does and we all use the same color stuff to coordinate and be cute.

Would my pony need to be shoed for comp. Trail riding? She has never had shoes before and they are VERY tough. They have never cracked, chipped or anything and she's not sensitive on rocks or anything.
    06-26-2009, 02:28 PM
Most likely ask your farrier, just in case, if you were planning on doing hunter paces more than once. If you are only planning on doing one, don't change anything just for one day. Most likely, though, if your farrier says your horse's feet are tough then no - My horse doesn't need shoes unless I want to do professional driving with him! Which I don't. Some horses hooves are in good condition, and it seems like your pony has good feet as well.
    06-26-2009, 08:05 PM
Well, I was more interested in competitive trail riding than hunter paces. I know they are kind of the same, but not a whole lot. Hunter paces are more like paper chases, right??
    06-26-2009, 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by eralcx3    
Well, I was more interested in competitive trail riding than hunter paces. I know they are kind of the same, but not a whole lot. Hunter paces are more like paper chases, right??
I'm not really sure.. I know hunter paces you go out and compete to make a time. I figured competitive trail riding and hunter paces were the same thing.

Do you mean like 4-H trail class? Where you walk over cardboard and have to take mail out of the mailbox?
    06-26-2009, 10:47 PM
No competitive trail riding is its own thing. It is MUCH longer and not so much time based. It is based on how fit the horse is. You get vet checked at the beginning, middle and end of the thing. The horse that wins is the one that recovers the fastest from everything. I just don't know a WHOLE lot about it, so I was asking if anyone could help me out with the questions I have in the original post and anything extra.
    06-26-2009, 11:31 PM
Go to for details of North American Trail Riding Conference. They host Competitive Trail rides across America. If they don't hold events in your area, search for other organizations that hold similar events in your area.

Competetive Trail Riding is more like a Road Rally. It's an event, ( here in the west they are usually weekend events.) Where you and your horse compete over a couse. Usually 40 miles for Novice and 50 miles of Open classes over a two day ride. It depends a lot of where the event is held, how rough the terrain is etc. The novice course will be timed at a slower pass, while the Open class will move at a slightly faster speed.

Horses are judged on their conditioning and ability to handle various obsticles. Riders are judged on their horsemanship skills. Judges will observe you before the ride, during the ride and at the end of the ride. Usually a vet will check the horse for metabolics such as Respiration, heart rate, hydration and gut sounds. They will also look at the horse at the end of each days ride looking for lameness, swelling, filling etc.

You as a rider will be judged on how you handle and care for your horse.

If your horse can handle a good 15-20 mile ride with out problems, He should be able to handle a Competitive Trail Ride. Being able to do a brisk walk with occassional stretches at a trot will be all you will ask him to do.

Competitive Trail Riding is NOT a race. All riders will complete the course in the same time. Too fast or too slow and you are out of the game.

Find a event nearby and go enjoy. If you are worried about it. Go and volunteer to help for one ride to see what goes on. You will have a great time.

Prices will vary a LOT depending on who is hosting the ride. Land use permits, Forest Service fees etc. But you should expect to pay $70-$100 for a competitive trail ride.

Everybody at the ride will be willing to help. Lots of rides in the West offer Mentors to help novice riders on their first few rides.
    06-26-2009, 11:41 PM
Wow! That was a lot of help. Thanks!

My pony constantly walks at a fast pace, we could be riding with the biggest horses with the longest strides and she's still 100 feet infront of them. We always do a lot of trot work and she seems to recover nicely and she's always wants to just go faster. A girl at my barn that has a lot of experience with horses and all different types of riding thinks this if the best thing for her since she has a lot of stamina and will go over, under and through ANYTHING. She has perfect manners for farrier, dentist, vet. Never kicks or bites about anything. It's awesome.

I think the longest ride I have taken her on is about 10miles but those were mostly walking ones. But in the paper chases the most weve done is 7-8 miles and we constantly trotted and cantered those, not too much walking, except down hills and a few other breaks. Then afterwards she still wants to go and do more and that's with about 10-20min of lunging before I even get on her.

But thanks! I will definitely try to find some around me and maybe I will be ready for one by the end of Summer. Yay!
    06-27-2009, 02:38 AM
I went to a CTR clinic, it was fun! Each CTR that comes up is on weekends I can't go so far, so haven't done one other than the clinic yet though.

I was also going to post the website that was already posted for you, that's the best place to check out. I think it'sthat site that has a video about them as well. Have fun! :)

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