Horseback Riding

Is There an AQHA Trail Challenge Near You?

February 25, 2013

Attend – or host – one of these great horseback riding events.

Double your hours on an AQHA trail ride or Trail Challenge for the AQHA HBR Program! Journal photo.

The Trail Challenge enhances horsemanship skills riders need while encouraging education, safety and fun on the trail. Journal photo.

Attention Horseback Riding Program Participants:

AQHA is undergoing a database upgrade February 15-28. During this time, you will be unable to log your Horseback Riding Program hours via AQHA’s website. Please keep a record of the hours you log, and submit your hours in March when our system is up and running. Or, you may fax your log to (806) 349-6403. Thanks for your patience, and happy riding!

As spring approaches, AQHA’s Trail Challenge calendar is beginning to fill up for 2013. These popular events test a horse and rider’s ability to work as a team and navigate natural obstacles they might encounter on the trail.

See if there’s one near you, and if there’s not, we encourage you to contact AQHA’s Crystal Latham at (806) 378-4711 or clatham@aqha.org for information on how to host an AQHA Trail Challenge.

Remember, while participating in an AQHA Trail Challenge, you can also log your time in the saddle for the AQHA Horseback Riding Program and watch more rewards stack up.

Important tools on the trail often include a halter. If you are looking to buying a rope halter, why not just make your own? With AQHA’s FREE How to Make a Rope Halter report you can follow the easy steps for making your own knotted rope halter for horses.

What Is a Trail Challenge?

The purpose of a Trail Challenge is to enhance the horsemanship skills riders need while encouraging education, safety and fun on the trail.

There are generally six to 16 obstacles in any given Trail Challenge, depending on the land and terrain of the host location. A judge or judges (determined by the number of obstacles) are located throughout the course, evaluating a rider’s skills to maneuver his horse through the obstacle. Each horse and rider team starts out with a score of 70 and then receives additions or deductions, depending on how the obstacles are navigated. The horse and rider partnership with the highest overall score is declared the Trail Challenge winner in each division.

What Are the Divisions?

AQHA will recognize an all-breed division, as well as an American Quarter Horse division at each Trail Challenge. Every division will include a youth and adult category. Within each division, there are three levels:

  • Training level – New horse and rider partnerships
  • Intermediate level – Established horse and rider partnerships
  • Master level – Partnerships ready for a more demanding course

How Do I Earn Awards?

Riders must be an AQHA or AQHYA member in order to participate. Those aboard American Quarter Horses will have the chance to earn Trail Challenge Merits to be put on the horse’s permanent AQHA record.

Training for a Challenge

America’s Horse magazine, which goes exclusively to AQHA members, will feature a two-part series on training for a Trail Challenge, beginning in the March-April issue. Look for AQHA Professional Horseman Mark Bolender of Silver Creek, Washington, to offer tips that start with the fundamentals of good riding. Not a member? Join now so you don’t miss these stories and other great recreational riding training tips – and so you can participate in your own AQHA

Trail Challenge!

Practical and inexpensive, rope halters are a time-honored tradition for many horsemen and a wonderful training tool. In AQHA’s FREE How to Make a Rope Halter report, each step includes a full-color photo to help guide you through the process.

More AQHA Trail Challenges are being added to the schedule, so visit www.aqha.com/riding regularly to see what’s new.

2013 schedule

March 22-24, Charles City, Virginia

March 23-24, Eloy, Arizona

April 14, Silver Creek, Washington

May 26, Silver Creek, Washington

June 15, Pickford, Michigan

June 23, Silver Creek, Washington

June 29, Pickford, Michigan

July 21, Silver Creek, Washington

August 25, Silver Creek, Washington

September 15, Silver Creek, Washington