Horse Showing

Trail Penalties

November 4, 2009

Learn how you and your horse can avoid penalties in your next trail class.

2008 Junior Trail World Champion Nature Investment with rider Lisa M. Farrel.

2008 Junior Trail World Champion Nature Investment with rider Lisa M. Farrel.

Trail became an AQHA class in 1964, but it began as a test of a horse’s ability to perform daily ranch routines. Because there were no rules to guide course designers, some of the earlier classes included live animals, dismounts and jumps.

Today, trail has evolved into one of the most popular AQHA classes. It puts an emphasis on a horse’s manners, response to the rider and quality of movement. Like many classes, there are penalties for errors made throughout the class.

Here is a list of the point penalties:

Half Point

  • Each tick of log, pole, cone, plant or any component of obstacle

One Point

  • Each bite of or hit of or stepping on a log, pole, cone, plant or any component of the obstacle.
  • Both front or hind feet in a single-strided slot of space.

Find out how you can learn even more about the trail class. Put your knowledge of the penalties to the test at the show or at home with our “Showing to Win: Trail” DVD.

  • Incorrect or break of gait at walk or jog for two strides or less.
  • Split pole in lope-over.

Three Points

  • Incorrect or break of gait at walk or jog for more than two strides.
  • Out of lead or break of gait at lope (except when correcting an incorrect lead).
  • Break of gait at lope.
  • Stepping outside the confines of, falling or jumping off or out of an obstacle with one foot once the foot has entered the obstacle; including missing one element of an obstacle on a line of travel with one foot.
  • Knocking down an elevated pole, cone, barrel, plant, obstacle or severely disturbing an obstacle.

Five Points

  • Stepping outside the confines of, falling or jumping off or out of an obstacle with more than one foot once the foot has entered the obstacle; including missing one element of an obstacle on a line of travel with more than one foot.
  • First or second cumulative refusal, balk or evading an obstacle by shying or backing.
  • Letting go of the gate or dropping the rope gate.

Penalty Zero (Disqualification)

  • Working an obstacle in the incorrect direction; including overturns of more than a quarter of a turn.
  • Use of two hands on the reins; however, it is permissible to change hands to work an obstacle as outlined in Rule 443 (2009 AQHA Handbook).
  • Riding outside designated boundary marker of the arena or course area.
  • Entering or exiting an obstacle from the incorrect side or direction.|
  • Performing the obstacle incorrectly or other than in specified order.
  • Holding the saddle with either hand (2009 AQHA Handbook Rule 450(t)).

Scoring

Want to learn even more about one of the most popular AQHA classes? Check out our “Showing to Win: Trail” DVD today!

Every rider starts out with a score of 70. Each obstacle gets a score ranging from negative one and one half to one and one half. The maneuver scores are determined and assessed independently of penalty points. Here is the range for each maneuver:

+1.5      Excellent
+ 1        Very Good
+.5        Good
0           Average
-.5         Poor
-1          Very Poor
-1.5       Extremely Poor

Judges Seminar

Don’t forget to sign up for the Judges Seminar at North Carolina State University. The deadline to sign up for this education seminar is December 9.

Call AQHA or go online to start making plans for the seminar and novice test January 7-9, 2010, in Cary, North Carolina, where you can learn about the latest judging techniques, review new and updated rules, and ask questions of industry professionals representing all show segments.

Registration fee is $250. All exhibitors from novice to professional are welcome to attend this informative, educational seminar. Enroll now.

Evaluate a Show

AQHA is working hard to enhance your competition experience at AQHA shows. It’s our goal to make your showing hobby or profession as enjoyable as possible. Please complete the survey linked below, evaluating a show you’ve attended. Your responses are private and will only be shared with show management anonymously if applicable.

Download a printable version of this evaluation to mail to AQHA.

Auburn remains No. 1 in the equestrian coaches poll.

Despite not competing for the last two weeks, the Auburn Tigers remained the nation’s No. 1 team in the Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian Coaches’ Poll.

The Tigers hold a firm grip on first place, but the teams below them shuffled considerably. Georgia moved to No. 2 this weekend after impressives win over Texas A&M and South Carolina, which was ranked No. 2 in the previous poll. The Gamecocks fell to fifth in this week’s poll.

Texas A&M moved up to third with a solid win over Baylor. The Aggies are on the road this weekend at No. 7 Kansas State and No. 4 Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls received 70 points this week, good for fourth place, just one point behind the Aggies.

Baylor is ranked the No. 6 in the poll this week, one point ahead of Kansas State. TCU remained in eighth place.

New Mexico State jumped into the Top 10 for the first time this season and is ranked ninth after wins over TCU and Tennessee-Martin. Fresno State is ranked No. 10 in this week’s poll and has a tough road trip with matches at No. 2 Georgia and No. 5 South Carolina this weekend.

The collegiate coaches competing under the Varsity Equestrian Championship umbrella initiated the national poll. The poll will be released bi-monthly, with the next announcement scheduled for November 17.

Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian National Coaches Poll (November 3, 2009) Rank Team (Points)

  1. Auburn (93)
  2. Georgia (86)
  3. Texas A&M (71)
  4. Oklahoma State (70)
  5. South Carolina (67)
  6. Baylor (43)
  7. Kansas State (42)
  8. TCU (28)
  9. New Mexico State (23)
  10. Fresno State (20)

Also receiving votes: South Dakota State (4), Tennessee-Martin (2)