The trail class is judged on the performance of the horse over obstacles, with emphasis on manners, response to the rider, and quality of movement.
- Credit will be given to horses that:
- negotiate the obstacles with style and some degree of speed, provided correctness is not sacrificed
- show attentiveness to the obstacles
- display high quality of movement and cadence
- Horses shall be penalized for:
- any unnecessary delay while approaching or negotiating the obstacles
- artificial appearance over obstacles
- Horses must not be required to work on the rail.
- Horses must work all three gaits (walk, jog, lope).
- Western and English may show together, depending on show regulations.
The course contains six to 10 obstacles, including mandatory and optional obstacles.
Mandatory obstacles are:
- Open, pass through, and close gate
- Ride over at least four logs
- A backing obstacle
Optional obstacles are:
- Water hazard
- Serpentine at walk or jog
- Carrying an object
- Ride over wooden bridge
- Put on and remove slicker
- Side pass
- PVC pipe
- Dismounting or ground ties
- Rocking or moving bridges
- Water box with floating parts
- Flames, dry ice, fire extinguisher, etc.
The judge must walk the course to make sure it is safe, logical, workable, and meets requirements. Any adjustments can be made at this time.
- Based on the AQHA scoring system
- Basis of 0 to infinity, with a score of 70 as an average performance
- Each obstacle is scored on a range from a +1½ to -1½
- Points added or subtracted from the maneuvers:
- -1½ extremely poor, -1 very poor, -½ poor, 0 average
- +½ good, +1 very good, +1½ excellent.
- Contains ½-point, 1-point, 3-point, and 5-point penalties, with the most severe due to:
- Dropping slicker or object
- Letting go of gate or dropping rope gate
- Use of either hand to instill fear or praise
- Stepping out of, falling, or jumping off an obstacle with more than one foot
- Blatant disobedience (kicking out, bucking, rearing, striking)
- Obstacle score of 0
- Ride outside course boundary
- Wrong lead through entire obstacle
- Fail to complete an obstacle
- Wrong line of travel
- Touching the horse to lower the head
- Third refusal or evasion of the obstacle
- Use of two hands when riding with a curb bit
- Performs obstacles out of order
- Fall to the ground
- Failure to complete the course
- Equipment failure that delays the completion of the pattern
Sample Patterns and Measurements
Sample Trail Ride