View Full Version : Tell me about competative trail riding?

Oct. 11, 2009, 10:49 PM
So, I have a 5 year old TB who I had hoped to be my dressage show horse, however he has turned into my do everything horse. He loves love loves trail riding and I would love to get into competative trail riding. I'd like to hear about how you guys train your horses to go the distance? tack/ apparel? governing organizations? How to get started? Could my guy be decent at it? Educate me please.

Painted Horse
Oct. 12, 2009, 09:21 AM
There are several organization. The one I'm familair with is North American Trail Ride Conference. Or NATRC. Google NATRC adn you can find their website and calendar of rides.

NATRC rides are usually 40 miles for Novice and 50 for Open over a two day ride. So 20-25 miles per day. This will vary depending on terrain and location. Novice riders will avg about 4.5-6 mph Open riders will avg 5-7 mpg. Again this will depend on the trail. A flat traill in Florida will have a faster speed than a mountain trail in Utah that has 16,000 foot of vertical elevation change thru the coarse of the trail will be slower.

Horses should be conditioned to be able to ride 20 miles in 6-8 hours. I don't find this very difficult to achieve. If you are doing a couple of rides a week of 10-15 miles each, your horse will be able to do the CTR.

CTR has two judges and one will look at the horse and it's conditioning. Heart rate, respiration, hydration etc. the horsemanship judge will judge how well you and horse deal with obsticles along the trail. they may ask for a judged mount to see if you horse moves while you mount, They may ask you to side pass over to a tree and tie a ribbon on a branch. They may watch you go up or down a steep hill to see if you stay centered in the saddle or if the horse rushes. Since these are weekend events. They will judge how you camp with your horse and care for the horse after the days ride is complete.

It's a great place to learn more about your horse. Go with the attitude that if they ask " Can your horse do this" I say, "Let me try, Nope can't do that today, But he we will work on it and be abe to do it next ride"

Oct. 12, 2009, 09:28 AM
I see your in FL but you might also look into ECTRA. ECTRA is Eastern Competetive Trail Ride Association.

Oct. 12, 2009, 09:58 AM
Google it for Florida and find out which organization(s) that are there. They are very different. NATRC as described above is pretty slow and has a lot of emphasis on horsemanship. ECTRA is much faster paced- you have about 4-4.5 hours to do 25 miles so it is a brisk pace and your horse has to be in better shape. There are also other orgs with their own rules.

You dont need any special tack, although if you get into it you may want to get some! If you find out which rides are in your area, it would be good to volunteer- you can learn a lot and also make connections with people to ride with and/or mentor you. Arabs and Arab crosses tend to be the best but any breed can do it and do it well!

Oct. 12, 2009, 10:30 AM
Check out the sticky at the top of the forum for tons of info:


New Riders Guide: http://www.mndra.com/Ride%20flyers/MNDRA%20Manual%203-24-09.pdf