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Anyone do Trail Trials?

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  • Anyone do Trail Trials?

    I have always wanted to. I ride English on an OTTB but show my horse in trail classes and she does pretty well. She is a fairly seasoned trail horse, trail ride at least 2-3 times per week. Has been to a spook clinic and was pretty good about everything. She's even done a little team sorting and participated in the Antelope Island Buffalo round up. Anyway just wondering if anyone can offer some wisdom, things to work on in preparation for competing in trail trials. Since we've never done it before, I assume we qualify as novice. Thanks all! We are looking at doing the trail trial up in Napa CA in May.

  • #2
    I have done them with my show hunter. Great fun for man and beast.

    To be competitive where I was (Central NY), you needed a totally seasoned deadhead-- the horse who didn't give anything a look, ever.

    But I was happy when my horse scoped out the problem and then did as I asked.

    Good trail trial course-builders strive to create variety. You can't show your horse everything they will think of, so getting them broke and willing to stop and think rather than leaving is a good rule of thumb.

    I saw:

    Getting mail from a mailbox
    Dismounting and mounting
    Water
    Backing through logs
    Confronting bikers or 4-wheelers on the trail
    A penned cow
    A quiz question like "What are the signs of colic?"

    Have fun, OP. I hope some others will share more obstacles they have seen.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

    Comment


    • #3
      I've done three, had a lot of fun. You can get a DVD about trail trials from ETI.

      http://etinational.com/trailtrials.html

      You do need a trained dead-head. In addition to mvp's list I've done:

      Approaching a birthday party table (balloons, gifts, etc.)
      Side passing
      Opening and going through a gate
      Up and down hills (check your girth first!)
      Penned goats
      Dragging a plank
      Backing up a hill

      It's pretty much whatever the people putting on the trial can come up with, within the guidelines. The ride is 2-3 hours. I'd like to do more, but I bought an Icelandic and they're neither deadheads nor trail horses.
      In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

      Comment


      • #4
        I've done three, had a lot of fun. You can get a DVD about trail trials from ETI.

        http://etinational.com/trailtrials.html

        You do need a trained dead-head. In addition to mvp's list I've done:

        Approaching a birthday party table (balloons, gifts, etc.)
        Side passing
        Opening and going through a gate
        Up and down hills (check your girth first!)
        Penned goats
        Dragging a plank
        Backing up a hill

        It's pretty much whatever the people putting on the trial can come up with, within the guidelines. The ride is 2-3 hours. I'd like to do more, but I bought an Icelandic and they're neither deadheads nor trail horses.
        In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

        Comment


        • #5
          Wooden bridge
          Car wash, backing or riding through hanging plastic strips
          Dragging a bag of trash
          Gate
          Riding over rubber tires
          Riding past baloons
          I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance

          Comment


          • #6
            Ack! 3 posts! Sorry, it kept telling me it wasn't posted.
            In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Many of the things mentioned probably wouldn't bother her at all. But every so often she gets it in her mind that something is going to eat her. I suppose it will depend on her mood that day and if she perceives "it" to be scary. I think it will be fun. I will certainly report back, good, bad, or ugly!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                I did one once with my namesake Star after she had 3 weeks undersaddle! Hehehe....very fun!

                Here are some obstacles I remember

                -Deep, muddy water crossing (which Star was like WTF, I'm walking through
                the clear shallow part)
                -Walking over a painted piece of wood that was light/dark like a cattle guard. Horse was like !!! as she was raised with cattle, but did it
                -Walk through the concrete tunnel calmly, quietly at Griffith Park
                -Back through brush a hundred yards. We made it about half way until there was a clearing and horse was like OK, let's turn around
                -Sidepass over to a wall, pick up one of those garbage claws, pick up three pieces of trash and place them in a bucket
                -Weirdest gate opening I've ever done. Piece of PVC pipe attached to a gate about 12 inches high. Had to pull it open/close it, but the PVC was way bendy and made it difficult.
                -Properly going up/down hills. Checking cinches and all that jazz.

                I don't remember more offhand, but I was so pleased that I survived. We didn't get judged on a bike interaction, but I wish we were since we almost got ran down by a group of 40 bikers that came around a blind corner. A+ little Arabian, A+.

                I survived, no where near winning (tee hee), but I wouldn't trade that memory for anything.

                Have fun!
                Semi Feral

                Comment


                • #9
                  Checking girths before going up or down a hill....is that something from trailriderland?

                  Imagine galloping with the field after hounds and peeling off to stop to check the girth before going up a hill.....not going to happen.

                  I've never bothered and my saddle has never rolled off the horse.

                  ETA: I check the girth once after I walk off, and maybe tighten it up one notch on the offside if it will take easily. Once that's done, I don't bother until I untack. Personally, I find that "rule" about as ridiculous as the rules not allowing martingales on "competitive" trail events.
                  Last edited by caballero; Feb. 14, 2013, 12:14 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, I have never heard of the checking your girth/cinch before the hill thing. Do they expect you to get off and check or just reach down and confirm?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Depends on the judge, it seemed. I just reached down and checked, but honestly, I ride with a looser cinch/girth than most people do and got penalized for it.

                      Also a rule (or was, I haven't checked rules lately) that you had to have a hoof pick, halter on the horse, etc.

                      This is coming from the crazy person that once had a harrowing ride where I switched last minute with the horse's original rider, rounding up a group of horses (3 mile gallop on a very high as a kite OTTB) and then realized that the cinch was never completely done up on said horse. Saddle never moved on the horse, I made it the whole way up and down hills without the cinch being tied and all was well. Balanced seat and all, I suppose. Now...if only I can figure out where I left all those guts!
                      Semi Feral

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe none of the people who write these rules have looked to see how a girth actually attaches to a saddle. Short of a billet or elastic breaking, they are not coming loose on their own any more than a belt holding up your trousers will.

                        As far as the halter, hoofpick, etc, nope, never take those along either and seem to fare just fine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The check your girth thing is to ensure it's not loose enough to let the saddle slip forward or back on a steep hill causing the horse to react, buck, etc. The girth might not come loose on its own but as the horse relaxes the girth probably isn't as tight as it was when you fastened it. Especially important with mutton withers - ask me how I know!
                          And yes that's from trail rider land, as is the hoof pick, knife, extra halter, etc. You may never need them but they'd be really good to have when something goes south and you're a long way from your barn/trailer.
                          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GotMyPony View Post
                            The check your girth thing is to ensure it's not loose enough to let the saddle slip forward or back on a steep hill causing the horse to react, buck, etc. The girth might not come loose on its own but as the horse relaxes the girth probably isn't as tight as it was when you fastened it.
                            ETA: I check the girth once after I walk off, and maybe tighten it up one notch on the offside if it will take easily. Once that's done, I don't bother until I untack.
                            Never found it loose at the end of a ride after doing that. And that includes rides with uphills, downhills, jumps, and gallops. If the saddle was gonna move, it would have but it didn't.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've done trail trials with my TB who is an eventer. We don't go to be competitive, but just to have fun and try new challenges. We excelled at some obstacles, such as raising and lowering a water bucket hung over a tree branch and moving a rain slicker from a fence to the top of a barrel, but failed miserably on the one that required my mare to step into a circle spray painted on the dirt. She was not going to step over the scary paint!

                              I don't go to be competitive, but just to have fun. I do ride with a friend who is very competitive and usually does well. The great thing about trail trials is the obstacles are modified depending on the level you have chosen to ride. For instance, one piece called for me to canter up a hill (girth check is what the judge looks for), but the advanced riders had to dismount and have the horse walk up the hill while the rider was being "pulled" up by holding the tail.

                              I have also been a judge at trail trials and the head judge is very specific in what to look for while scoring an obstacle.

                              I would advise anyone riding one for the first time, go with an experienced person who can show you the ropes. The fun thing is riders at different levels can go out together, it's not separated by the level you sign up for.
                              Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                That sounds like competitive trail, not a trail trial. Trail trials tend to be much more low-keyed and most of what you described would not be allowed.


                                Originally posted by jenm View Post
                                I've done trail trials with my TB who is an eventer. We don't go to be competitive, but just to have fun and try new challenges. We excelled at some obstacles, such as raising and lowering a water bucket hung over a tree branch and moving a rain slicker from a fence to the top of a barrel, but failed miserably on the one that required my mare to step into a circle spray painted on the dirt. She was not going to step over the scary paint!

                                I don't go to be competitive, but just to have fun. I do ride with a friend who is very competitive and usually does well. The great thing about trail trials is the obstacles are modified depending on the level you have chosen to ride. For instance, one piece called for me to canter up a hill (girth check is what the judge looks for), but the advanced riders had to dismount and have the horse walk up the hill while the rider was being "pulled" up by holding the tail.

                                I have also been a judge at trail trials and the head judge is very specific in what to look for while scoring an obstacle.

                                I would advise anyone riding one for the first time, go with an experienced person who can show you the ropes. The fun thing is riders at different levels can go out together, it's not separated by the level you sign up for.
                                In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  That sounds like competitive trail, not a trail trial. Trail trials tend to be much more low-keyed and most of what you described would not be allowed.
                                  ???
                                  I thought trail trial and competitive trail were basically the same thing.




                                  ETA - and really? They really insist on you checking your girth before going up or down a hill? That just seems crazy. Why not make you check it before a jump or crossing a bridge while they are at it?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by trubandloki View Post

                                    ETA - and really? They really insist on you checking your girth before going up or down a hill? That just seems crazy. Why not make you check it before a jump or crossing a bridge while they are at it?
                                    I think this is weird, too. Points taken off if you don't stop and check your girth?

                                    Why? Isn't that all done right after you mount up and head out? I field hunted for years and never felt the need to pull over, mid-hunt, and check my girth. FWIW, I'm one of those people who likes to saddle my own horses and use my own equipment-- all because I take my own safety seriously. The judges must think riders are morons.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Caballero - I do the same thing you do, tighten it up once shortly after beginning, and I've always been OK, too, even on 25-milers in mountains. But not everybody does that so the check your girth thing is to promote safety. No big deal.
                                      I do competitive trail, not "trail trials," so maybe it's not the same thing. We aren't expected to stop and check before each hill but I'm sure we'd lose points if the saddle did slip back.
                                      Maybe the original poster could define what she means by "trail trials" since there's some confusion.
                                      It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It's funny in a pathetic sort of way that most "trail trials" organizations mandate that one carry items of dubious importance to safety such as a halter and lead rope but make the wearing of helmets optional.

                                        In fact, I'm reading the CA State Horsemans Assoc TT rules and my jaw is hanging in disbelief at most of what I read:

                                        1. Can't lead a horse by the reins
                                        2. Hoof picks are more important than helmets
                                        3. Jumping obstacles is severely penalized
                                        4. Horse being "too aware" is to be penalized
                                        5. Two-point position is to be penalized when riding uphill
                                        6. The old "cinch check" I guess western saddles come loose on a regular basis

                                        Comment

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