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Trail tests horse and rider for their ability to handle working ranch type situations. In Trail competition, horse and rider negotiate obstacles and are judged on how well they complete each one. Trail courses are designed to showcase the horse's willingness, training, and obedience as well as the rider's horsemanship. The obstacles are inspired by what a working ranch horse may encounter, including gates, bridges, water, poles either raised or on the ground, a backing obstacle, and other tasks.

Trail in Pony Club

Trail in USPC combines the best elements of numerous competitive Trail organizations. Trail rallies generally include three competition rounds, which may occur inside or outside an arena. Members compete on a team of three or four riders with a stable manager, and their individual scores combine with team horse care scores for final placings.


A Trail competition is usually comprised of multiple rounds that feature courses designed to challenge the mount and rider in many ways. Trail courses can consist of anywhere from 8 to 12 obstacles, and can include a gate, poles (either raised or on the ground), bridge, backing obstacle, water, cones, and a task, such as transferring an object from one location to another. The goal of the mount and rider is to negotiate the specified course without major disobediences or infractions. Each obstacle is designed to challenge a mount and rider’s precision, communication, training, and mental preparedness. In some rounds or competitive levels, there may be a timed portion or an option to plan the most efficient course to complete all the obstacles.

Trail in Pony Club uses similar obstacles and challenges that are seen in other shows. Members compete on a team of three to four riders with a Stable Manager and can compete in a variety of rounds including Classic Trail, Ranch Trail, In the Open, and Speed. The Classic trail and Ranch Trail rounds have a specific order of obstacles, each judged on a scale of zero to ten. Speed Rounds are given a time limit where each successful obstacle earns points, and bonus points may be rewarded for successfully completing more obstacles than required. The Open Rounds are just as the name implies and could take place in a pasture, on a cross-country course, or along an actual trail that can be up to two miles long.