Western Show Events Explained: TRAIL

The trail class is designed to challenge the horse and rider, with obstacles that replicate what one may encounter out on the trail. So it’s for this reason that, you will be asked to walk over a bridge , open a gate, manoeuvre through cones or barrels, step over poles and into boxes. Its a true test to show how broke your horse is. It’s a challenging, rewarding class that, on completion leaves every rider feeling accomplished.


CLASS PROCEDURE: The pattern for the class is provided by the judge, at least one hour before the class is commenced, there must be six obstacles at minimum, in each pattern and all three gaits included at some stage of the course.

Competitors will perform the pattern individually

  • The judge will watch the run and call out deductions and additions to his/her ring steward.
  • each obstacle will be judged individually .
  • once the run is complete, the final score will be tallied and your score will be compared with the other competitors upon completion of the class.
  • All competitors will then re enter the arena, line up and placings will be called.


To list every fault in this class is well beyond the scope of this article so we suggest if you would like to know more, to visit the AQHA Handbook, below we have listed just a few.22554282_10212329113937383_1843207755_n

  • You will be Disqualified if you, do not attempt an obstacle, refuse an obstacle more than three times
  • You will be penalised a half point if your horse ticks obstacles (slight contact with feet)
  • You will be penalised 1 point if your horse steps on or hits a log or obstacle
  • you will be penalised 3 points for severely disturbing obstacles and their placement.
  • you will be penalised 5 points for a refusal baulk or shy , or if the horse backs away from an obstacle for more than 2 strides, you drop the gate rope,  kicking out bucking and general disobedience, failure to complete an obstacle.

The winner of this class will be an attentive, obedient horse with the rider being able to navigate through the course in a somewhat effortless manner. Strive for the best, but do not be disheartened when you are starting out. The best way to improve you and your horse’s trail skills is to get out there and give it a go.

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