Trail is a competitive class at shows where horses and riders in a western saddle go through different obstacles. People ride the course one at a time and get scored based on a point system that starts at seventy and you can go up or down from there. I was originally designed to resemble situations a horse and rider might actually encounter when on a trail in the wild but, trail classes now tend to focus more heavily on agility and manners, with courses having little resemblance to real natural trails.
Performing in trail classes sounds so easy — after all, you aren’t actually out on the trails with wild creatures and dangerous ditches or fallen trees. You’re riding in a nice, safe arena, on soft ground and around somewhat easy obstacles. And the obstacles — a bridge, poles, gates and cones — seem so easy. How much skill could such a class involve?
As a matter of fact, with today’s courses focused on technical difficulties and less on dangerous or fearful maneuvers, you’ll need a high level of riding skill if you want to ride out with a win. While all competitors’ different, you’ll see that the winning riders have spent endless hours perfecting their communication with their horses and practicing the small details many overlook as unimportant.
the scoring system is very easy to understand. when you walk( or lope or trot or back) you start out at a zero. You can go up or down depending on how well you preform. If you hit any of the poles, which is very hard to train/ teach the horses not to) you get points taken off your score. often time when you hit any thing in the beginning it is harder the plus the rest of the pattern. When you do an element of the pattern and do a good job, depending on how well the judge thought you did, you could plus half, plus one, or plus one and a half. then at the end of the class the scribes go through and add the scores up, and double check, and then place the class.
I really enjoy this class one, because its just really fun. Two because it is something different than just going around in circle. Three I love it because my horse and I are a really good team and are really good at trail.
Heres a picture of a trail course.