Don’t worry; you will be competing with
people of your own competitive trail skill level. You will have three
divisions to choose from – Novice, Competitive Pleasure (CP) and Open.
- Novice is designed specifically for you: the rider and horse new to
competitive trail riding. It doesn’t matter if you have only been riding
for a few years or riding your whole life, this is where you learn the
ropes of the sport. You and your horse are a team. You travel at a
moderate pace, generally about four miles per hour, and cover a maximum
of 40 miles over two days. The obstacles encountered are natural to the
trail and easily negotiable.
- CP riders are experienced CTR folks who are starting new horses or
just prefer a less stressful ride. They go the same distance and pace as
Novice but encounter more challenging obstacles.
- Open goes up to 60 miles in two days and generally averages a quicker
pace better than 5 mph.
The veterinary and horsemanship judges are there to help and evaluate
you and your team mate from the preliminary baseline examination (called
check-in) usually the day before the ride until the final exam (called
check-out) at rides’ end. They are also out on trail.
The vet judge observes and checks your horse for stress, lameness,
manners and response to you. Part of the stress evaluation includes
periodic pulse and respiration (P&R) stops where volunteers take your
horses P&R after a ten minute rest period.
The horsemanship judge looks for you
to be riding light and how you take
care of your horse during and after a day on the trail.
You will find your fellow competitors very courteous, safe and willing
to answer your questions.
All competitors are given a window of time in which to complete the
measured distance. Timing information, trail maps, water locations, P&R
locations, description of the trail and mileage checkpoints are all
covered at a ride briefing the evening before the next day’s ride. Many
rides have a meeting with the horsemanship judge after the briefing for
new folks who have questions or want to hear tips from the judge.
Unique to NATRC is that competitors receive both horse score cards and
rider scorecards at the end of the ride rating their performance by the
veterinary and horsemanship judges. It’s like having a two-day
veterinary exam and a riding lesson for one low price. Best of all, you
can see where you need to improve to better you and your horse for the
NATRC rides are NOT races. Our rides emphasize the skill of pacing your
horse to maximize his longevity as a distance horse. We proudly boast
that we have horses with over 20,000 miles in competition.
To learn even more, pick up the “NATRC Rider’s Manual” which is a
complete guide to competitive trail riding. It was written by an
esteemed committee of NATRC judges and competitors.
If you answer YES to any
of the questions below, then you are ready to try competitive trail
riding with us!
- Are you intrigued by the challenge of long distance riding but don’t
want to race?
- Are you ready to learn in an educational environment through qualified
evaluation of horse and rider?
- Are you ready to experience the challenge, satisfaction and sheer fun of
competing in a sport that tests your horse's stamina and trail skills?
- Are you curious about your horse’s athletic ability over varied terrain,
distance and speed? How about your athletic ability?
- Are you ready to test the depth of your horsemanship skills in a back
- Are you ready to find out how you and your horse really work as a team
in a safe, fun environment?
So ask and you'll get
all the help and guidance you can possibly stand--and then some.