Saddle up for an extremely fun and challenging event!
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) will host a Trail Challenge event on Saturday, May 19 at Jack Peeples’ Fox Trail Farm in Palm City. This is currently the only AQHA-sanctioned event of its kind in the Southeastern United States. Fox Trail Farm was also the site of the very first Trail Challenge in AQHA history, which took place March 24.
The course will open for schooling at 7 a.m., followed by a 9 a.m. clinic hosted by AQHA Professional Horsewoman, Cindy Reddish of Palm City, and top Quarter Horse trainers from around the state. The clinic is $75 per person. The Trail Challenge will begin at 1 p.m. Schooling and Trail Challenge classes are $20 each and $50 for the "Extreme Trail Challenge," an all-breed jackpot division. Register online by May 17 to receive a discount on multiple classes.
“This is a great event for riders of all ages, skill levels and disciplines,” said Reddish, who describes the course as a playground for horses. “Any type of horse can benefit from training and competing on this course. Navigating each obstacle builds confidence, respect and trust between the horse and rider.”
Those who are new to the course are strongly encouraged to participate in the clinic and ground work exercises to prepare their horse for each individual obstacle, before attempting the challenge.
The Trail Challenge will be divided into levels based on the horse and rider partnership: Level 1 – a training level or new partnership; Level 2 – an intermediate or established partnership; Level 3 – master level with the ability to negotiate difficult obstacles; and Level 4 – an added “Extreme Trail Challenge” and jackpot division. Classes will be offered for adults, youth and equestrians with disabilities, with American Quarter Horse and all breed divisions. Riders may participate in English or Western attire and tack.
The trail patterns will consist of approximately 16 obstacles (more for Level 4) with judges stationed throughout the course. Obstacles include bridges, logs, climbs and water crossings. Patterns will be distributed at registration and colored flags will mark the course for each level. Each partnership begins with a score of 70, with points added or deducted based on the team’s performance.
The goal is to complete the course safely, without refusals or deviating from the pattern. Teams that navigate the course calmly and willingly, without resistance or force, will receive additional points.
Ribbons will be distributed to the top 10 riders in each division. Registered Quarter Horses ridden by AQHA members may receive Trail Challenge Merits on their permanent records.
The Fox Trail Farm trail course is located in Sunshine Farms, near 5607 Honey Terrace in Palm City (signs will be posted the day of the event). Overnight accommodations are available for $35/stall at Martin Downs Equestrian Center. Refreshments will be available for purchase during the event.
Special thanks to Harbour Ridge Equine, Ranch Feed & Pet Supply, and West of Ole England for sponsoring the event.
For more information, visit CindyReddishQH.com or contact Kathy Boyd at 941-961-2158. For rules and obstacle examples, visit AQHA.com/Riding and click on “Trail Challenge.”
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