Round table with place settings

Train for Trail Class

External Programs

Course Description

Winning show pen trail classes may be more about knowing "what" and "how" than actual riding. This course takes online students through the process of learning how each obstacle is constructed and arranged within the course design, developing the horse's cadence and rhythm, and teaching guidance for a winning performance.

This course teaches your horse to do more than just work an obstacle.  It teaches you and your horse how to work the obstacle as designed within the course…that means the correct steps between poles, proper carriage and balance, and willingness to be guided by the rider. Learn how to shorten or lengthen your horse's stride, how to select the path to victory, and understand what gets you "pluses" and what causes score "deductions.

In addition to written instructions on how to train the trail horse, the course is loaded with short video demonstrations that break down each step in the teaching of cues, body position and footfall sequences.

Course Outline

       I.  Selecting a Trail Horse/Knowing the Basics
               A. Conformation and Disposition
               B. Basic Training Before You Start
       II.  Obstacles Needed To Train a Trail Horse
                A. Poles
                B. Bridge
                C. Gate
                E. Cones
                F. Barrels
                G. Risers
                H. Flower Boxes and Walls
                 I. Plants
                 J. Water Box
                K. Measuring Apparatus
                L. Distance Between Obstacles
       III.  Cadence and Timing
                 A. Counting Strides
                 B. Foot Placement
                 C. Rider's Body Position

         IV.  Walk Overs, Head Down and the Pickup Sticks
                   A. Proper Placement of Poles for Walk Overs
                   B. Training the Horse to Walk Over a Single Pole and a Series of Poles
                   C. Use Pickup Sticks to Teach Awareness and Caution
                   D. Head Down to Look at Obstacle
                   E.  The Sequence When Approaching Walk Overs
           V.  Trot Overs, Lope Overs and the Wheel
                    A. Proper Placement of Poles for Trot Overs
                    B. Teaching the Horse to Trot Over a Series of Poles
                    C. Proper Placement of Poles for Lope Overs
                    D. Teaching the Horse to Lope Over a Single Pole and a Series of Poles
                    E.  Common Errors and How to Fix Them
                    F.  The Wheel - a Great Training Aid for Trot and Lope Overs

           VI.  Neck Reining
                     A. The Proper Bit
                     B. What is Neck Reining?
                     C. The Sequence for Training the Horse How to Neck Rein
                     E. Have a Plan
                     F. Using Poles and Cones to Perfect Neck Reining      
         VII.  Gates and Backing
                     A. Working the Gate
                     B. Backing Obstacles

       VIII.  Boxes and Side Passing
                    A. Entering the Box at the Walk, Jog and Lope
                    B. Turning in the Box
                    C. Side Passing Over a Pole
                    D. Side Passing an "L"
        IX.  Bridges, Serpentines, Water, Plants and Barriers
                   A. Introducing the Bridge
                   B. Proper Approach and Exit from the Bridge
                   C. Straight Serpentines with Cones
                   D. Serpentines with Poles
                   E. Introducing the Water Box
                   F. Executing the Water Box
                   G. Familiarizing the Horse with Plants and Barriers

        X.  Putting It All Together 
                 A. Negotiating a Complete Trail Course
                 B. At the Show 
                 C. Scoring
                 D. Patterns