Virtual Trail Rider Challenge

Virtual Trail Rider Challenge!

Virtual Trail Rider Challenge #7 is open!


We all need something fun to do with our horses from home! 

Trail Rider Challenges are Horsemanship based. We use Trail Obstacles to improve our horsemanship and measure our progress. 

Improve your horsemanship and increase your horse’s willingness, confidence, and responsiveness. 

ENTRIES OPEN NOVEMBER 7 at 1:00pm, 2020




virtual trail rider challenge awards


  1. Enter Online on or before November 16, 2020 for the full experience. 

Late entries accepted but they will miss out on some content. 

Videos are due by 10:00 pm CST, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020)

Entry fee is $35.

Written comments will be emailed to you.

1st – 10th in class received a ribbon in the mail.

  • Fill out the form below and click submit.
  • Click Entry Fee button. A payment screen will open.
  • Download your entry packet from the screen after your payment.
TO ADD ADDITIONAL ENTRIES AT CHECKOUT – Click on Edit Order and change the quanity.
  • If you (1 rider) are entering 2 classes, change the quanity to “2”, then use the code 2X-VTRC to save $6.
  • If you (1 rider) are entering 3 classes, change the quanity to “3”, then use the code 3X-VTRC to save $12.

2. After you pay, you will see a link to download your Course Map and details.

The map will be a PDF. Open the Map and print it if you like. Save it to your phone or computer for future reference.

  • You will also be emailed a receipt from SendOwl with the download link if you need to download your packet again. 
  • You should also receive a welcome email from


3. Set your course up similar to the course map.

The course will use “Simple Trail Obstacles” from “How to Build Simple Trail Obstacles” Ebook by Kelli Paulson. Order your Book HERE. I recommend ordering the ebook rather than the printed version because the ebook is an instant download. The printed version takes up to 10 days for delivery.

Your obstacles do not need to be exact. Work with what you have. For instance, if the course calls for a bridge and you do not have one, you could substitute a piece of card board or a tarp.

Just get as close as you can.

This VTRC #7 uses: Bridge/Cardboard/Tarp/Mat/Plywood – 3 things, 5 ground poles, trot over, gate/rope or solid, 4 cones or bending poles, 4 small balls (tennis balls) or similar, garocha pole or board, bag of trash or feed sack, a small platform/hula hoop/rope in a circle.

 It sounds like a lot but DO NOT STRESS. A PDF will be emailed to you with 24 hours of entry explaining the obstacles. It is easier than you think.

Dec. 144. Make a video of your pattern.

I am sure you will practice a few times (if not a hundred, 🙂 ). BUT, don’t get stuck in perfectionism and not get this done! 

Kinda good and done is so much better than perfect and never done. We are all learning and having fun!

Your video must be:

    • Continuous, without edits. (video edits = DQ)
    • Horizontal
    • Under 8 minutes



Join our Facebook Group – See helpful videos, read tips and learn exercises to help you complete the challenge.

6. Upload your video to YouTube.

Send the link to your YouTube Video to the email address in your entry packet, before the video deadline, 10:00pm CST, Dec. 14, 2020.


7. Winners will be announced on or before December 22, 2020.

Virtual Trail Challenge


Each course will have 12-16 obstacles or manuevers.

The obstacles will use common trail obstacle items.

The course will fit in a small arena or other riding area (you do not need an arena).

A list of obstacles and ideas is included in your packet.

Virtual Trail Rider Challenge awards


4 Courses are offered. 

To enter multiple classes, add an entry in the checkout by changing the quantity.


Amateur Rider: Rider does not get paid to train, give lessons, or show at a national level.

Open Rider: Any rider, particularly trainers and riders who ride at a higher or  more competitive level.

Green Horse Note: If your horse is “green” ride it at the appropriate level. Consider the Basic Walk/Trot class or which ever class fits. The exception is a mustang who has been adopted less than 1 year ago.

NEW CLASS!!!The Lite Class uses basic obstacles and contains basic horsemanship manuevers. 

  • The class is designed for horse/rider pairs who HAVE NEVER SUBMITTED a VTRC video. 
  • Ribbons are awarded on a sscale, similar to 4-h.
  • Riders receive score cards and comments by email.

Do you need a simplier course to set up? 

Are you nervous about sending in a video? 

Do have a horse that is still green? 

This is the place to start!


Course completed at halter. Any halter that fits well is acceptable. The horse may or may not be saddled.

10 places will be awarded in each class.

  • Youth 13 & under
  • Youth 14-18
  • Amateur, 19 – 49
  • Amateur, 50+
  • Open

Very basic course with optional trotting.

10 places awarded in each class.

  • PeeWee/Lead Line: 7 years & younger (free with adult entry – fill out entry form but no need to go through payment section)
  • Beginner Youth: YOuth 13 & under with a coach in the arena (entry fee $20 use code: Beginner4)
  • Special Needs: Somewht independent special needs rider with a coach or assistant in the arena.(entry fee $20 use code: Beginner4)

WALK/TROT (Walk only option). 

For beginner and novice riders.

10 places will be awarded in each class.

  • Youth 13 & under
  • Youth 14-18
  • Amateur Walk Only: For beginner or timid riders or horses only sound at the walk. Walk Only does not toward Basic Course Champion Awards.
  • Amateur Walk/Trot 19-49
  • Amateur Walk/Trot 50+
  • Gaited Horse
  • Young Horses – 4 years & under, open riders allowed
  • Green Horse – Open Riders – for horses started late, OTTB’s, Mustangs, Etc.


For novice/amatuer riders.

10 places will be awarded in each class.

  • Youth 13 & under 
  • Youth 14-18
  • Amateur Walk Only
  • Amateur Walk/Trot 19-49
  • Amateur Walk/Trot 50+
  • Gaited Horse
  • Young Horse (5 & under) – Open riders allowed.

WALK/TROT/CANTER – Most challenging course.

10 places will be awarded in each class.

  • Youth 14-18

  • Amateur 19-49

  • Amateur 50+

  • Open 

Virtual Horse Show
- Kris


RIBBONS: Virtual Trail Rider Challenge Ribbons will be awarded for each place.

A SPECIAL AWARD: To the highest score on the each Course. 

ADDITIONAL PRIZES will be added to the event and posted.

We are seeking donations for additional prizes. Donations will be listed on this page and the Trail Rider Challenge Facebook Page. Click Here to Donate.

We are getting some cool donations! Watch this page and the Trail Rider Challenge Facebook Group for prize updates!


Each entry will be scored and judged.

A score sheet with comments will be mailed to you at the end of the competition.

Each contestant will perform the required trail pattern. The best trail horse will be willfully guided with no apparent resistance. Any movement made by the horse on its own or deviation from the pattern must be considered a lack of control. Credit will be given for horsemanship, smoothness, calmness, finesse, forward motion, control, attitude, quickness and authority in performing the various obstacles while using controlled speed. This event is intended to display the versatile working ability of a solid trail horse.

A good horseman will never endanger themselves or their horse. A good working relationship between horse and rider should be rewarded. Riders will abide by the ruling of the judge. All judges’ decisions are final.


Open to any discipline and breed of horse.

  • As a part of entering, all riders agree to a waiver and photo/video release form.
  • Riders must pay a non-refundable entry fee.
  • Equines must be serviceably sound and in good condition as determined by the judge.
  • It is expected that each horse shall be treated humanely with kindness and respect at all times.
  • It is permissible to change rein hand to work an obstacle.



  • Boots/Shoes with a heel are mandatory.
  • Show clothing not required.
  • Clothing should be nice, neat and appropriate for the weather.



  • Riders from any discipline are welcome to enter.
  • Tack must be safe, humane, and in good working condition.
  • Snaffle Bits and Bosals: May use 2 hands.
  • Shanked Bit: Should use 1 hand. 1-point penalty each time 2 hands are used.
  • NO: Mechanical hackamores, gag-bits, tie-downs, draw reins, martingales, or wire chinstraps.



  • You are responsible for your own safety. If an obstacle or task is not safe for you and your horse, simplify the obstacle.

Example: Carry a Slicker. If you cannot do this safely, carry a small towel or wash cloth. Do the best you can safely do with your horse today.

  • No live people can be used as a part of an obstacle.



Each obstacle will be worth 10 points. Points can be given in .5 increments.

Obstacles not completed will receive a zero. Riders will still receive a score for the course.



0 – Not Attempted

1 – Obstacle not Completed. Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 3 refusals.

     Obstacle is not at least half completed.

2 – Bad. Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 2 refusals.

    Obstacle mostly completed.

3  –  Poor. Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 1 refusal. Significant issues with basics.

     Obstacle completed.

4 –  Not Satisfactory. Obstacle completed with hesitation, rough but done

5 –  Completed. Obstacle completed w/ slight deviation or hesitation

6 – Satisfactory. Obstacle completed as expected.

7 – Good. Obstacle completed smoothly and willingly

Note: To score an 8 or above – the horse must be willing, confident and brave, moving with rhythm and balance. The rider must be a partner to the horse, using small cues, timing and feel. The pair should be working together effortlessly.

8  –  Very Good. Obstacle completed willingly and with finesse

9 – Excellent. Obstacle completed willingly with a noticeable higher quality.

10 – Obstacle completed willingly w/ a higher degree of quality and extreme



Obstacle Creativity: 0-5 points

Partnership: 0-5 points

Horsemanship: 0-5 points


Trail obstacles are wonderful tools for measuring progress and increasing confidence.

Remember to HAVE FUN and don't stress!


Several awesome people and businesses have donate additional awards.

Please take a few moments to visit their Facebook pages and/or websites and thank them!

The awards which are “regional” will be awarded to the highest scoring entry in their region. For instance, a photo shoot, will awarded to the highest scoring entry within 3 hours of the photographer. Other awards can easily be mailed and will be awarded to the highest scores overall. I think this will make things a little more fun!