virtual trail rider challenge holiday challenge 2023

Virtual Trail Rider Challenge!

Welcome to the

Holiday Challenge

This challenge is different from our regular challenges.  

We are providing you with a list of requirements to complete in order, you design the course.


ENTRIES OPEN November 22, 2023      





Videos are due by 10:00 pm CST, Saturday, December 30, 2023)

Entry fee is $38. (Youth $28)

Score card and comments will be emailed to you.

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

  1. Enter Online


    1. Fill out the entry form – click red “Entry Form” button.
    2. Click Entry Fee button. A payment screen will open.
    3. 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 $3.

    • If you (1 rider) are entering 3 classes, change the quanity to “3”, then use the code 3X-VTRC to save $6.

2. After you pay, you will see a link to download your Entry Packet details.

The entry packet will be a PDF. Open the PDF 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 or


3. Review the list of obstacles and maneuvers.

Design your course and then set it up.

Your obstacles do not need to be exact. Work with what you have. Just get as close as you can.

Do not stress. The main idea is to have fun. You can make your course as easy or as difficult as you want.


4. Practice

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


5. 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



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, December 26, 2022.


7. Winners will be announced January 10, 2023.

Virtual Trail Challenge


Each course will have 10 obstacles or maneuvers.

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).

You will be given a list of requirements to complete in order.
Virtual Trail Rider Challenge awards



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.

    • Ride at the appropriate level for you and your horse.
    • This is a great time to try this with a green horse or a new horse

Our next challenge, VTRC#35, begins January 4, 2023.

    1. Liberty – Beginner w/ neck rope.
    2. Liberty – Experienced
    3. In-Hand – Amateur
    4. In-Hand – Open
    5. In-Hand – Youth
    6. Riding – Amateur
    7. Riding – Open
    8. Riding – Youth 14-18
    9. Riding – Youth 13 & under + Beginner Youth
    10. Lead Line- 7 & under. Free with Paid adult. May trot.
    1. Liberty – Advanced
    2. In-Hand – Amateur
    3. In-Hand – Open
    4. Riding – Amateur
    5. Riding – Open
    6. Riding – Youth
    1. Riding – Amateur
    2. Riding – Open
    3. Riding – Youth
    1. For anyone who wants to show off, complete obstacles at a higher degree of difficulty and “Step it Up”.
    2. Amateur or Open
Virtual Horse Show
- Kris


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

ADDITIONAL PRIZES may 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!


The Holiday Challenge will be a little different.

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 listed obstacles in order.

The best trail horse will be willfully guided with no apparent resistance.

BONUS POINTS WILL BE GIVEN FOR: Course Completeness, Creativity, Horsemanship & Partnership

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


Course Completeness: 0-5 points

Design: 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 for past challenges.

We hope to add more awards to this challenge.

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!