1.  Open to any discipline and breed of horse.
  2.  Horse may go through each course only once.
  3.  All riders must sign a release form. Riders 17 years or age and under must have parent/guardian signature on release form. Competitors and parents/legal guardians of youth assume all responsibility when on the grounds and participating in the event.
  4.  Riders must pay a non-refundable entry fee.
  5.  Equines must be serviceably sound and in good condition as determined by the judge.
  6.  It is expected that each horse shall be treated humanely with kindness and respect at all times.
  7.  The judge always has the option of disqualifying an exhibitor for safety reasons, disrespect or misconduct.
  8.  No whining, moaning, or complaining. The object is to have fun and to better our horsemanship. Suggestions are welcome.
  9. No horses on the course before their turn.
  10. If you choose to lead your horse through an obstacle you must remount before moving toward the next obstacle.
  11. If you happen to fall off your horse and you can regain control without assistance and remount you may do so.
  12. The judge will blow whistle and ask contestant to move on to next obstacle upon the third refusal or after 30 seconds of not completing an obstacle. The rider MUST move to the next obstacle. Riders who do not move on will be disqualified!
  13. Failure to complete an obstacle results in a zero for that obstacle. Rider will still receive a score for the course.
  14. It is permissible to change rein hand to work with an obstacle.
  15. If an obstacle is disrupted it should be reset after the rider finishes and before the next rider goes.
  16. Show management has the right to add additional rules if necessary. Rule additions will be posted at registration table.




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

AT EXTREME Trail Rider Challenges at Expos, Horse Fairs or in front of an audience the dress code is:

  • A long sleeve western shirt or English shirt or jacket is required.
  • Pants or jeans without holes are required.
  • A Cowboy hat or helmet is required.

Numbers: The number, if issued,  will be displayed in a visible manner.

Tack: must be safe, humane and in good working condition. Equipment must work through entire course.  If rider can finish safely with broken equipment, they may do so.  Example: broken throat latch or breast collar.  If it is unsafe to continue riding, the rider is disqualified.  Example:  Headstall breaks and no longer stays on horse.  Front cinch or billet breaks.  Maintaining your equipment is part of good horsemanship.  Final decision is up to the judge.

Snaffle Bits and Bosals: Any horse may be shown 2 handed using a snaffle or bosal. Horses that are shown in bit with a shank should be ridden one-handed.  Use of two-hands on reins when using a shank bit are penalized 1 point per occurrence per obstacle.

NO: Mechanical hackamores, gag-bits, tie-downs, draw reins, martingales, or wire chinstraps.


Exhibitor Order will be determined by show management by drawing and posted.  Accommodations are made for exhibitors with multiple horses.



A course walk through for competitors will be at least 15 minutes before competition begins. If time allows, 30-45 minutes before the competition is ideal. A course map should be posted or handed out before the walk-thru. It is the competitor’s responsibility to fully understand the course and rules at this time. Obstacles must be completed in the designated order.

In all levels, except Extreme, it is acceptable for the judge or host to give direction if asked.

In Extreme, if  a rider goes off course and does not correct it before starting an out of order obstacle, their scoring stops at this point.  The rider receives points for obstacles done correctly. They do not receive time points.



Obstacles are designed with safety in mind. However, if you feel an obstacle is beyond the abilities of you and/or your horse you may skip that obstacle. Please indicate this to the judge.You will receive a zero for that obstacle but will still receive a score for the course. In Extreme you will receive a 60 second time penalty. Helmets are encouraged.



Each contestant will perform the required trail pattern individually. The best trail horse will be willfully guided with no apparent resistance. Any movement made by the horse on it’s 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.

The judge should walk course and make any adjustments necessary for safety.



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.

Scoring system;

0 – Not Attempted

1 – Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 3 refusals

2 – Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 2 refusals

3 – Attempt made, uncooperative horse, 1 refusal

4 – Obstacle complete with hesitation, rough but done

5 – Obstacle completed w/ slight deviation or hesitation

6 – Obstacle completed as expected*

7 – Obstacle completed smoothly and willingly

8 – Obstacle completed willingly with finesse

9 – Obstacle completed willingly w/ a higher degree of difficulty

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

*To increase your score above a 6, please read Judging Guidelines.


The official timer will have the final time decision and may not be challenged.

A time limit, usually 4 to 7 minutes, for each course will be announced at walk through.  When time ends, the rider must leave the arena immediately.  Points will be given for obstacles completed.

In the event of a tie score in any division, the fastest time will win.

Non-Extreme Courses have a time limit.  Time is used as a tie-breaker.

Extreme Trail Rider Challenge: Time points are given in 15-second increments.

Time points are given in addition to the exhibitors score for obstacles.

The fastest time is awarded 10 pts

Exhibitors within 15 seconds of the fastest time receive 9pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 8pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 7pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 6pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 5pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 4pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 3pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 2pts.

Exhibitors within the next 15 seconds will receive 1pts.

AWARDS vary at each event and should be listed on the flyer.



Each obstacle must be completed as described in walk though to receive credit.


1 Second

Each tick of a log/obstacle or bumping of an obstacle

5 Seconds

Dislodging a log/pole

Each foot that exits the obstacle

Minor disobedience/loss of control: Head tossing, wringing of tail

10 Seconds

Knocking over an element of an obstacle

Extreme disobedience/loss of control: Horse’s nose above poll, rearing, bucking, kicking out