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Maryland Competitions Hitting the Trails... Competitions!


By Katherine O. Rizzo Maryland is home to over 1,500 miles of


equestrian-use trails, affording everything from ocean views to mountain passes. While hacking down wooded paths is often enjoyment enough, sometimes you may want to show off your off- the-beaten path talents in some friendly trail related competitions. From Endurance to Trail Obstacle Courses to Judged Pleasure Rides and everything in between, we polled Equiery readers and Facebook followers to find out their favorite ways to compete on the trails. Please note, this may not be a complete list, so


if your favorite trails sport is not listed here, let us know by emailing editor@equiery.com. And if you host trail competitions, be sure to send us your show dates by emailing Emily.nessel@ equiery.com.


Endurance


Te American Endurance Ride Conference’s motto is “to finish is to win,” which is certainly the case for those who tackle long-distance En- durance rides. Official AERC rides range from 25 to 100 miles in one day and Endurance is a FEI-sanctioned sport. Te basic goal of Endurance is to cross the finish first, however the horses’ welfare is care- fully monitored throughout the ride with sev- eral veterinary checks along the course. In ad- dition to awards based on rider age, level, and experience, the Best Conditioned award is giv- en to the fittest horse to finish. Tere are also mile awards that riders can work on over time. Here in Maryland, the Foxcatcher Endurance


ride is held each spring at the Fair Hill Natu- ral Resources Management Area and it seems many Equiery readers attended this year with several sending photos from the ride! Overall, Endurance was the fourth most popular sport in our Equiery poll.


Trail Obstacle Course Although not technically held on the trails,


Trail Obstacle Courses or Trail Classes are a great way to show off your trail riding skills while staying in an arena or enclosed field. Most competitions offer courses with around 10 obstacles such as opening and closing a gate and walking across a bridge. Each obstacle is timed while competitors are


judged on how quickly they navigate the whole course. Some of these competitions are even held in hand with the rider working their horse in hand through the obstacles. Tese in hand and mounted competitions are often held in conjunction with Western shows here in Mary- land but competitors do not have to compete in Western tack if it’s an open competition.


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Judged Trail Ride Judged Trail Rides, also called Judged Plea-


sure Rides, are trail competitions similar to an obstacle course but the obstacles are out on the trail itself. Competitors follow a marked trail where they encounter 10 to 20 obstacles, typi- cally natural objects such as logs and stream crossings. Sometimes, man-made obstacles are made to simulate a challenge one may come across on a trail. Judges are stationed at each obstacle to give a


score to each rider based on how well they navi- gate the obstacle, thus making these rides are more performance based. Te rides can take up to three hours to complete. Tey were the third most popular trail sport in our Equiery poll!


Competitive Trail Riding


Competitive Trail Riding both measures the fitness of the horse and judges the rider on horsemanship, thus creating a cross between a Judged Pleasure Ride and Endurance. In these rides, time is important; riders are penalized for going too slow or too fast. As in Endurance, horses are monitored at


several veterinary checkpoints while on course. Distances for these rides are typically 20 to 120 miles and can span up to three days for just one competition. Te North American Trail Ride Conference


offers rides in the US, Canada and Mexico. Teir mission is to “promote horsemanship and horse care as they apply to the sport of distance riding by offering a variety of challenging and educational experiences designed to strengthen horse and rider partnerships.” Competitive Trail Riding rounded out the top


five most popular trail sports here in Maryland according to Te Equiery’s poll.


Extreme Cowboy Race Take the concept of a Judged Trail Ride and


turn it into a speed event and you have the Ex- treme Cowboy Race. Competitors are judged not only on how well they navigate each obsta- cle, but how quickly they complete the whole course. Competitors are typically divided into Pro, Non-Pro and Youth divisions. Tis sport was made popular by legendary


trainer Craig Cameron, whose official Craig Cameron Extreme Cowboy Race made its first, and only, Maryland appearance in 2009 when Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown hosted the event. Tose here in Maryland who love this sport wrote in that they’d like to see these sorts of races return to Maryland, so … who wants to step up and organize one?


Paper Chase Paper Chases, also called Ribbon Chases, can continued...


Lucia Simoncelli-DiBenedetto rode in her first Hunter Pace this past April at Marlbor- ough Hunt Club where her team won the Ju- nior Optimum Flat division.


THE EQUIERY YOUR MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL PUBLICATION | JULY 2021 | 15


Katharina Birkmann, Lilliana Sonpar, Bri- elle Francia and Vivian Rubino practicing at Double C Farm for Mounted Trail Challenges


Angela and Skip Kemerer at this year’s Fox- catcher Endurance ride held at Fair Hill in April.


Donna Rae participating in a Paper Chase


CHW Picture Perfect Moments


Hoof Print Images


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