Details of the Summer Festival track and trail class now available

For a chance to win the Roger Bax memorial trophy read on for more details about the track and trail class! The course outline is provided as a guide and it will be as close to this as possible; but each individual event may choose to amend the course, depending on local circumstances. Please at the event for any changes and good luck!

What is track & trail?

Track and trail is intended to show true partnership between horse and rider. The class will demonstrate a versatile Icelandic horse by combining a simple gait test, with a test of your horse’s obedience and trust in your guidance as their rider. It aims to be all-inclusive class and provides a great opportunity for those of you who have limited or no experience on the oval track to have a go in your best gait, and receive a mark and comment from a qualified judge. Obstacles in the trail section are a good test for any horse, things we should all be able to do while we are out hacking, so this provides a real test for those who usually only compete on the Oval track. We also welcome lead-rein and in-hand entries, which will constitute a separate class.

What it is not

Track and trail class is not just a ‘handy pony’ class for children, but we’d love children to enter too! It’s not ‘just a fun class’, but we’d like you to have fun and enjoy the experience; judges and volunteers will help and guide you. It’s not a TREC event as our scoring is different (more simple), but any TREC experience will be great preparation.

Section 1: track

Choose your best gait and decide on which rein you are going to enter. You will be asked to inform us of your chosen gait before the class commences.

  • Enter the track and begin your test before you reach the first corner, making clear nod to the judge when you start.
  • If you are showing canter you may start your test at the first corner.
  • For trot, slow tölt, fast tölt or canter show one complete circuit.
  • If you are showing walk (including lead-rein and in-hand entries) you are only required to show walk along one long side.
  • When you have completed this please turn around and exit the track as quickly as you can.
  • If you are showing pace you complete one circuit showing pace on each of the long sides. You will be scored on your best attempt.

As soon as you have completed the Oval Track section proceed to the waiting area for the Trail section. Depending on the number of entries there may be a delay before you ride the second section.

Section 2: trail

It is planned (subject to change) that this year’s Trail section will be laid out in a fenced grass paddock. You will not be permitted to ride the course before the class opens.  There will be approximately ten obstacles (see below) and a maximum time allowed for each entry. This will be confirmed on the day after the course has been tested, but is likely to be around five minutes. It is not a race and the timing will be ample to complete the course but is intended to keep up momentum, and allow you to judge if you should move on, or take time at each obstacle according to you and your horse’s needs.

If you are unable to complete an obstacle you will not be permitted multiple attempts and in most cases the scoring is designed to give a zero mark after a set number of refusals. If you wish to ride a failed obstacle again for your horses’ education we will try and accommodate this at the end of the class, depending on demands on time.

Obstacles should be ridden in walk, trot, tölt or canter. However this is not a speed test and you should note that if you go past an obstacle this will count as a refusal. The course should be approached in a calm manner with the aim of completing the obstacles smoothly and giving a good experience to your horse. Points will be deducted for rough riding or for excessive use of a stick/crop. Maximum mark for each obstacle is five. A guideline on what the obstacles may involve (subject to change on the day):

1. Bending Poles

  • Why? Responsiveness to lateral aids and flexibility, co-operative led horses
  • Five poles (or equivalent) in a straight line, weave through the posts
  • After passing the first post there is one point for each subsequent post passed on the correct side
  • Minus one point for any missed posts, and for each incident of stepping over the edge of the oval track or marked line
  • Plus one point for riding this in trot, tölt or canter

2. Dismount and pick out a hoof/remove and replace a hoof boot, with horse not held

  • Why? Ability to leave your horse untied/ not held briefly. You never know when you might need to dismount and deal with a stone or similar in hoof when out riding
  • Place horse in marked position and ask them to stand still
  • Pick up hoof pick and clean out hoof or remove and replace the hoof boot, within the allowed time
  • Max 5 points, minus 2 points for holding horse

3. Leading over seesaw

  • Why? You need to be able to lead your horse over any surface your need her/him too to be able to deal with the unexpected when out riding.
  • Lead straight over the seesaw.
  • Max 5 points, minus 1 point for each refusal (stepping back or sideways), up to maximum of 5 attempts.

4. Mount from the right, using a mounting block

  • Why? For safety reasons your horse must stand still for mounting. You should be able to mount your horse from either side, as when hacking it may not be possible to mount from the left side as people mostly do.
  • Mounting from a block, or anything convenient and suitable is better for your horses back, so the ability to place them next to a block is important
  • Position the horse next to the block, mount place feet in stirrups and wait 3 seconds. The judge will guide you.
  • Max 5 points, minus 1 for each reposition of horse or movement during mounting

5. Jump/step over

  • Why? Willingness and ability to negotiate a blockage on your path.
  • 5 points – Jumped or stepped over clear without knocking
  • 4 points – cleared but knocked once (jump stays up)
  • 3 points – one refusal (stopping or running out) but then jumped/stepped clear
  • 2 points – Obstacle is cleared but jump is knocked down
  • 1 point – one refusal then knocked down, but still completes the obstacle
  • 0 points – more than one refusal or failure to complete

6. Gate

  • Why? Gate opening whilst mounted is an extremely useful skill when trail riding, reducing the time wasted getting off and on!
  • Ride to gate. Remove rope fastening, open the gate, pass through the gate, close the gate, replace rope fastening
  • Max 10 points, minus 2 points for each part not complete

7. Undefined obstacle

  • An unknown obstacle down to the course builders creativity!
  • Some ideas might be a bridge, partially fallen tree, water element… but this will vary depending on what’s available locally
  • Max 5 points, minus 1 point for each error (according to course builders instructions)

8. Rein-back

  • Why? Do you have a reliable reverse gear? The ability to guide your horse backwards in a straight line to get out of a tricky situation.
  • Enter the marked path and ride until the horse front feet are over the second line
  • Walk backwards until horses front feet are over the rear line. The judge will guide you.
  • Max 5 points, minus 1 point for knocking a pole or stepping outside the polls
  • Stepping outside the polls twice scores 0

9. Pick up a hat silk on the ground using a whip

  • Why? Riders balance and ability to control the horse whist carrying or lifting something and calmness of the horse (plus this is a useful skill!)
  • Pick up the whip – there will be a choice of short or longer whips – from the first receptacle and carry it to the hat silk
  • Pick up the silk using the whip and hand hat silk to judges
  • Max 5 points, minus 1 for missing the whip pick-up or missing the hat silk
  • Dropping the hat silk after pickup, taking more than 2 attempts to pickup the whip or 3 to pickup the silk scores 0

Any questions, just email and hopefully see you soon at the British Championships & Summer Festival! If you haven’t got your entry in yet, you’ve got until tomorrow before they close – enter here.