Trail can arguably be the hardest class among a show-bill. There are numerous obstacles that a horse and rider must overcome at distinct gates and balance. There needs to be a very strong sense of discipline and cadence throughout each pattern to make it seem as smooth as possible. In order to do so Liz Arnold wrote in her 2017 article “Out of the Box: Tips for Entering the Trail Arena” about what every competitor should know when trying their turn in the trail class. Liz spoke with other trail veterans and pointed out the fact that when beginning it can be beneficial to start off with a good trainer and a seasoned horse. One thing from having these is to help learning stride counts in between obstacles. When training a horse we talk about putting miles on them but when it comes to learning a new class broke horses have the turn to give us the miles we need to understand how it all plays out. To quote Beckie Peskin in Arnold’s article, “Trail forces you to slow down your brain and in one obstacle.”
Patience is another key factor to trail. There are so many things that can go wrong but yet others that can go right. It can be easy to get frustrated so it’s important to take things slow and concentrate on one thing at a time. In each obstacle you need to go into it with ease and without harsh or abrupt direction. The trail pattern will never be the same so you and your horse will always face new challenges which is another factor to look forward to. Getting to know your horse before heading into the show-pen will give you a great advantage and help judge your next moves much easier. So after all is said and done, Liz Arnold does a good job of laying out examples from other amateurs and professionals about being patient, taking your time, and knowing your horse first or starting off with a seasoned horse when beginning in the trail class. Check out Arnold’s article in the link attached.