Mikell Farm
Performance Horses
Mikell Farm
Performance Horses

This page was last updated on: February 9, 2016
Kelley & Mike Livelsberger
435 E Canal Road York, PA 17404   
Trail Class
Trail is a competitive class at horse shows where horses and riders navigate a series of obstacles. Contestants ride the course one at a time. Originally designed to resemble situations a horse and rider might actually encounter when on a trail in a natural habitat, modern trail classes now tend to focus more heavily on agility and manners, with courses bearing very little resemblance to real-world natural trails.
A typical trail course requires horse and rider to open and pass through a small gate while mounted; walk across a fake bridge. cross over a set of rails or logs at a walk, trot or lope; back up, often with a turn while backing; The horse is asked to perform all three gaits in the process of completing the course.
Additional obstacles or tests may include walking over a plastic tarp or through water; having the horse ground-tie (remain standing in one spot while the rider walks away). walk, trot or lope in very tight quarters, such as traveling through a series of cones or markers in a serpentine pattern.

Sidepass, often over a rail or log; turn on the forehand or hindquarters within a confined area; and tolerate some type of "spooky" obstacle, such as having the rider put on a vinyl raincoat.

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.In-hand trail Class

In-Hand Trail is a relatively new class that has been added to many breed associations and some open shows as well. It is a class that, just as the name implies, allows you to lead your horse through the trail obstacles.  The obstacles are generally the same as for standard trail classes with the exception of lope-overs.
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The in-hand trail class usually includes the following obstacles: a gate, walk and trot-overs, back throughs, side passing, a mail box or raincoat, a bridge, turning in a box, and walking and/or trotting through and around cones.
In-hand trail is a great addition to the show bill and training of any horse and rider and is an excellent way to start teaching how to maneuver obstacles. It gives young horses and riders an additional area to focus on that teaches the rider to work with their horse to get through a obstacle.  Not only does it prepare you for the usual, under saddle trail classes, it is also a great way to start teaching showmanship!