The Ranch Trail class is designed to show your horses willingness to perform several tasks that might be asked of him during the course of a normal work day on the ranch. This class consists of 7 obstacles and the three gaits of walk, trot, lope.
Three of the obstacles are mandatory at each event: 1) opening, passing through and closing a gate 2) dragging a log 3) dismount, ground tie, drop your bridle and re-bridle, pickup all 4 feet and remount.
Mandatory 1) Opening and closing a gate. This can be performed several different ways. Be sure to consult your trail pattern and clinician at each event for specifics. If you have questions or need clarification ask your event manager and/or judge prior to the class starting. When performing the gate maneuver you are not to let go of the gate at any time until you are finished. Letting go of the gate results in a penalty.
Mandatory 2) Dragging a log. This can also be performed several different ways. Again, be sure to consult your trail pattern and clinician at each event for specifics. Credit is given as to how smoothly and efficiently the horse performs this task.
Mandatory 3) Dismount, un-bridle & re-bridle, pick up feet, ground tie and remount. This requires the horse to stand quietly while the rider dismounts, removes the bit completely from the horse’s mouth to allow the judge to see the bit, re-bridles and then goes around the horse picking up each foot. The horse should remain ground tied as the person goes about the process until finally mounting up.
Other optional obstacles may include crossing a real water hazard, a bridge, opening/closing a mail box, side passing over odd shaped logs, carrying a slicker from one spot to another, roping a stationary steer etc.. Often, natural obstacle courses are used for this class which can include grassy surfaces (a particular challenge for the ground tie).
See the NVRHA’s score sheets for all 5 classes for the scoring system. The pluses and minuses as well as minor and major penalties are clearly described. For further information on this category, refer to NVRHA's current Rules & Regulations, or, contact us for any clarification of this event.