Three Top Equine Trail Sports Tips

“I find Equine Trail Sports trail events to be a wonderful opportunity to improve the relationships with our horses. It’s educational for them and provides a useful job performing at each obstacle. I’ve specifically started two of my own horses on the ETS trails.

Ally, my Appy/QH mare, was started under saddle just eight months before her first ETS event in 2015. Ally and I went on to win the 2016 NW Regional Championship in the Intermediate division. That same year I started my QH gelding, Jeb. The following year we won the 2017 NW Regional Championships in the Novice division with barely over 100 rides total.

This year I’m re-starting my Thoroughbred mare, Willow, as she has been on the back-burner for awhile. It’s been somewhat of a struggle since trail riding isn’t her strength, but I’m stoked that she’s made a lot of improvements since the beginning of the year.  ETS events are excellent for revealing the things I need to work on.  

As a youngster I became involved with 4H and I also participated in local horse shows. Even way back then, my favorite equestrian events were the trail competitions! In those days, the trail classes were held in an arena. I feel incredibly blessed to participate in the ETS trail courses because they are actually performed on REAL TRAILS!

I have enjoyed the privilege of riding many amazing trails in the Pacific NW and for me, this is the most beautiful place in the world for riding,” Brenda Fromhold.

ETS has helped my horsemanship grow and improve. There’s no better feeling than building a better partnership with my ponies and as a bonus I’ve made many new awesome friends!

From left; Brenda, Jeb, Dash, Ally and Willow

These are my top three tips that help me get the most out of my ETS rides:

1. SMILE & HAVE FUN

Smile and have fun with your equine and friends. This is what it is all about. Indulge in all the things you and your horse can learn and experience. Discover your strengths and weaknesses in your partnership with your horse. I’ve found these trail challenges to often be an eye opener on things I need to improve upon, plus I’m pleasantly surprised at times to recognize the bond I’ve created with my steady mounts. It’s quite a rewarding experience!

2. ASK QUESTIONS

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get advice from riders who’ve been “around the block” with ETS rides. I freely share the mistakes I’ve made in the past which will possibly help others from making the same errors. Though I still make mistakes, I firmly believe that’s how we learn and grow.

3. READ YOUR OBSTACLE SHEET

Read your obstacle sheet and re-read it before each obstacle. Ask the judges if you have questions. The judges will willingly demonstrate the different level requirements of the obstacle they are judging. Pay close attention to how they navigate through the obstacle, then read your obstacle sheet again to make sure you fully understand the level you’re about to accomplish. Remember that you and your equine will get at least 1 point for crossing the start line. As you perform the obstacle, remember to breathe! I know this may sound silly, but you might be surprised to discover how often we all find ourselves holding our breath in the midst of an obstacle.

Ride on and have fun! See y’all on the trails!

Story by Brenda Fromhold


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