CHENEY – The North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC), a nonprofit organization that provides competitive distance trail rides for riders of all equine breeds and disciplines, will be holding its second annual trail ride competition, “Exploring Sand Hills,” at Sand Hills State Park April 10-12, 2015. Anyone age 10 or older is welcome to compete. A free clinic will be held on Friday April 10 at 10 a.m. for first-time competitors.
In a competitive trail event, riders will complete a measured distance ride within a window of time. The judging begins at the preliminary examination, usually the day before the ride, continues during the ride, and concludes at the final examination one or two days later. The equines (horses, ponies, and mules) are evaluated on condition, soundness, and trail manners. Riders are judged on horsemanship as it applies to trail riding and caring for a horse naturally (without drugs or artificial appliances) during and after a day on the trail.
Riders can compete in 1-day or 2-day rides within novice, competitive pleasure, and open classes. Novice and competitive pleasure classes will complete about 16 miles per day, and open classes will complete about 27 miles per day.
Campsite and ride reservations are required and fill up fast, so early registration is encouraged. Horses will have their own individual corrals.
All contestants will receive gift buckets with coupons, samples, and literature from sponsors. Each first-time competitor will receive a completion award. Evening meals Friday and Saturday will be potluck with meat provided by ride management. In addition to awards and door prizes, there will also be live entertainment Saturday evening.