In-Hand Trail Classes Growing in Popularity

Trail class has been around for some time and is certainly well known, but there is a relatively new trail class, that is an off- shoot of the traditional trail class, called In-Hand Trail Class.This class is growing in popularity with all breeds and among Seasoned Riders as well.

The In-Hand Trail class course is set up much like a standard trail class in which the horses are ridden, except the horse is led in-hand by the exhibitor. Like a ridden trail class obstacles are set up in the arena. This class were once generally offered to young horses who had not yet been saddle trained, but that has changed in recent years and is open to horses of all ages and training levels. At most open shows however the general rule is if the horse is entered in a In-Hand Trail class they can't enter the ridden Trail Class, but at some shows the In-Hand Trail and Ridden Trail class course are different.

Just as in ridden trail class the course is set up in a ring and the exhibitor is told what is required of both exhibitor and horse in the class. Depending on the age of the horse competing there may be a bridge to walk over or a gate to go through. You may also be asked to walk over poles on the ground or tarps (to simulate water). You may be asked to back your horse through poles as well as place a saddle pad or other type of blanket on him.

Your horse must have basic grounds manners to compete in this class. He needs to lead properly, in-hand, and stand quietly. Like any other class you may enter it’s important to train your horse at home so he is comfortable with what you ask him to do on show day. It’s a good idea to set up obstacles at home for these training sessions.

In-hand trail class is a perfect class for the young horse with no showing experience or older horses new to show ring. It exposes them to the show ring as well as all the sights and sounds outside the show ring. It’s a good starting place for young horses and good confidence builder for them as well.

At the show the course will be explained to you The judging of the class is usually done just as a ridden trail class, with points received for each obstacle successfully executed and points taken off for refusals.

Entering an In-Hand Trail Class is, for many people is not only a challenge, but they find it enjoyable as well. It exposes young horses, or even mature horses with no showing experience, to the show ring. It’s an excellent training method, as well, for the young horse and he can carry what he has learned in-hand to his saddle training. Entering an In-Hand Trail class is also an excellent method of bonding with horse whether you have young horse or you and your horse are just beginning your partnership. Many Seasoned Riders enjoy entering this class with their horses for those to reasons.