Trail is a competitive class at horse shows where horses and riders in western-style attire and horse tack 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; 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. The horse is asked to perform all three gaits in the process of completing the course.
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