What is a Competitive Trail Ride(CTR)?
A CTR is a judged and timed ride that covers any distance of 25 miles or more. Rides of greater than 40 miles usually take place over multiple days. Most one day rides are 25 or 30 miles.
CTR's are set up to be timed, with acceptable times based on an average speed of approximately 5.6 mph. e.g. for a 25 mile ride, acceptable times are 4 hrs 10 minutes to 4 hrs 40 minutes. Early or late arrivals are subject to penalty points.
Judging and scoring is based totally on the condition of the horse. As is sometimes said, “riders don't count”,as long as you can sit a horse for 25 miles, whether you are lame or not doesn't matter.
Horses are inspected by a veteranarian and/or lay judge before and then again after the ride. Points arededucted for any changes for the worse. The horse that changes the least is declared the winner. Even though we all strive for it, the horse doesn't have to be perfect at the beginning, as long as the judge determines it is sound enough to begin. The health and safety of the horse is the ultimate concern of the judge(s). Any noticed lameness, stress, or abnormality before or during the ride may result in elimination. A pre-printed score sheet is used for each horse, with “before” and “after” columns for each general area being judged. Just a few of these areas include lameness, scratches and abnormalities on each leg and tack area, plus metabolics concerns such as dehydration, pulse and respiration, and temperature.
CTR's in the eastern United States are sanctioned by the Eastern Comptetitive Ride Association (ECTRA). All times, rules, judging criteria are determined by ECTRA. ECTRA also tracks all horse and rider mileage for it's members. Some people try to accumulate mileage on their horses and for themselves, while others strive for excellence. Both are rewarded. One rider has accumulated more than 50,000 sanctioned miles! That is a lot of 25 – 100 mile rides!
For more info on CTR's, I refer you to the ECTRA web site: www.ectra.org and the ECTRA rulebook at: http://ectra.org/cms/images/stories/ECTRA_Rulebook/2016_ECTRA_Rulebook.pdf
Vermont Horse Council is hosting a CTR on August 20 at the NEKET trail system in Victory. The ride will be 25 miles. There will be the traditional judged ride, plus a Pass/Fail division for those that want to ride without receiving a score just a Pass or Fail grade. There will also be “Conditioning Distance Ride” of 13-15 miles. It will be judged as a Pass/Fail. If you don't think you or your horse isn't “up” for 25 miles, this might be a choice for you. Entry forms can be found on the VHC web site at www.vthorsecouncil.org
A few tips for new CTR/CDR riders:
You'll need a Coggins and Rabies. When the vet comes out to administer, ask him/her to watch your horse trot in hand and look for anything that might be a hinderance.
- Proper tack fit is essential, both for conditioning and during competition. No piece of tack should cause rubs or hair loss.
- Ask your farrier is they think your horse is capable of carrying 25 miles over varying terrain.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Go on the ECTRA Facebook page or their Yahoo group and ask questions. They are very willing to help new riders. See if any seasoned riders are near you and will go on a practice ride with you.
- Most riders compete against their previous scores and are willing to help you become someone your horse is proud of!
- Any breed or type can be successful in this sport and many breed organizations have award programs that make it more fun.