Each obstacle will receive two scores, each on a scale of 0 to 10. One score for the rider, one for the horse. Zero represents a total failure to meet the obstacle requirements. Ten represents a theoretically perfect performance, and should be very difficult to achieve! Horses are scored on their ability to follow the direction of the rider in a calm, competent, pleasant manner. Riders are scored on their equitation. This is NOT “show equitation.” The judge will reward balanced, nuanced riding that guides the horse over the trail while not getting in its way. Subtle cues and sensitive, quiet riding will be rewarded. Harsh cues and bad balance in the saddle will not be rewarded.
We recognize that some trails are just more challenging than others, so we are allowing judges to award bonus points in 1/2 point increments to riders who choose to ride more challenging trails. What is challenging? Steep, rocky, rough, narrow, winding…you get the idea. Backing up on a rocky, steep trail is objectively harder than the same movement on a flat, wide, groomed bridle path. However, be cautious! If your trail is too difficult and it shows in your horse’s performance or your riding, your bonus points may not be enough to bump you over a rider on a slightly easier trail!
The Safety Speech...and Another Bonus?
We encourage helmets for all riders of all ages. Of course, it's entirely your choice to wear a helmet or not; however, to reward those who value their cranial contents, we will award ½ point to the total obstacle score for each video in which you wear a properly fitting helmet. This means a potential 3 points added to your overall score! Helmets that—in the judge's opinion—do not fit correctly will not be point earning. See video below for helmet fitting tips.