Yorba Linda Country Riders Hosts Obstacle Challenge

What is the difference between a trail trial and a trail horse obstacle challenge?

A trail trial is an organized trail ride, usually 5-10 miles long, that includes 10-12 obstacles and situations along the trail that a horse and rider might encounter on any trail ride. In areas where riders do “urban” trail riding, obstacles might include more man-made items.

YLCR obstacle challenge 2012A trail horse obstacle challenge, which is not to be confused with a trail course in a western pleasure show, will have similar obstacles to the trail trial but is confined to a smaller area or horse arena. Like a trail trial, it challenges both rider and trail horse in confidence, control, agility, and horsemanship. A trail horse obstacle challenge course is completed in minutes, rather than hours, depending on the number of trail obstacles, usually around ten. Multiple trail courses may be entered for a full day of challenging trail horse obstacle fun.

Yorba Linda Country Riders (YLCR) held an Obstacle Challenge on Sunday and four of my friends and I went to join the fun — Connie and Sheila from Orange Park Acres (and fellow Hot … Continue reading

Arena Sorting Comes to Orange Park Acres

arena sorting in OPASorting is an equestrian sport that evolved from common ranch work and became a way for cowboys to showcase their horsemanship skills. Teamwork is essential in sorting and its sister activity, penning. Sorting is fast-moving and can be as exciting for the spectators as the riders. It is now considered a family sport as riders of all ages compete.

There are basically two types of sorting. Ranch/team sorting is usually done in two-man teams that move cows between two connected 50 or 60-foot round pens. Arena sorting uses a whole arena and a three-man team moves cows from one end over a start/foul line. In both cases, there are usually ten cows numbered 0 through 9 and it is a race against the clock to sort the cows one at a time in ascending order starting with the number announced by the judge. One rider cuts the cow out of the herd and drives it while the other rider(s) hold the sorted cows from crossing back and the wrong cows from crossing prematurely. If a cow sorted into the second round … Continue reading

Why You Should Participate in a Trail Trial

A trail trial, which is not to be confused with a trail course in a western pleasure show, is an organized trail ride, usually 5-10 miles long, that includes 10-12 obstacles and situations a horse and rider might encounter on a trail ride. The ride is planned using natural obstacles that already exist on a particular trail such as walking over logs, opening a gate, or maneuvering through a creek. Man-made obstacles that simulate natural obstacles might also be used. While out on the trail, riders may also encounter obstacles such as birthday parties, family picnics, mountain bikes, llamas, hikers, etc. These may be considered obstacles also. Riders are judged individually and strictly on how well they negotiate their horse through and over obstacles with an emphasis on safety and calmness.

Although trail trials are not timed events, riders may be given a time limit to ride through a particular obstacle so that riders behind don’t get held back. Riders may ride as individuals or groups, and family participation is encouraged. Helmet use is recommended. Riders are required to have certain equipment with them such as a halter and lead rope, or … Continue reading

OPA Riders Hunter Show 8-26-12

It was a great day to have a horse show. The weather was fantastic and at the end of the day a nice breeze came through the canyon to keep everyone cool. That was Sunday at the Mara Brandman Horse Arena in Orange Park Acres. “What more could you want?” asks Anne Bellah-Wolfe, Hunter/Jumper Horse Show Chair,  “Just the smiling faces of riders, advanced to the ones in their first show, from rides well done.” Anne explains, “That’s one of the reasons I took on this job as Hunter/Jumper Horse Show Manager. We need a place where we can have friendly competition in a great atmosphere right in the heart of Orange County. Whether you are looking to school your green horse, compete for fun or maybe win a year-end award, we have it for you here at the Mara Brandman Arena in Orange Park Acres.” This show featured “challenge” classes at the end of the day with more complex jump courses and these challenges will be included in future shows. The October show, to be held on Sunday, October 28th, will have an end of the day costume contest. A special holiday benefit weekend will feature a gymkhana play … Continue reading

Hunters vs. Jumpers in English Riding

Hunter showDo you know the difference between hunters and jumpers? They are two variations of English riding that may look alike at first glance but are actually very different, especially when it comes to the show ring, where many rules and regulations are not the same.

Hunter seat riding is a style of riding horses that was developed to enable the animals to have speed and maintain balance when traveling over uneven terrain and encountering obstacles that must be jumped–such as fences enclosing fields. This style of riding is historically associated with England, in which groups of farmers would go hunting for foxes that were raiding their hen houses. Fox hunting is still practiced in England and elsewhere, but now is more of a sport and social gathering than a necessary pursuit in order to protect one’s property. In fact, most of the people who practice hunter-seat riding do so for the sake of competition or trail-riding, and the fox is left out of the picture entirely. (via Introduction to Hunter Seat Riding.)

The hunt seat is also sometimes called the “forward … Continue reading

Fun in the Sun (and Heat)

The 28-acre Laguna Lake Park opened in Fullerton in 1952. Park guests can picnic inLaguna Lake Park the park area just below the dam, stroll around the lake on hard pack dirt trails, or depending on the time of year, cast a line for rainbow trout, catfish, bass or bluegill. The lake is stocked by California Department of Fish and Game. The equestrian center located in the park is home to Fullerton Recreational Riders (FRR). FRR built all of the equestrian facilities at no cost to the taxpayers of the city of Fullerton. From the park, you can ride more than 26 miles of dedicated recreational trails connecting numerous city parks creating many hours of enjoyable riding.

Fullerton Recreational Riders was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1961 and they held their first horseshow in 1964. This is their 51st year of providing excellent equine programs and activities to the community. They are a volunteer club and everything they offer is organized and staffed by volunteers. As a club, they offer trail rides, camp-outs, horse shows, gymkhanas, and various social events during the year with an emphasis … Continue reading

Do You Feel the Need for Speed?


The word gymkhana can refer to equestrian, gymnastic, auto, and motorcycle events. In fact, if you Google gymkhana, you get more motorsport websites than horse websites. The word itself is of Indian (Hindi) origin (first known use 1877) and referred to a place where sporting events took place.

Games on horseback have existed for centuries. Some of the earliest events involved the Mongol horsemen of Genghis Khan, whose competitions included picking up small flags off the ground by sliding around and under the rider’s mount while it was at full gallop. Native American riders often raced courses through the rocky desert terrain and reportedly, in a show of skill and bravery, rode close enough to galloping buffalo to slap their side before riding away.

Modern day equestrian gymkhanas are timed speed events in an arena that involve Pole Bendingpatterns. Some of the best known are barrel racing (cloverleaf) and pole bending. There are 13 common events, some of which favor speed, some skill. Events require precision and teamwork between horse and rider.

I found it interesting that, according to Wikipedia, in most of the western United States, this type of competition … Continue reading