Elfin Forest Competitive Trail Ride
I’d heard about NATRC–the North American Trail Riding Conference–but I’d never been to an event. Since I love trail riding, it sounded like fun. So when a friend offered to enter a NATRC event with me, and even told me I could borrow her retired endurance horse, I jumped at the chance.
The ride was beautiful. It encompassed 25 miles of spectacular trails in the hills above Santa Barbara. We rode through meadows and oak forests, through creeks and past a lake. I learned a lot about caring for my horse on a long trail ride, and how to safely camp with a horse. Just the experience alone was worth the trip, so imagine my joy when both my horse and I won second place in our division! I was hooked.
Fifteen years later, I am still enjoying NATRC competitive trail rides. Unlike endurance riding, NATRC rides are not a race. Instead, horse and rider travel at a moderate pace. They are judged individually, the rider on horsemanship, the horse on conditioning and manners. At the end of a wonderful day of riding, dinner is served and ribbons are handed out.