I went down to Maple Valley today and helped on a trail competition. I did have ulterior motives, as I'm thinking this might be a fun way to branch out in my competing, especially as I'm not getting the conditioning in I need to do well at 50 mile endurance rides. This was an ACTHA ride at the Danville-Georgetown trail system and although I went to watch, I ended up helping Monica Bretherton at one of the obstacles (and keeping her company between riders - VERY important). As I had no idea what to expect, it was a lot of fun. Our obstacle was a lope between two road cones- maybe a total of 100 feet total. The 'pleasure' horse and riders had to lope this on the right lead canter, and the 'open' teams were supposed to start loping on the left lead, do a simple change (or a flying change if they were up to it) and then switch to right lead canter. There was a wide variety of riding competence - from 'Thank goodness he didn't fall off' to "That was pretty nice" and everything in between.
We didn't get to see any of the other obstacles, but I heard of a gate that needed to be opened and shut, a log to sidepass over and a hat to pick up off the ground. Everyone seemed to be pretty happy when they got to us, so I assume those other obstacles were do-able.
Tomorrow, Monica, her husband and I are heading out for a nice trail ride ourselves, although I doubt we'll find any real obstacles out there, unless bicycles and strollers count. Of course, you never know, which is half the fun of a trail ride.
Maybe Galen and I will have to try one of these trail competitions, although I heard there are no extra points for doing it quickly. We'll see!