Iowa Trail Riding Equestrian Challenges (ITREC) - competitive trail challenges (CTC's)
ITREC Rules 
 
Each participant and volunteer will be required to sign a Waiver/Release form.  Click on the icon to view/print the form, OR you can submit your waiver online.  Only one waiver is required per calender year.

 
ITREC is run by volunteers for the enjoyment of equine trail riding enthusiasts.  All equine breeds and disciplines are welcome.  The use of the term “horse(s)” is meant to include all equines (including mules, for example).  However, stallions are not permitted at this time at ITREC events.
 
Mission:To provide an enjoyable, friendly, fair competition where participants can explore, challenge and showcase their partnerships with their horses.
 
ITREC reserves the right to refuse entry or to disqualify participants at its discretion for issues including, but not limited to, dishonesty, inhumane treatment of animals, nonpayment of dues or ride fees or a debit balance with the club (due to returned check, for example), unsportsmanlike conduct toward others, or any other behavior posing a threat to self or others.

Riders Under Age 18:
  • Riders under 16 years of age must ride with a designated supervising adult
  • All riders under age 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian
  • All riders under age 18 must wear a helmet at all times when mounted
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Divisions:

Novice - Horse or rider or both: This division is designed for those who want to try a trail challenge for the first time, are not experienced trail riders, or are riding mounts that have not been exposed to a group trail riding atmosphere. The course and obstacles will be designed accordingly to test the horse and rider's basic trail riding partnership. Note: ride distance may be considerably shorter for this division depending on layout of hosting facility's trails.

Intermediate: This division is designed for those who have the basic components of riding down and are comfortable with trail riding. This group should be able to walk, trot, canter, back up, transition, and side pass to some extent. This group will not be asked to perform with the same type of precision as the advanced group. The course and obstacles will be designed accordingly to test the horse and rider's trail riding partnership. 

Advanced: This division is designed for those who have all of the components of riding down and are comfortable with trail riding. This group should be able to walk, trot, canter, back up, transition, and side pass with precision. This group will be asked to perform with precision. The course and obstacles will be designed accordingly to test the horse and rider's trail riding partnership and subtle use of aids to accomplish tasks.

Moving Between Divisions:  Competitors may move between divisions as desired from ride to ride.  However, if a rider wishes to change the division they registered for, they must contact ride management and do so by 5:00 pm the day before the ride date.  This is necessary to allow ride management to have the rider and division information recorded correctly on ride roster, judges sheets, score tally spreadsheets, etc. to prevent errors.  Last minute changes will not be able to be accommodated.

**NOTE:  Once you have been awarded High Point or Reserve High Point in a division, you MUST (with exception of Advanced) move up to the next division for the next year if you continue to ride that horse.
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Resolution of Rule Violations and Disputes - Peer Panel:  In the interest of fairness, resolution of rule violations and disputes will be handled by the riders as much as possible.  After the conclusion of each trail challenge and before awards, a time will be set aside for riders to bring any issues of concern before the Peer Panel.  The Peer Panel will consist of all riders in the affected division(s) besides the rider(s) involved in the dispute.  The Peer Panel will decide the appropriate resolution of the issue and the appropriate action to be taken.  This approach is meant to avoid “politics” and ensure fairness among competitors.
 
Suspected scoring mistakes should be taken to the ride management team.  The ride management team will review the grievance, consult with the judge as possible and appropriate and determine the outcome.
 
Fairness and good sportsmanship are the foundation of this organization.  Competitors are expected to conduct themselves in a courteous manner toward anyone they encounter at a trail challenge.  A rider who knowingly puts themselves at an unfair advantage (taking a shortcut or riding out to practice an obstacle on the course before the competition, for example) may be disqualified and/or banned from competition for a length of time to be determined by the Peer Panel or ride management. 
 
A judge may NOT ride in the trail challenge.  Hosting ride staff and family members of the hosting ride staff may participate, if they have NO KNOWLEDGE of the obstacles/course for their division of that particular trail challenge. 
 
In the event the violation or conflict cannot be resolved by the Peer Panel, final authority will rest with the presiding executive members of ITREC.
 
Competitors coming from Out-of-State:  Competitors coming from outside the state of Iowa are responsible for knowing and complying with Iowa’s laws regarding transporting horses into the state.  Out-of-state competitors may be asked to show documentation of compliance with Iowa law regarding transportation of horses. 
 
Equine Health:  Riders’ mounts should be in good health and physically fit for a 3 hour trail ride.  Any rider whose mount has a questionable health issue, whether coming from another state or within the state, should bring documentation from an accredited equine health professional confirming that the equine’s condition is not contagious and that participating in the trail challenge will not be adverse to the equine’s well-being.  In order to prevent the spread of disease we ask that everyone provide their own feed and watering bucket.
 
Before Heading Out…
Competitors must NOT ride the course or practice the obstacles on the course prior to competing in the trail challenge.
 
All riders assume the risk of horseback riding as participants in a trail challenge.  All riders MUST sign a waiver of liability acknowledging their assumption of risk in order to participate in a trail challenge.
 
Competitors under the age of 18 (minors) MUST wear a helmet and MUST have a release form signed by a parent/guardian.  Parents and legal guardians of minors must review the rules and safe riding procedures with their child prior to participation.  A minor is not eligible for cash prizes.
 
Riders under the age of 16 must ride with a supervising adult rider over the age of 18.  The supervising adult rider may be another competitor or a Safety Rider.
 
ITREC does not allow the use of any performance enhancing equine pharmaceuticals.  Any competitor who is able to be held accountable for such will face suspension from ITREC for up to one full competition season from the incident date.  Competitors may be asked to allow a certified veterinarian to draw a blood sample from the horse for the purpose of testing for such substances.  Refusal may result in disqualification of the horse and/or rider from future competitions for a length to be determined by ITREC executive members.
 
The use of any excessive force or unsportsmanlike conduct by a competitor toward another person or an equine is subject to disqualification and suspension from future competitions for a length of time to be decided by the Peer Panel.
 
Alcohol, recreational drugs, firearms and pets are forbidden on a trail challenge. 
 
Dogs may not accompany riders on a trail challenge.  Dogs may or may not be allowed at the hosting facility according to the facility’s own rules.
 
On the trail…
The trail challenge is between one horse and one rider.  A horse may not be ridden by more than one person at a time (i.e. riding double).  A horse and rider team may not lead another horse for any part of the trail challenge unless requested to do so as part of an obstacle.  Riders should be able to ride the trail course with their mount through the route determined for their division without assistance from another rider or ride staff member.  In the case that a horse must be led through a portion of the trail course, the horse/rider team will incur a penalty from their overall score.  Riders must notify ride management of the occurrence before ride scores have been tallied for awards.

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New in 2016:  Ride-alongs ARE allowed during our trail events (not arena events).  However, any riders/horses that ride along with a registered competitor must NOT interfere with competitors or attempt the obstacles in any way.  If this happens, the competitor associated with the companion rider may receive a zero on that obstacle.  Companion riders must wait outside of the designated zone of the obstacle until all competitors have completed the obstacle.  

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In case of an accident/injury, other competitors are expected to continue riding the trail in the competition after notifying ride staff and ensuring a member of ride staff is with the injured party and handling the situation.  A friend or family member may choose to withdraw from the competition to stay with the injured party.
 
Riders may dismount at any point in the trail challenge.  If a rider dismounts during an obstacle, the judge will use his or her discretion in penalizing the reason for the dismount or rewarding the rider for using good judgment.  If a rider dismounts - voluntarily or involuntarily – along the trail course, the rider must re-mount at the same point where they dismounted and must not lead the horse to advance through any portion of the trail course.
 
Competitors will have a set time limit to complete each judged obstacle.  Time limits will be determined by the ride management for each obstacle.  After the elapsed time, the rider will be asked by the judge to move on and will receive the score they have accumulated by the end of the time limit.  A competitor may ask how much time they have remaining at any point while working to complete the obstacle.
 
A rider may stop their horse to water at any opportunity during the trail challenge, except that it must not interfere with another rider’s performance of an obstacle and doing so must not provide an advantage to the performance of the obstacle.  For example, if the water source is a water crossing obstacle, the rider wishing to water their horse should wait until all riders in their group, including themselves, have completed the obstacle.
 
A judge or member of ride management has the right to disqualify and/or remove a competitor from an obstacle, the course or facilities for whatever reason they see fit.  This may be, but is not limited to, unsportsmanlike conduct, dangerous conditions or unsoundness problems exhibited by the horse.  
 
Any harsh handling of a horse at an obstacle will be penalized by the judges as they see fit.  A trail horse needs the use of his head and neck for balance and eyesight, and a soft use of the reins will be appreciated by the judges.
 
Riders must not interfere with another contestant’s performance in any way.  To do so intentionally will result in the offender’s disqualification from the trail challenge.  If the interference is unintentional, the obstacle judge may allow the contestant who was disrupted a “do-over”.  (An example of an intentional interference would be an observer opening an umbrella during another contestant’s performance.  An example of an unintentional interference would be a horse outside of the obstacle area unexpectedly shaking due to an itch.) 
 
No contestant is to knowingly stray from the trail course or cut off distance.  This will result in a disqualification from the trail challenge.  If a rider does accidentally get lost, they are to return to the trail at the point where they left the course.
 
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Equipment Regulations:  Competitors’ mounts must wear some form of headgear, such as a bridle or hackamore.
 
Riders must use a saddle.  Saddles may be traditional or treeless.  Bareback pads are not recommended, but are not prohibited.
 
Training devices such as martingales (standing, running & German martingales) and tie-downs must NOT be used on the trail.  No form of head restraint other than a bridle is permitted. 
 
Protective sport boots and leg/shin protection are permitted.
 
Use of any equipment in any manner that compromises the safety of any competitor will be subject to Peer Panel review and may be penalized accordingly.

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Judging and Scoring:  Judges are volunteers and are not paid professionals.  They are briefed as to the expectations they should have when judging participants.  Every effort will be made to judge contestants equally.  However, judges will vary on their level of expectations and some will naturally be more strict or lenient than others.  Riders should understand that a different score on one obstacle to the next does not necessarily mean that the performance was better/worse in comparison of the performances, but that the rider’s performance deemed the score they received based on each judge’s personal scoring scale.  Riders are not permitted to directly challenge any judge.  However, if a rider feels there is a mistake, they may have it reviewed and a decision requested by ride management.

NEW IN 2016: In order to be considered for the year-end High Point and Reserve High Point awards, competitors MUST VOLUNTEER to be a JUDGE or ASSISTANT JUDGE for at least ONE event during the calendar year.  ITREC could not operate without the help of generous sponsors and volunteers.  From organizing an event all the way through the final awards, many, many hours are put in by dedicated people.  There are many ways to volunteer!

Judges and judge's assistants (mandatory for those who want to be eligible for reserve high-point and high-point awards):  You will judge (or assist with) at least one obstacle during an ITREC event.  You will be given scoring sheets and rules for your obstacle.  If you volunteer to be a judge, you may NOT compete in that ITREC event for which you are judging.    

Providing an obstacle for an event:  a wide variety of obstacles, from natural to man-made, are needed for our trail challenges.  If you choose to provide an obstacle as your volunteer duty, we ask that you design, build/collect materials, and transport it to and from the event.  If you volunteer to provide an obstacle, you may NOT compete in that ITREC event.   

Safety rider:  Accompanying competition ride-out groups along the trail, helping with navigation and dealing with emergencies that may arise within your group.  It is helpful if you have a reliable, experienced horse and have some knowledge of the trails that you are riding, but not required.  You may be allowed to attempt obstacles with your horse once all competitors have completed it, at the judge's discretion.  

Other ways you can volunteer include helping with check-in, scoring, donating prizes, working the booth at a non-ITREC event, helping with a fundraising activity,  providing a meal or snacks if the venue allows, providing a venue for an event, or helping with set up/tear down.   

ITREC will award you points for your volunteer event (only if it prevents you from, or you choose not to, compete in a ride in which you would have recieved a score) by figuring the average of your scores at all events you have competed in throughout the year, when year-end scores are tallied.  For example, if Pat competed in 3 events, scoring 145,189, and 170, Pat's points for volunteering would be the average of those 3 events- 168.  So Pat's year-end total points would be those four scores added together, for 672 points for the year.

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Awards: Ribbons will be awarded for each trail challenge to 1st-6th place for each division based on points earned at judged obstacles. Other prizes will be awarded at the ride management’s discretion.  There will also be year-end awards for High Point and Reserve High Point for those who wish to be considered, and have fulfilled the volunteer requirement for that year.  Those awards will be buckles and trophies.

Tie Breaker for Award of Placing Ribbons:  In the event there is a tie in the number of points for riders in a division, the tie will be broken for determining ribbon place awarded by assessing the number of points earned by the riders at the following numbered obstacles in this order:  Obstacle 3, Obstacle 1, Obstacle 5, Obstacle 2, then Obstacle 4.
 
Ride Cancellation Policy / Refunds:  Organizing a trail challenge involves considerable time and expense, so rides may or may not be rescheduled.  Every effort will be made to hold the trail challenge on the scheduled day.  In the event of severe weather, the start time of the challenge will be delayed until the weather threat has passed, or, if trails are deemed to be unsafe, the obstacles will be judged in an arena in a show-like setting.  An effort will be made to allow for riding a course outside of the arena.  It is always the rider’s responsibility to determine whether conditions (weather or otherwise) are acceptable to attend any ride.  The rider is responsible for their own safety and that of their animal(s) at all times.  In the event that a trail challenge must be canceled, ride fees for that challenge (such as due to hardship) will be refunded to registered riders OR credited to a future  ITREC ride – whichever the rider prefers.  Requests for refunds of ride fees before the trail challenge will be granted at the discretion of the ride management. If weather is questionable, contact Cody at 515.229.9636 to verify the event is still a go.  We will post any event cancellations on our website and our Facebook site immediately, also.