Iowa Trail Riding Equestrian Challenges (ITREC) - competitive trail challenges (CTC's)
The judged obstacles are designed to simulate situations that may be encountered on a trail ride and test the horse and rider team's ability to navigate scenarios or accomplish tasks.  They may involve naturally occurring obstacles such as ravines, logs, water crossings, hills, etc. or props may be used such as a portable bridge, poles, gates, barrels, etc. 


Novice - This division is designed for those who want to try a trail challenge for the first time, they or their mount 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.

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 objectives.

Moving Between Divisions Competitors may move between divisions as desired. However, highpoint awards are awarded to a rider by division.  In other words, if a rider competes in both Intermediate and Advanced Divisions, calculations for that rider's highpoint total for Intermediate Highpoint will only count Intermediate rides and likewise for the Advanced Division. 
If a rider wishes to change the division in which they registered to ride, they must contact ride management and do so before ride day

Remember - you never have to do anything on your horse that you don't want to do.  You have the prerogative of passing on an obstacle that you don't feel comfortable attempting.  Passing on an obstacle will result in a score of 0 for that obstacle.

Listed below are obstacle elements that you may encounter and how you may be asked to complete them based on your division.  

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, just something to give you an idea of what the trail challenges are like.  

We may use obstacles and judging that do not appear on this list or may differ from this list in our continuing effort to provide an element of excitement and to be creative and "fresh" as we test skills appropriate for the divisions.



between poles (Novice) ·
over poles (Intermediate) ·
in a circle or figure 8 around an obstacle (tree, barrel, pole, etc.) (Intermediate/Advanced) 
up/down an incline (Intermediate/Advanced)   

one straight section only (Novice) ·
pass through/back (Intermediate/Advanced) ·
narrow L (Intermediate)  

TRIANGLE TANGLE (poles laid in triangle pattern on ground) 
pattern difficulty dependent on division. Rider may be asked to cross different sections of poles in certain patterns/backing/stopping   

(Intermediate/Advanced divisions only) 
up/down a moderate bank ·may be asked to W/T/L certain portions of obstacle   

may be flat or arced, one level, ground level, or multi level 
stop on bridge (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced) 
pick up/drop something off on bridge Intermediate/Advanced)
dismount before bridge and lead horse over (Novice)   

Varying levels of maneuvering asked based on division

off side (Intermediate/Advanced)
from obstacle (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced)

emergency (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced) 
and spray horse (Intermediate/Advanced)
and pick out hoof (Novice) 
off side (Intermediate/Advanced)

Walk/trot/walk/stand (Novice) 
Walk/trot/walk or walk/canter/walk (Intermediate) 
lope or hand gallop, stop, stand, walk off on loose rein (Advanced)

walk gentle slope (Novice) 
steeper incline at walk or faster gaits (Intermediate/Advanced)

at walk (Novice) 
noisy or heavy obstacle (Intermediate/Advanced) 
at faster gaits (Intermediate/Advanced) 

walk to obstacle (e.g. barrel) pick up hat, put on head (Novice)
hat tossed in front of horse, must be picked up with whip/stick (Intermediate/Advanced)    

Pole or board placed between two barrels. Rider must pick up one end of pole/board and move in a circle around barrels, setting pole back down on barrel (Intermediate/Advanced)

quieter noises (Novice) jingle bells, wind chimes, etc.
louder noises such as popped balloons, cap gun, whip crack (Intermediate/Advanced)

area marked with poles on ground, filled with obstacles such as plants,  tires, buckets, etc. ·walk past box (Novice)
walk through box, avoiding obstacles (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced) 
enter box, walk through obstacles without disturbing (Intermediate/Advanced) 
Enter box, walk around outside of obstacles without disturbing (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced) 

carry hula hoop to roping dummy, place on dummy (Novice) 
carry hula hoop to roping dummy stopping a marked distance away, toss   ring onto head (Advanced) 
sidepass to dummy's head, drop hoop overhead (Intermediate)

pick up lariat, slap on leg (Novice) 
pick up lariat, open a loop, swing rope (Intermediate/Advanced) 
pick up lariat, open loop, toss over roping dummy's head (Advanced) (this is not  judged on roping skills, only the cooperation and teamwork of  horse/rider) 

pick up saddlebags from hanger, place in front of saddle, go to mailbox,  retrieve letter, put in bags, return bags to starting point (Intermediate/Advanced) 
rider dismounts, places bags in front of saddle, walks to mailbox to   retrieve letter (Novice)   

using a broom, move a ball: ·over a line (Advanced) 
into a goal such as a bushel basket (Intermediate)

ride to barrel, pick up grocery sack, place objects (tennis balls, fruit, etc.)  into bag, carry to designated drop-off (Intermediate/Advanced) 
ride to barrel, dismount, place objects in bag, walk to drop-off (Novice) 
ride to barrel, dismount, place objects in bag, remount, ride to drop-off   (Intermediate/Advanced) 

walk to barrel, pick up map, carry to drop-off (Novice)
pick up map, open, fold back up, carry to drop-off (Intermediate/Advanced)

fabric/shower curtain/ropes hung from horizontal pole ·forward or back though (Intermediate/Advanced) 
stop while halfway in (Intermediate/Advanced) 
lead through (Novice) 

spear rings with whip (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced)  

Intermediate/Advanced only
turn on haunches ·turn on forehand 
360 degree spin

walk pattern (Novice) 
trot pattern, changing diagonals (Intermediate) 
Trot or lope pattern (Intermediate/Advanced) 

walk to mailbox, stop (Novice)
walk to mailbox/straddling pole/retrieve something from box (Advanced)
sidepass over pole to mailbox, retrieve something from box(Intermediate) 

even/uneven pattern walk (Novice)  
even/uneven pattern trot (Intermediate/Advanced)
even/uneven pattern canter (Advanced) 
may also use branches or small logs
may place under low branches, perform at walk (Intermediate/Advanced)
straddle and stop (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced) 
sidepass (Intermediate)

remove from hanging spot, place in front of saddle, carry to new hanging  spot (Intermediate/Advanced) 
rub on both sides of horse's neck (Intermediate/Advanced)
rider to put on (Intermediate/Advanced) 
walk horse to slicker, take from hanging spot, rub on near side of horse,  replace (Novice) 

drag (Intermediate/Advanced)
lay over saddle (Intermediate/Advanced)
walk horse over (Intermediate/Advanced) ·as 'water" obstacle - may use rocks/logs/hose to simulate water (Intermediate/Advanced)

puddle or very shallow/small stream (Novice) 
larger/wider stream/creek (Intermediate/Advanced) 
approach and enter at faster gaits (Advanced) 
horse not to be penalized for drinking or inspecting water before entering 
point deduction but not DQ for horse attempting to lay down or laying down 

traditional or jumping figure 8 set up ·slower gaits (Novice/Intermediate) 
faster gaits (Advanced)   

walk to object, place on saddle ·take back off (Novice)
walk object to marked spot (Intermediate/Advanced)
place object in front of saddle, mount, ride to marked spot (Advanced)