Equine competition

Michelle Watts on Puzzlez at the Equine Trails Sports Challenge. (Photo Courtesy of Dale Lofgren)

These riders are not horsing around. At the Peninsula’s first South Bay Equine Trails Sports Challenge, riders and their horses were tested on their skills handling obstacles like a bridge, maize, latched ranch gate, mailbox, ground keyhole, soccer ball and net and other sensory and technical challenges.

The primary goal of the discipline is to explore and prepare for the surprises and difficulties that can occur on the trail and for horse and rider to learn to work safely through them together. Judges stationed at every obstacle rated each pair’s performance at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels as selected by the rider. Scores were based on how well the obstacle was executed and on how well riders of those horses having trouble with the obstacle were able to patiently get them through.

Martin Performance Horses hosted the event at Ernie Howlett Park. Riders ages 7 to 70 hauled their horses in from as far as Aqua Dulce in the Antelope Valley to participate in the event. The series promotes horsemanship across skill levels and fosters friendships among riders who mentor each other and have fun in a non-competitive, relaxed atmosphere. The South Bay ETS Challenge Finale will be held June 3.

For more information about ETS or to register for upcoming events visit: www.equinetrailsports.com

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