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Trail Rider Challenge Saddle Series - Are You Ready?
By Kelli Paulson, Authentic Horsemanship, Mid States Ran
Prepare to have some fun! By Kelli Paulson Is this the summer that you will become a true partner with your horse?
Then it’s time to get started. The Trail Rider Challenge is the event for you!

This event will give you the opportunity to set some new fun goals and maybe win some money and prizes too. It is about having fun and building confidence. It is an encouraging, supportive group of people who want to learn and challenge themselves. Your horse will love it. Think of it as your 2009 Horse Make Over! Get Ready, Get Set to Challenge Yourself.

What is the Trail Rider Challenge (TRC)?
A TRC is a unique event that encourages you and your horse to develop a partnership based on trust while having fun and meeting other horse people. Your partnership is then scored on an obstacle course designed to challenge your skills at all levels. The obstacles are designed to simulate trail situations. Come join us for some fun packed days!

The CHALLENGE may include: Opening and closing a gate, crossing logs, dragging an object, roping a stationary steer, loading into a trailer, crossing obstacle (bridge, water, ditch or tarp), carry an item, backing, sidepassing and small jumps.
It is designed to Challenge your horse! All levels of riders are welcome as well as everyday horses, trail horses, roping horses, performance horses, show horses and jumping horses.

Clinics and practices are available. We will teach you how to complete the obstacles and help you overcome your fears. The obstacle will be demonstrated and the task broken into steps. You will be taught the steps and you can practice completing the obstacle. We will take the time to help you and your horse get it right. You can do it!

Why ride in a Trail Rider Challenge (TRC)?
TRC’s are open to any horse and any rider. Although registration papers are not required and all horses are welcome, the event is approved for points through most breed associations including the APHA PAC program.
It is not a fancy event but requires safe and functional tack and clothing. By the end of the season will have a happier more confident, willing horse.
The atmosphere is non-threatening and supportive. We are all there to have fun, learn, meet other horse people and improve our horse.

TRC Participant Interviews
Interview 1: Kara, a rider who has been competing in TRCs since 2006. She was the 2008 high-point rider.
What has TRC done for you?
When I went to my first Trail Rider Challenge in 2006, Bart (my horse) was scared of everything, bucked often and was dangerous. I saw something I wanted to be a part of and decided to stick with it. Bart and I attended several clinics and riding classes. As we learned to communicate and do the trail obstacles his confidence increased. As he learned to try and became willing the bucking and bad behavior went away. He became mentally engaged and now looks forward to going riding. My confidence and skill level grew also.
Why should others give TRC a try?
I have seen the changes that it produces in other horses, not only my own. I have brought friends along with me. I see a positive change in their horses also. Horses get bored doing the same thing over and over. It is a great opportunity to give arena horses something refreshing to do. It gives trail horses a challenge. The TRC changes every time. The horse doesn’t get bored. He seems to enjoy it. It develops the horses ability to think, encourages the horse to try and to be willing.

Interview 2: Vic, comments from a rider after her first TRC.
What an incredible day. The things I thought -"no way", we did.
It's the best money I've spent - the cheapest training venue I've seen, the most bang for the buck, the most rider-friendly despite my fears. At lunch I felt like I was truly sitting in their living room, and that they were there to help me with my horsemanship goals.
By the way, the woman that won today is a new friend of mine. She came into this competition/trail obstacle course last year - in her words, "hangin onto the horn with both hands"' riding a rank, disrespectful, dangerous horse. She walked away today with the check.
This is riding in real life.
What a rush.
The Purina Belt Buckle Kick Off June 13th, 2009

Ride in the 2009 Trail Rider Challenge Saddle Series! 5 Events will be held with prizes and jackpot money at each event. The 2009 High Point Rider receives a custom trophy saddle! The sum of the top 3 scores from each horse and rider team count towards year-end awards and the trophy saddle.

Three divisions will be at each event and have year-end prizes. The Trail Rider Division is not timed, non-competitive and confidence building. The Saddle Series Division is competitive. The Youth Division is for 18 and under. Some events will host special classes such as Over 50, In-hand and Colt Classes. Check the web site.

Take the Challenge!
Give your horse a 2009 Horse Makeover!

1. Mark your calendar with all TRC related dates.
2. Tell your horse it’s going to be a great year.
3. While it is cold and the ground is frozen spend a few minutes each day with your horse working on groundwork, despooking, and manners.
4. Check the web site for riding groups at area indoor arenas. Contact Kelli to schedule a group at your barn or local arena.

1. The Nebraska Horse Expo – learn more about the Challenge and see demos by Kelli about preparing for the Trail Rider Challenge. Have fun and get in horse gear.
2. Develop willingness and try in your horse.

1. Work on foundation skills such as: pivots, sidepassing, opening and closing gates, stops, backs, crossing bridges, etc.
2. Attend a clinic to brush up and get some extra practice.

1. Get out and ride. Really enjoy your horse. Start putting all the pieces together.
2. Come to a practice day. Give it a try.

1. Work on details and finesse.
2. Attend the Trail Rider Challenge Kick-off Event June 13th at Five Star Stable near Bennington, NE. Sponsored by Purina and Northwest Feed & Grain. Belt Buckles to class winners. Limited to first 60 riders call and reserve your spot!
More information and how-to articles are on the web site:


Clinics are now being scheduled. Contact Kelli to host a clinic in your area.
How to articles, dates and complete schedule found online at: or you may call Kelli Paulson at 402-427-5515. The Trail Rider Challenge events are sponsored by: Kelli Paulson, Mid States Ranch Horses, LLC, Purina and Bronco Billy’s. If you would like to be a sponsor please call Kelli.

Kelli Paulson is a Purina Regional Ambassador. Kelli uses Strategy in her training program because it keeps her horses in top condition while maintaining stable, easy to work with temperaments. Her goal is teaching natural horsemanship methods proven to create safe and willing horses by providing you and your horse with tools, knowledge and events that turn every ride into a confidence building, positive situation. Mid States Ranch Horses, LLC offers training (problem solving, family and trail horses), lessons, Trail Rider Challenge’s, and Authentic Horsemanship Clinics.
Visit or call 402-427-5515 for more information.