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Trail tests horse and rider for their ability to handle working ranch type situations. In Trail competition, horse and rider negotiate obstacles and are judged on how well they complete each one. Trail courses are designed to showcase the horse's willingness, training, and obedience as well as the rider's horsemanship. The obstacles are inspired by what a working ranch horse may encounter, including gates, bridges, water, poles either raised or on the ground, a backing obstacle, and other tasks.

Trail in USPC combines the best elements of numerous competitive Trail organizations. Trail rallies generally include three competition rounds, which may occur inside or outside an arena. Members compete on a team of three or four riders with a stable manager, and their individual scores combine with team horse care scores for final placings. 


Competitions are held at many levels beginning with Introductory Level and continuing through six levels to Level 4. A western dressage test is a series of movements, performed at various gaits, designed to test the rider's ability to communicate with their horse. Each movement is performed at a specified point in the arena and is scored individually on a scale from 0 to 10. A score of 0 means that no portion of the movement was executed, while a score of 10 shows excellent execution. The individual scores are added and then calculated as a percentage of total possible points to come up with a final score. The highest percentage wins the class.

Tests are different for each level and are written so the horse's progress through the levels is consistently measured. Judges are looking for accuracy, obedience, suppleness of the horse, quality of the gaits, and the rider's use of the aids. There are also musical freestyle western dressage tests for individual riders.

With its close connection to classic Dressage, it is easy for Dressage rallies to incorporate Western Dressage into their competition. Western Dressage is available at USPC Championships as well. Please check the current Western Dressage rulebook and current newsletter for more information on attending Championships in Western Dressage.

Trail in Pony Club

Trail in Pony Club offers opportunities anywhere from the local level to the national level. Members who are eligible and meet the requirements of the current Trail rulebook at their regional rally may go on to compete at Championships.

Western Awards & Opportunities

Trail is a new competitive sport in Pony Club. Members can participate in Rallies and Championships in this fun competition.

Learn more about competitive awards and opportunities available now.

Opportunities, Grants & Awards

Opportunities abound for those wishing to pursue Western Riding during their Pony Club career!    The core values members learn in Pony Club also prepare them for other positions in the equine industry.

Learn more.


Check out the USPC Blog, where we share knowledge for all things Western Dressage (and all manner of other Pony Club-related topics)!

Read the blog.

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