The North Carolina Horse Council will be hosting a series of trail obstacle challenges for 2017.  These challenges are designed to test both the horse and rider on different obstacles.  Each challenge will offer five divisions:  In Hand, Youth, Novice, Experienced, and Pro.  Participants are encouraged to test their skills in several divisions; however, points will only be awarded in one division which must be declared before their first challenge.  To be eligible for high point awards, a horse/rider team must compete in at least 4 challenges.  All high point prizes for 2017 will be cash.  A partial list of the locations confirmed can be found below.  Following the locations, you will find challenge rules.

All participants must be a member of the NCHC.  The cost to enter each class is $25. For any additional questions, please contact the NCHC at (919) 854-1990 or via email to  The NCHC makes every effort to begin each challenge at 10 am.

*** Please note the date change for Thoroughbred Training Center from July to August ***

Dates Location Address Contact
3/25 Sport of Horses 1755 Quakenbush Road
Snow Camp
4/29 Val Halla Stables 6511 Arabia Road
Lumber Bridge
5/6 Cash Lovell Stables 2915 Shetland Drive
Winston Salem
6/10 Nifong Acres 1129 Ruff Leonard Road
8/26 Thoroughbred Training Center 158 McCashin Lane
9/16 SE Ag Center 1027 US-74
11/4 Chestnut Ridge Camp & Retreat 4300 Camp Chestnut Ridge Rd
12/9 SE Ag Center 1027 US-74

Results of the Trail Challenge:
  Results 2017


Promote horsemanship and sportsmanship, provide awareness of the

North Carolina Horse Council (NCHC) and improve horsemanship skills. 

Provide an enjoyable recreational venue for horse owners.

NCHC Extreme Trail Horse Challenge Rules

Organization Structure:  NCHC Board of Directors – NCHC Executive Committee, Board Chair of the Extreme Trail Horse Challenge Committee and- Qualified Judges as determined by the Extreme Trail Horse Challenge Committee.

Participation:  Membership in Extreme Trail Horse Challenge is established through active enrollment in the North Carolina Horse Council valid one year active or lifetime membership. Memberships are available at the challenge or may be purchased online at

Definition of Team:  Participation is determined as one horse and one rider or handler. The horse may compete in the same category with a different rider/handler. The rider/handler may compete in the same category with a different horse.

Description of In-hand Rules: 

  1. All halter and lead types are acceptable with the exception of halters and leads with chains.
  2. No bridles may be used.
  3. The Handler may control the horse from any direction, side, front or back.
  4. Cue sticks, crops, dressage whips, end of lead rope, etc. can be used to guide or encourage the horse.

Categories of Participation:  A team is defined as one horse and one rider/handler. Each horse and rider/handler team may only compete for points in one division.  Each team may compete up or down in category. However, points will only be awarded in a single division. A team is not eligible for prizes and ribbons outside their declared category.  Each team must declare their competitive category at their first challenge. If a team elects to change their division after competing at an event all points accrued to date from their former division will be forfeited.

  1. Young Riders: Young Rider Category is open to anyone 13 years old and under, age is determined by age on January 1 of the Extreme Trail Horse Challenge season.
  1. Novice Riders: The Novice Rider Category is open to anyone who has not judged, trained, ridden or assisted in training of a horse or rider for a fee. Excellent entry level for riders and is designed for people who have never competed in trail challenges or have little experience in competing in a trail challenge.
  1. Experienced Riders: Experienced Rider is anyone who has not judged, trained, ridden or assisted in training of a horse or rider for a fee.  This rider has experience in handling a horse over a more difficult course.
  1. Pro riders: Pro Category is anyone who has received money for riding, training, judging, or assisted in the training of a horse or rider. This rider may not receive points in any other category. The course will be significantly more difficult than other categories.  NOTE:  A Pro rider may take a “green” horse through a lower level course but no points will be awarded.

Course:  Course & Obstacles are to be designed to be non-discipline specific.  All obstacles should be developed to create success versus failure.  The course design should consist of a minimum of six obstacles, not to exceed 12 obstacles, no more than 30 seconds per obstacle, plus 2 minutes of course/transition time.  (Six obstacles = Total course time of 5 minutes, which is 2 minutes plus 30 seconds for each obstacle.)  Young Rider Category shall have a six obstacles maximum.

If rider/handler loses control of their horse they have 60 seconds to regain control to continue course.  No One May Assist In Regaining Control.  Disqualification will apply when the 60 seconds is not met.  Young rider/handler may receive adult help.


  • Jumps no higher than 24” drops or elevation change not to exceed 36”
  • Bridges must be 18” wide, no more than 30” above ground
  • Water depth not to exceed 36” depth
  • Safety should be the primary focus in all obstacles for both the horse and rider
  • Obstacles should be designed for each categories capabilities
  • Prior to start, each category will be provided with a course map and the opportunity for a walk-thru of rider/handler only - NO HORSES.
  • One horse/one rider/handler rule applies. Riders/handler may compete multiple times in each category with a different horse.
  • Order of go per division based on random pick. Riders/handler with any deviation of course pattern will be deemed as rider/handler/horse off course and will be disqualified for that run.
  • Any obstruction/distraction deemed viable by the judges, the rider/handler can be given an opportunity for a re-ride.

Dress Code (Horse and Rider/Handler):  Each rider is expected to be dressed in acceptable attire (deemed by judge discretion):  boots with heels, hat or helmet, long pants, breaches and shirt. Any devise used to hold a horse in position, i.e. martingales, tie downs, gag bits are not allowed. Riders are allowed to ride bareback or with pad.

Judges:  All judges are to be approved by the North Carolina Horse Council. They must be NCHC members and have completed the NCHC Judges Clinic. The Judge has the right to disqualify any rider based on conduct, abuse or any action deemed misconduct during the challenge.

Dispute Settlement:  All disputes will be settled by the identified representative of the NCHC who is on site at the day of the event.  The ruling of this individual will be final.

NOTE:  Participants must compete in a minimum of 4 Trail Challenges to be eligible for the High Point Award or any overall award.