Oct. 5 - 7 event stresses horsemanship, horse care

The Flint Hills Competitive Trail Ride at Tuttle Creek State Park has been an annual event for the last 30 years. This year, the event will be held Oct. 5-7 at the park's Randolph Area. The event is sanctioned by the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC), headquartered at Sedalia, Colo., and is supported in part by the Kansas Trails Council.

This equestrian event is competitive but not endurance riding. The riders are briefed every evening and given a window of time in which to complete a prearranged course. Riders compete in three divisions: novice; open, which are the more experiences horses and riders; and competitive-pleasure, which are the riders and horses that for some reason, (such as age or conditioning) choose not to ride the open division. Winning riders receive national points, ribbons, and trophies in each division.

The event has one veterinary judge and one horsemanship judge. The judges check the horses carefully before the ride and many times during the event.

They are checked for soundness, temperament, suitability for the event, and metabolism. No horse is allowed to continue if there is a question of doing it harm.

Participants must pay a sanction fee and send in a ride report six weeks in advance of the ride to prove they are progressing according to NATRC schedule.

These events are designed to teach good horsemanship and horse care and conditioning. No horse is allowed to compete until it is four years old in the novice and five years old in the open division. Riders must be at least 10 years old.

For more information, email natrc@natrc.org or phone 785-382-6886.