Written by EasyCare Product Specialist, Jordan Junkermann

Each year we make plans for our lives, our careers, and our hobbies. This year would have been my third year participating in NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) rides.

I spent all winter deciding whether or not to move from the Novice Division up to CP (Competitive Pleasure; same miles as novice but harder obstacles) or up to Open (more miles and harder obstacles).

My horse seems to improve with each ride. As a half-Arabian mare, the miles are so good for her.

A lot of factors go into this decision. Do I stay in Novice until I ribbon/point out? Do I move up to challenge myself and my horse? Do I have the time to condition my horse for Open-level miles? COVID-19 has given me yet another riding season to continue this debate with myself and my friends.

NATRC, like almost every other organization, could not avoid being affected by COVID-19. It has changed the way this sport is going to operate this year. As of right now, all rides (in Region 3, at least) are canceled through September, but the whole season will likely be canceled. NATRC isn’t ready to just call it quits on the summer riding season, though.

NATRC has come out with two different ways to continue to participate in the group this summer: The Mileage Challenge and the Obstacle Challenge. First-year NATRC members get a free entry into these challenges, and all other members can sign up for either or both challenges.The Mileage Challenge is exactly what it sounds like: ride and record all of the fun miles you complete between the months of May and November. Miles completed in another competition do not count, only fun miles.

The Obstacle Challenge will be made up of different obstacles each month. You can participate for just one month or all of them. The challenge will be happening for the next five months, throughout the riding season. How does it work? Take short videos of you and your horse completing the obstacle and submit it before the 15th of each month.

Prizes will be given for both challenges, but I am just excited about participating! This is a clever way to continue promoting what NATRC is all about: good horsemanship and equitation, while encouraging us all to get out and go ride!

Happy booting everyone! Hope to see you out on the trail, from at least 6 feet away.