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AQHA Trail Challenge Season Opener

Team SmartPak rider Lynn Palm give us a behind-the-scenes look!


It was a beautiful spring day in April at Fox Grove Farm in Ocala, FL, that marked the season opener for the first ever AQHA Trail Challenge Series. Hosted by me and my husband, Cyril Pittion-Rossillon and managed by Palm Partnership Training’s own, Marie-Frances Davis, we could not have asked for a better day!

AQHA Trail Challenges are designed over a course of 6 to 16 obstacles that test a horse’s and rider’s ability to work as a team and navigate through natural obstacles they might experience on a trail. The competitions are open to registered Quarter Horses as well as other breeds. Youth and adult riders can compete for prizes in Training, Intermediate and Master Levels. Riders will have to enter 3 of the 4 2013 events to be eligible for the custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckles at the end of the series. One buckle will be awarded in each level in addition to other fabulous prizes provided by SmartPak, Kerrits, Sneak-e-Snacks, and Sparr Building and Farm Supply. (Wow, I wish I could enter!)


The first challenge in the series was a great success! We had more than 50 riders from 5 states showing more than 10 different breeds, including TBs, Fox Trotters and Saddlebreds, riding both English and Western. I have to say that I did not envy the judges at all as they had some tough decisions to make with such great competition! Class winners earned ribbons supplied by AQHA and Grand and Reserve Champion of each level won a ribbon donated by Ribbon Recycling of Richmond, TX.


Complete results are online at but some highlights are: Training Level Champion Ivy Loftice from Verona, KY, Intermediate Level Champion and High Score winner Shawn Charles of Orlando, FL, Masters Level Champion Celine Reilly from Port Orange, FL. Nancy Poucher of Gainesville, FL took home the Sportsmanship Award while Holly Maro of Ocala, FL was named Best Turned Out Pair with her quarter horse CoCo Peponita.


Cyril and I will travel to teach and compete this summer so we will return with the fall series of trail challenges October 6, November 3 and December 8. We hear that SmartPak is working on a special contest for the fall and one lucky winner could come visit us in Florida! But I can’t give too much away so you’ll have to keep following us on Facebook at and Maybe we’ll see you soon!


You can check out the obstacles used in the Trail Challenge here:

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One comment on “AQHA Trail Challenge Season Opener
  1. Karen A. Strickland says:

    I have only done this a few times and love it, it is a nice thing for me and my horse, because I used to be a pro barrel racer. It is so nice to challenge myself and horse,with this even my husband has tried it too. We are so looking forward to coming and trying this. Can’t say what will happen but you will never know if you don’t try. I follow you on RFDTV all the time and read your articles. I love them, but nothing is a exact as seeing you in person and having you help. Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you all. Karen A. Strickland

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