Competitive Trail Riding (CTR) is a scored event based on riding to an optimum time and your mount having the lowest possible heart rates.
Before starting, horses must pass a pre-ride veterinary inspection consisting mainly of heart rate and gait assessment. Riders are given time to complete a marked course, and penalty points are given for arriving at the finish early or later than the optimum time (without wasting time on track). The horse’s heart rate is taken upon crossing the finish line and then up to 30 minutes later once the heart rate has dropped to as low as the rider thinks it will. These heart rates are added to any time faults from finishing early or late to produce a final score. Lowest score wins.
Distances for the various classes are usually between 10 and 40kms except at Championship events where they can be up to 75kms depending on the class. Intermediate and Junior classes are expected to ride at a speed of 10kms per hour to achieve optimum time, with Open riding at 12kms per hour. There are also Novice classes. Short distance lead rein classes are also held for the younger riders.
CTR has three Championship events a year; North and South Island Championships and the National Championships.
CTR is favoured by riders who have limited time to train horses and are not able to maintain the levels of fitness required in the higher classes of Endurance. Many CTR riders do compete in both sports and the same goes for Endurance riders who also enjoy the extra challenge of riding to an optimum time in CTR.