We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine October 2018 - Page 33

a lack of motivation. Knowing that I have a Competitive Trail ride coming up gives me the boost I need to get out there to ride and practice. Also, riding in Competitive Trail reveals the areas of my horsemanship that could use improvement. It is a sport that encourages constant growth and learning. Since the judge’s comments are posted on most every obstacle, you know what to work on for next time. The competitions are light and friendly, and everyone is encouraging and helpful. The focus is on fun and learning.

My relationship and bond with my amazing horse, Showstopper, has deepened immensely through the challenges we face together in Competitive Trail. We have learned to trust each other, and work as a team. I just love this sport and encourage everyone to try it!

lessons and competed, all within the confines of an arena. Over the years, I was very fortunate to have achieved multiple championships at the State, Regional and National levels.

It wasn’t until I was in my 60's when I was introduced to competitive trail riding that I discovered a more natural and fulfilling approach to horsemanship. I learned from excellent clinicians how to truly build a partnership with my horses through leadership, patience, consistency and small immediate rewards to build confidence; a simple "good boy" or a soft rub on his neck for even the smallest attempt at overcoming his fear. The result is the joy that comes from developing a mutual trust and respect with your horse and a bond of friendship that goes beyond competition. My favorite quote that I've adopted as my guideline came from Pat Parelli, “Never compromise the relationship you have with your horse for the goal.”

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Right, Donna Jensen riding TR Commander Brakali aka Red, a 10 year old AQHA gelding. I bought him as a 3 year-old reining futurity horse to become a trail horse. I feel like I saved him from a hard life!

Leslie Hait and her 9 year old Gypsy Vanner gelding, Showstopper

Leslie Hait

Donna Jensen

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oming from a show ring background starting at the age of 12, I was accustomed to having a professional trainer train and prepare my horses. I took riding lessons and competed, all within the confines of an arena. Over the years, I was very fortunate to have achieved multiple championships at the State, Regional and National levels.

It wasn’t until I was in my 60's when I was introduced to competitive trail riding that I discovered a more natural and fulfilling approach to horsemanship. I learned from excellent clinicians how to truly build a partnership with my horses through leadership, patience, consistency and small immediate rewards to build confidence; a simple "good boy" or a soft rub on his neck for even the smallest attempt at overcoming his fear. The result is the joy that comes from developing a mutual trust and respect with your horse and a bond of friendship that goes beyond competition. My favorite quote that I've adopted as my guideline came from Pat Parelli, “Never compromise the relationship you have with your horse for the goal.”

ompetitive Trail has affected my equestrian life in so many positive ways! Due to health problems, I suffer from fatigue, and at times, a lack of motivation.

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Photo by Jason Brekke