Trail riding is riding outdoors on trails and dirt roads as opposed to riding in an enclosed area such as an arena. Trail rides may be informal pleasure activities of an individual or small group of people, larger events organized by a club, directed by professional guides or outfitters (particularly at guest ranches), or judged competitions of varying length and speed.
Competitive trail rides test the horse and rider's ability to cover a good distance over a marked trail within a specified time and to navigate obstacles commonly found on the trail such gates, streams, etc.
A good trail horse is a willing partner who can calmly maneuver through obstacles with physical skill and confidence as well as be conditioned to soundly carry its rider over a distance.
The sport emphasizes safety, horse care, and teamwork between horse and rider in a supportive, fun atmosphere.