Trail and VRH Ranch Trail Modifications Update

Trail and VRH Ranch Trail Modifications Update

View the latest information regarding trail and VRH ranch trail modifications, which were originally implemented due to the impact of the pandemic.

Britney Ferguson opens a gate while horseback on the Snodgress Cattle Co. ranch (Credit: Abigail Boatwright)

text size

In 2020, the AQHA Executive Committee approved modifications to frequently touched surfaces, by waiving the requirement to include the gate obstacle in trail, ranch trail and Versatility Ranch Horse trail, in addition to the obstacle drag in open, cowboy and amateur VRH trail, to help protect the safety of exhibitors during the pandemic. With many restrictions now lifted by the CDC, AQHA is reimplementing the requirement for these obstacles in accordance with AQHA rules SHW 421.6, SHW 466.1 and SHW561.7, effective August 1.

The gate obstacle will be required during the 2021 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

If a show is held in an area impacted by COVID-related regulations that would prevent the use of these frequently touched obstacles, then the waiver is still permitted. The gate and drag obstacle may not be omitted for any other reason. 

AQHA show management and officials are charged with upholding the rules of AQHA classes, as described in the Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. As trail courses are designed and selected, the original intent of the class is placed at the forefront in an effort to be authentic and truly reflect the purpose of the class. For example, in VRH trail courses, the gate and drag obstacles are imperative to include, as they simulate functions of the ranch and reflect ranching heritage, daily ranch activities and practices.

As AQHA-approved events are hosted, please continue to review local mandates, along with the recommendations of the CDC and WHO regarding social distancing and public health while making plans to participate.

View the AQHA Calendar of Events for the most up-to-date list of AQHA-approved events.

For additional questions, contact

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit