Lynn Palm's Trail Challenge Tips

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm offers advice for introducing a horse to an AQHA Trail Challenge obstacle course.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

In the June issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, Lynn discusses how she introduces her horses to obstacles commonly found in AQHA Trail Challenge courses. (Credit: Journal)

Riding outdoors helps show horses in a number of ways. It keeps their minds fresh, and natural obstacles and terrain keep their bodies fit. 

“When you build the confidence with them outside, you’ve got what you need when you go in an arena,” says AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm. 

Whether it’s a seasoned recreational trail horse or a show-pen star, horses can get recognition via AQHA Trail Challenges, which were launched in 2012. These events offer organized competitions and merits that go on the horses’ permanent AQHA records. 

Lynn regularly hosts Trail Challenges, which consist of six to 16 obstacles, at her Fox Grove Farm in Ocala, Florida. 

In the June issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, Lynn discusses how she introduces her horses, and how she helps riders introduce their horses, to obstacles commonly found in Trail Challenge courses. In “Riding to the Challenge,” Lynn focuses on:

  • Building trust and techniques to do so
  • The equipment she uses when introducing new obstacles
  • What signals to look for in a horse when introducing the obstacles
  • How to handle a horse that gets pushy through an obstacle
  • The importance of circle work 
  • The path a rider should follow when riding a horse to his first obstacle
  • Suggestions for handling a nervous horse 

“Horses hate drilling, and that includes working repeated circles or always working in the arena,” Lynn says. 

Don’t be afraid to leave that arena after a bit of training, she adds. And introducing Trail Challenge obstacles is the perfect avenue to freshen a horse.

Head to to access the digital edition as a Journal current subscriber, download the new Journal app or become a subscriber today. 

If print is more of your style, order a single print copy from 800-291-7323 so you don’t miss out on the great advice offered in “Rising to the Challenge” in the June Journal