7 Tips to Trail Course Design

AQHA Professional Horseman Tim Kimura shares trail tips during the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horseman Tim Kimura of Little Elm, Texas, explains how he designs trail courses during a demonstration at the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress.

AQHA Professional Horseman Tim Kimura talks about his thought process when designing trail courses October 21 during the All American Quarter Horse Congress.

AQHA Professional Horseman Tim Kimura shared some of his secrets to trail course design October 21 during the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress.

Tim designs the trail courses for AQHA's world championship shows as well as other shows around the world. He spoke as part of the annual lectures and demonstrations series at Congress.

Here are seven considerations Tim weighs before designing trail courses.

  1. Consider the trail supplies a show has available. Think about the number of poles, cones and how long the poles are.

  2. Know where the judges are going to be sitting and work with their available sightlines.

  3. Train your course-setting crew to measure properly from the inside to the inside of the poles or gaps.

  4. Walk-overs should be set 2 feet apart, jog-overs 3 feet apart and lope-overs 6 feet apart. When designing for European trail courses, use metric measurements.

  5. For spokes, use 12-foot poles set 2 feet from the base of the cone.

  6. It’s important for patterns to ride correctly. Consider the size of an arena when planning a course. Be willing to alter a plan when you see it in person.

  7. A good trail course should be a test, not a trick. “Let the people show their horses,” Tim says.