Trail Obstacles and Covid

I was told the AQHA had recommend no touch obstacles (Gates, pick up rain slicker, etc.) for trail patterns due to Covid. Has this changed? I friend told me that there was a gate at a recent American Stock Horse Association show.

I am drawing a trail pattern for an upcoming event and I wanted to insight.

I can not respond to what the rules are but I would think touch obstacles that can be easily sanitized between riders should be OK.

Mailbox for example, the handle can be wiped down and a new piece of paper put in (or laminate the ‘mail’ and wipe it down between riders).

Back in April the CDC issued a revised statement about getting COVID from surface contact - it’s miniscule. That said, if your organization is recommending no touch obstacles, then you need to abide by what they recommend or contact them to see if they’ve revised their recommendations. That would be much more reliable. And should any competitors question or ask about touch obstacles you will have something in writing backing you up.


The organization relies on me to bring up any changes related to trail procedures so that is why I am looking for input. I had seen the CDC change about contact transfer but I was looking to see what other organizations were doing.

Mostly our membership has indicated to me that they are comfortable touching obstacles but I have not talked to everyone.

AQHA made the touch obstacles optional rather than mandatory last year and still have that in place.

They encourage the use of the obstacles (particularly the gate and drag in ranch trail) whenever possible and feasible, but understand that COVID restrictions are difference throughout the country and have kept them optional. The AQHA versatility ranch horse world show this year will use both a gate and drag in ranch trail.

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