Riders are putting their horses to the test, going through obstacles like the “rib tickler,” to get the most points in the 6th annual Extreme Obstacle Challenge.
Five minutes to navigate ten obstacles.
“We’re asking horses to do things that they naturally would not do in the wild,” says Scott Mai, Minot Trail Riders Saddle Club Board Member.
The Extreme Obstacle Course challenges horses and their riders to navigate through, under, and over different obstacles.
“The biggest challenge is to establish a trust relationship with your horse, so when you ask him to do something that he hasn’t done before, that he’s willing to do it,” says Scott.
Mai considers himself a less experienced rider, as he married into the world of horses instead of growing up in it. He and his wife began their horse journey together when they purchased a 14 month old quarter horse colt for their daughter.
“It’s been an experience because I was very old school with my stuff, and so I kind of fought some of the newer things that my daughter wanted to try,” says Shelly Mai, Wife.
Shelly says Tough can be clumsy, but after 14 years together the duo have formed a good team.
“The one thing I’m probably the proudest of, of anything, is my daughter turned that into a beautiful barrel horse,” says Shelly.
“It’s love-hate most days. As much as I love him, its really easy to hate him when he decides to not listen so well,” says Megan Mai, Daughter.
The course isn’t the only obstacle that Megan and Tough have faced. Just a couple of weeks ago, the pair took their first bad fall together, so they’re using this event as an opportunity to get back into the swing of things.
“I fractured my cheekbone, we have a concussion we’re working through and a lot of bumps and bruises that go along with that kind of stuff. So, we didn’t finish the whole course, but we did what we needed to,” says Megan.
Megan competed in the open division against over 40 other riders, including her father who offered this advice, “Listen to what your horse is telling you, because if he’s not going to do it, he’ll tell you he’s not going to do it.”
A little teamwork to complete the challenge.
The winners of the open division will receive a jackpot cash prize and a “2018 Extreme Obstacle Challenge” belt buckle.