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Troika - What is it??

The Troika Challenge  was created to recognize and promote an Eclectic Equestrian and a versatile equine that demonstrate a strong partnership founded in empathetic leadership.  Troika challenge is three phases, three levels, with three guiding principles.

An equestrian and equine pair will complete an In Hand Obstacle course, a Xenophon test (Dressage like),  and a Mounted Obstacle test to complete the challenge. 

THE THREE Guiding Principles

There are 3 guiding principles to the Troika Challenge.  These make up the culture that is emphasized and valued for these challenges.  These are also the criteria that will be used to score all parts of the challenge.  

Empathetic Leadership - The ability of the equestrian and equine pair to demonstrate an understanding of each other and the communication used between the two.  This includes mutual trust, leadership, harmony, and confidence.  Ease of communication and softness of cues are scored here.  Empathetic leadership includes how well the equestrian leads their equine through each part of the challenge.  Equestrian and equine demonstrate a mutual understanding of their partnership roles. 

Balance and Relaxation - Physical, Emotional, and mental balance and relaxation.  Specifically balance and relaxation throughout the equestrian and equine’s bodies and use of communication.  This includes proper and athletic bend, gaits, impulsion originating from the hind end.  Relaxation should not be confused with lack of motion… this principle is aimed at finding relaxation through proper movement and clear communication. 

Willingness and Fluidity - Equestrian and equine pair demonstrate a willingness and lack of hesitation to complete a task.  Gaits are shown to have steady rhythm, tempo, and cadence.  Transitions are fluid and free of tension.  Equestrian and equine demonstrate a willingness to adapt and meet challenges with grace and fluid movement.

THE THREE Phases:

In Hand Obstacle Course 

Equine and handler team will maneuver a prescribed pattern of obstacles from the ground. Each level progressively increases the challenge and degree of communication between handler and horse.  The goal of the in hand test is to negotiate obstacles and demonstrate empathetic yet clear communication between handler and equine from the ground. In hand and Mounted obstacle courses are timed. In hand and mounted obstacles are similar.

Xenophon Test

Prescribed dressage/Prix Caprilli like tests are ridden at each level.  All tests include fences on the diagonals.  Test is ridden on a 20m by 40m dressage arena.  Each movement is given a numerical score based on the 3 guiding principles of the Troika Challenge. 

Mounted Obstacles Course

Equine and handler team will maneuver a prescribed pattern of obstacles from the saddle. Each level progressively increases the challenge and degree of communication between handler and horse.  The goal of the mounted obstacle course is to negotiate obstacles and demonstrate empathetic yet clear communication between handler and equine from the saddle. In hand and Mounted obstacle courses are timed. In hand and mounted obstacles are similar.

THE THREE Levels:

Level 1 - Walk only - all phases are done at a walk.

Level 2 - Walk Trot - All phases include walk and trot - competitor must show a trot between in hand and mounted obstacles.

Level 3 - Walk, Trot, Canter - All phases include all gaits - competitor must show a canter in the correct lead for the turn between in hand and mounted obstacles.

Troika Rules and Guidelines

These are the draft Troika Rules...

Troika Challenge Upcoming Events

Upcoming Practices

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September 28th and November 1st  (9am to 5pm)- Full day practice and introduction 

Patterson Training LLC - Payson AZ ($75 each day)

email Tessa at cohesivehorsemanship@gmail.com to sign up or to get more information!


Draft rules for Troika are available below!



1st Ever Official Challenge!!!

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November 2nd 2019

Patterson Training LLC, Payson AZ


$75 per entry 

Entry forms available!


Draft Rules are available below!


Rules and Guidelines (DRAFT)

Draft rules are available for your review!