Young Glenwood Springs equestrian scores high in trail trial

Hazel Kingston on Alphie going through their warm-up.
Katherine Tomanek/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs’ Hazel Kingston, 10, recently rode an obstacle course on her mule, Alphie, and got an amazing score of 91/100. 

“I think I won because of Alphie.” Kingston said. “Sometimes Alphie didn’t always understand what I wanted her to do.”

This trial was set up by the Women’s Surface Creek Saddle Club, in Cedaredge on Sept. 16. Robin Pruett, Kingston’s trainer, said the trail competition had a clinic about a month before to prepare riders for the competition. 

“We didn’t know about that, I’d only found out about the trial maybe a week before,” Pruett said. “I think it’s amazing that Hazel was able to get the score she did, with Alphie not having seen the course before.”

“Hazel was being judged as a child, but a lot of the obstacles, she did the adult version,” Pruett added. 

The trainer and pupil agreed that Kingston nabbed 10/10 by performing in the adult-level obstacles. Pruett also said that there were adults in the competition and that one had gotten an 85/100 as their final score. The adult competitor was riding a horse to get this score, Pruett noted.

“Mules are thinkers and horses are more reactionary.” Pruett said. “It’s also said they can see all four of their feet. I don’t know how true that is, but they do seem to be sure-footed.”

One of the obstacles was going into a place with a canopy, made of trees, and the competitors had to side pass up to a tree, pick something out of a bag, and then side pass out, Pruett described.

“A lot of the horses wouldn’t do it because it was dark in there and because they’re fearful of being trapped by a predator, whereas a mule will most likely depend on a rider and their calmness to go into a place like that,” Pruett said. 

Kingston has improved over the two years she’s been riding with Pruett and the trainer said she’s got natural talent. Kingston and Alphie make a fine pair.

“She did start to get tired near the end of the trail,” Pruett said. “It’s very hard to get a perfect score in any competition.” 

The course Kingston scored so high on was 10 miles and 10 obstacles. 

“I’ll probably do more trials,” Kingston said. “I liked all the obstacles.”

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