Some of the obstacles are easy. Some not so easy. Some are darned hard!! You don't have to do anything. Plenty of people attempt a start at things, then bail!
The biggest thing is waiting around in lines at the difficult obstacles. If someone brings a gaggle of girls with their beasties, the girls will easily spend 10 minutes each trying to complete each obstacle. It's up to the jump judge to decide when to move folks along, but often they may allow an eager person to go on trying for a while.........
It was fun day, but personally, my patience for standing around at horse shows/events is not stellar.
Cannot stand waiting around while people fiddle-faddle, either.
The thing with this is how it is done - marks are awarded for entering, during and exiting and it has to be done right. An easy obstacle can be judged to sort the men from the boys. The waiting around would be better suited to a clinic situation...they can direct their attention to the instructor, or themselves.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique
I'm not sure if things are different in NY. You might google and see if the org. holding the event has a website with rules. The rulebook should cover how the obstacles are scored which lets you know what types of obstacles to expect.
I did one trail trial and probably won't do one again. The obstacles were mostly easy - up and down hills, backing and sidepassing a cone pattern, dismount, pick up horse's foot and remount, drag a "raft" with balloons across the river, work a gate, dismount and load horse in a trailer, ride across a section of extremly rough ground- but the wait times for each obstacle were absolutely nuts and I was pretty much over it by the 3rd obstacle.
If the organizers run it right and tell their judges to move people along after three attempts, then the wait times should be manageable, but I've waited long times at the harder or more complicated obstacles.
I was a judge at an obstacle last July; while mounted people had to back up while holding a rope to lift a duffle bag up to a branch and then set it back down by walking forward again. There were a couple of people who did this almost perfectly; many others went "bush surfing" as their horses shied. I'd shout, "Drop the rope, you already have the maximum points." (Low points wins.)