[feature photo courtesy of Angella Sherman, Melissa Dewitt & friend pictured]
If you have recently joined the Top Trail Program membership website we want to welcome you to our crew and thank you for joining us.
First of all… a little housekeeping
Top Trail is a membership site. Non-members cannot see the tracks you post or your personal information. We work really hard to keep the “riffraff” out but if an illegitimate account does happen to get through, please let us know the name on the account and we will investigate and remove it if necessary.
Because this is a membership site, we prefer that you use your real name (first and last) to identify yourself. This is especially important when it comes time to prepare and print your annual mileage certificates. In the past we have done our best to figure out the proper name to list on the certificates but there are so many now, it’s not feasible to do so. So if the name on your account is “Me and Bobbie McGee” that is what will be printed on your annual mileage certificate (premium members only).
If you haven’t already, Activate your account then choose your level
Top Trail offers different levels of membership. The two primary levels are Premium and Basic. Once your account is activated, pull down the “My Top Trail” menu and select “My Membership” then “View All Membership Levels.” Choose your level and you’re ready to dive into a little personalization of your account…
You’re in, now what?
You will want to personalize your account by adding a profile photo and enrolling any equines you ride or drive.
You should gather up some friends while you’re getting set up too! Search for members and add them to your list of riding buddies. This is especially helpful if you would ever ride one of their enrolled Top Trail equines.
The Reason You’re Here
Of course, that’s to log your rides and watch your miles add up!! So, first things first. The way we get the miles to add up on your account is via GPX file of your recorded ride tracks.
Most GPS apps and devices they will create a GPX file of your track. If they do not generate a GPX file, they will not work with Top Trail. GPX files contain date, time, and location data that Top Trail uses to generate a map, and calculate your mileage for annual, lifetime, and group listings. Click here if you would like to geek out a little about GPX files.
Here are some useful articles to help you get started:
Your Choice: Smartphone GPS App or Handheld GPS
So you need to decide if you want to use an app, or a device such as a Garmin. The majority of us who record & track our rides for Top Trail use a GPS app on our smartphones (be sure to read this article if you haven’t already).
EasyTrails GPS is by far the most widely used app because it allows you to record your track with the app and when finished, export it directly to your Top Trail account. There is a one time fee for EasyTrails GPS but is very affordable for the convenience it provides.
If you have another app that you just love and want to continue using it, as long as it will export tracks in GPX file format you can use it. Every app has it’s own way of exporting so please locate that information in your app help pages. Once you have your GPX file, you can upload your tracks manually.
Uh-Oh. I didn’t turn off my GPS after my Ride
This happens a lot. If it happens to you, please email the GPX file of the track to us and let us know approximately how long the ridden portion of the track should be, which equine you were riding, if it’s a public or private track. If you want to try to edit the track yourself, you can google “Edit GPX File” and find plenty of YouTube videos on the subject. Or, we can take care of it for you.
Under the My Top Trail menu, you will find “Ride Logs.” Ride Logs are just what it sounds like, a list of your uploaded ride tracks. At the top of the list, you will see your mileage for the current year and the number of tracks you have uploaded to your account for the current year. You can sort the columns by clicking those with arrows. If you click the name of the track, you will go to the “Ride Detail” screen where you will get more detail and a thumbnail map of the track.
When you become a Top Trail member you automatically gain entry to the Top Trail Rider Challenges. It’s fun, and we like to cheer each other on and encourage more time on the trail with our equines and friends. If you want to opt out of the Challenges we’ve made a way for you to do just that. If you do not opt out you will find yourself in one of the 6 Challenge Divisions.
Available Affiliate Groups will change from year to year. Take a look at what’s currently available and be sure to join the group within 30 days of the beginning of your Top Trail membership or no later than February 1 if you were a member the previous year. If you join an affiliate group after 30 days of your membership you will not be eligible for any awards or recognition the Affiliate Group offers. 2021 Affiliate Groups will be:
MFTHBA (you must be a member of MFTHBA and ride an MFTHBA registered horse)
Michigan Horse Council (you must be a member of MHC to join this group)
Scoot Bootin’ Boogiers (2021 only, will be discontinued in 2022)
NATRC (2021 only, will begin new format in 2022)
Hags with Nags (you must be a member of the Hags with Nags Facebook group)
Fuzzy Butters Top Trail Challenge (you must own a Fuzzy Butt from White Horse Trading Post)
40 Something Cowgirls (you must be a member of 40 Something Cowgirls national organization)
Double Trouble (2021 only, will be discontinued in 2022)
New in 2022: NATRC Virtual Challenge (you must enroll using the NATRC + Basic or NATRC + Top Trail Premium level membership AND be a current member of the national NATRC organization)
Top Trail Journeys
Journeys Challenge will be based on mileage goals in 2022. We’re super excited about it. More information to come!
Now that you know the basics, feel free to click around the website. Don’t think you can hurt anything! If you see broken links, have questions that you cannot find an answer to or any feedback at all, please shoot us an email!