Not all equestrians are trail riders, and the trails aren't that important to them. In fact, many high prized competition horses never see the trail. They have specific rings to do specific jobs. The roundpen, lesson arena, warm-up arena, the jump arena, the dressage arena, the show arena, ect. There are even arenas for trail horses.
Although I am all for trail riding and I understand your point of view, many, many horses have not and do not go out on trails because its just not their job. Many competitors won't take their horses out because it can be an unecessary danger to that horse and god forbid it may leave some tail hair on a limb out there somewhere.
Not all horses will be "outside" horses. Those who act well in the ring will come unglued without the arena. Vice versa as well. Its to the horse's preference and job. Its just not practical to say "All horses should be out on trails!" Horses don't have to prove themselves in outside conditions anymore, because we don't rely on horses to take us to our destinations these days.
On another page, same book, the arena is a safety and a training tool. We teach young riders and schooling riders within the confines of this area to better their control, timing and aids. The enclosed area gives us a specific type of safety that an open field would not. We also use the arena as a training tool for our horses as well before we take them out on the arena. Its basically a large, flat area with fencing as a "fail safe" in case something would happen.
Never having been out on a trail can be a deal breaker to some, but it doesn't necessarily lower the value of the horse. To a serious dressage competitor, walking across a mud puddle isn't going to be as important as a well performed piaffe. Would it be ideal for that horse to behave on the trails as well as extend a trot to place first? Yes. But for those who want that ribbon, the trails don't matter too much. And for riders who want those trails, the extended trot doesn't matter. You value the horse at what its good at, and people will buy that horse based on the training in it's chosen discipline.
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music
Last edited by Copperhead; 09-23-2012 at 12:49 PM.