Funny and scarey stories everyone has.
When I travel I always go to a dude outfit and go on a trail ride. I haven't had bad experiences. Oh, sure, some of the guides were a bit cocky. But, they are probably proud as heck to have a "real horse job."
One of my favorite places is near Traverse City, MI. The owners raise Appaloosas. I go every time I visit relatives in the area, and take non-horsey family with me. The daughter is very knowledgeable about issues important to horsemen, the forests, and pasture conditions. The horses are fine.
I used to go work on a dude string whenever I needed a break from the pace and travel on the racetrack. We used the dude horses on the cow herd, took them to open shows for gaming, and even practiced bareback bronc riding on them. More than a few were broke to both ride and drive. We bought and sold a lot of horses, so improving what we had was part of the deal. We always had between 80 and 100 head.
Whenever I get a temporary worker here, they want to ride a horse. I can't very well put them on a polo pony, nor do they have the time to go check cows all day, so I take them to a rental string. I take lots of photos of them and they go home happy having ridden in the mountains.
I like to support the rental business. It's where so many riders and eventual horse owners got their start.
Last edited by boots; 07-15-2012 at 11:33 AM.