What to look for in a good Trail horse.

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What to look for in a good Trail horse.

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  • What to look for in good trail horse

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    01-23-2012, 08:39 PM
What to look for in a good Trail horse.

What do you look for in a good trail horse?
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    01-23-2012, 09:06 PM
Surefooted and traffic safe
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countrygirl3 likes this.
    01-23-2012, 09:12 PM
Sound, big boned, ability to travel well, calm, and smooth.
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    01-23-2012, 09:15 PM
My priority before anything is a calm nature.
    01-23-2012, 09:20 PM
Strong hooves
Good balance
Calm nature
Smooth gaits
No water phobia(hopefully a given)

I would probobly get an older horse, just for the "been there, done that" attitude, like taking a nature guide on a hike. Im also nervous on the trail, and definitely want a horse that has seen it all.

**disclaimer: I know that age doesnt always affect the horses performance, (i.e, young horses can be calmer then old ones)
    01-23-2012, 09:20 PM
It depends upon what type of trail work you plan to do, just as what you look for in a race horse depends upon what length races he will run and if there are jumps involved.

If you are planning long, hard rides over rugged terrain, then you look for hard hooves, strong bone, a short back, a thick strong neck, a muscle composition conducive to both endurance and strength, a deep girth, and a disposition that is both quiet and trusting.

As you move toward shorter and flatter work, the ideal qualities above become less and less necessary, until you get to gentle trailwork, that almost any horse can do...
csimkunas6, FlyGap and mystykat like this.
    01-23-2012, 09:28 PM
Quiet temper
Soft gaits
Small, but strong build. (I find smaller horses easier to weave around deer paths I come across)
Passive attitude, makes for things to be less scary on the trails.
Good, strong hooves and joints.

These are the things I like in a weekend-trail horse,
FlyGap likes this.
    01-24-2012, 11:54 AM
I like what everyone else said and I would say willing

If they aren't willing then you are most likely not going to have fun :)
    01-24-2012, 12:21 PM
Green Broke
I have found the best thing to do for me is to ride with my riding club big turnout rides. Over half of which are horse owners, as opposed to horse riders, and only actually ride a few times a year. Makes me suddenly realize how good my horse is. I am in the market for a 50-100 mile endurance horse, TWH to carry my big butt. My huy now is 15 hands and I feel like I need a bigger horse, but so far he seems to be doing well. Lots of miles, one 25 mile LD race and will be doing my first 50 this spring.
    01-24-2012, 01:01 PM
Love this! All I do now is trail ride so when I'm looking my list falls in two sections, both are non-negotialibles.

1. Overal health and conformation.
a. Hooves- My number one. Indestructible and MUST be sure footed.
b. Conformation - balanced, nice sloping shoulder for a smoother ride.
c. Athletic ability. Can't be a plow horse yet I don't want a racehorse.
Sturdy, strong boned, mid sized, easy to keep, I find Quarabs fit the bill.
d. Teeth - Must have decent to good teeth to digest food easily to keep them
Healthy and absorb vital nutrients without requiring extra supplements.
e. Health history - No prior colic, lamentitis, founder etc. I've seen trail horses
Prone to these maladies and especially colic can occur while riding miles away from home.
F. Size - Like stated above I like a horse to fall in the 14 to 15 hh range. Super handy
Going under things instead of having to find a way around them.

2. Experience, training, and temper.
a. Experience - how long have they been a trail horse, age, prior activities.
I do not like "playday" or barrel trained horses to be my next trail partner.
Just a personal preference. Sure some are fine, just wouldn't take a chance.
b. Training - Have they been trained for trails, can they pull a log, been
Desensitized to most things, cross water, roads, stand while mounting,
Tie safely, go anywhere anytime meaning not being herd bound.
c. Temper - Quiet, willing, intelligent, spookless, with a can do attitude yet
Plenty of whoa. Bold, I like a horse that has a fearless approach to things
Instead of always questioning cues and their surroundings.

I've had all kinds and if I follow these guidelines I mostly get it right! I've had horses with more go than I'd like but they made amazing trail horses and endurance partners. I've also had plow type horses that I could take a nap on, and did while riding, they have their purpose but not for me if I want to climb a rough mountain. Now I just look for steady mounts with a brain, calm but not sleepy, with excellent athletic abilities to haul my tail through the forests!

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