Reformed Arena Horse???
Hi. I have owned my horse, Jackie, for about a year and a half. When I got her, she had been an arena therapy riding horse for 12 of her 15 years. She was getting sour of being ridden by so many riders though, and was getting a little bullheaded and spooky, but it wasn't too bad. My trainer, though, was kind of getting out of the horse business so he gave her to me. When I got her, I first rode her in a makeshift arena in a hay field on our dairy farm. She did okay with that, but she needed to be ridden in a fairly small square or circle. When I attempted to ride her on a "trail ride" she spooked and became too much for a beginner rider like me to handle. I started mostly working on my riding skills by riding bareback in her pasture, which is surrounded on three sides by huge cow barns. Now that I am a fairly decent basic rider, I want to start trail riding. Since Jackie was an arena horse for so long, though, she kind of flips out when she gets into an open area. To get from her pasture to her stall, though, we need to cross a big grass field and she's even started spooking in that. Now she's getting more and more spooky around other things. I don't have much time to work with her with me being in school and it getting cold and dark so early (I live in western Ohio) and truthfully, she scares the crap out of me when she gets freaked out. I really want to keep her though, because if she wasn't so spooky, she would make a good trail horse. She is very well schooled (she moves off the legs like a dream) and she has enough spunk to her to keep things interesting. She's also pretty good at riding bareback and even jumping. On a good day, I can ride her totally bareback and brideless, even at a canter, but only in her pasture. I'm just not sure if I'm up to trying to train her to be a trail horse, or if it would even be worth it. What if I go through all the work and she isn't happy being a trail horse? Or what if I get hurt while training her? I have a few friends who live near me that can help me, but no one on our farm is into horses and they aren't really a big help. Jackie really calms down around other horses, and I actually rode her on a trail ride with horses the first time she'd seen another horse in a year. The problem is, there is no chance of getting another horse till next fall. Should I cut my losses and sell her? I really like her though, and I would be really worried about finding a good buyer, because she isn't exactly the most useful horse in the world. Or should I buy another trail horse I can enjoy all summer? If you think I should keep Jackie, what are some ideas to start trail training her? Thank you so much for your help, and for reading this whole thing!