Is trail riding absolutely A MUST for the horse? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Is trail riding absolutely A MUST for the horse?

So I read an article other day by one of the European trainers (can't remember the name, sorry!). He does english (hm, of course ) and he states that every horse should go on trail ride at least 1-2/week to keep it "in healthy mind".

While I completely agree that trail riding teaches the horse lots of things (desensitizing to the scary objects, for example), I'd like to hear opinions on that. Also some horses just don't like trail riding at all (not a matter of being scared, just boring I guess?). So would you still force them to trail riding "to keep healthy mind"?
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post #2 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:24 PM
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I wouldn't keep a horse that I couldn't ride out on a trail, and I wouldn't expect any of my own horses to never head out on the trail.

But I don't really midn what others do as long as the horse is happy and healthy :]

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post #3 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:28 PM
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Agreed. I think that the trainer most likely means doing something with the horse that's not demanding and gives them a break from their major disciplines training routine, and trails are pretty much a point and shoot game.
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post #4 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:28 PM
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Definitely not. And I'm an avid trail rider and promoter of "healthy natural horse living". I think it's a good idea for MOST, but I have personally witnessed a fair number of horses who are perfectly content with their arena/barn life and go into pieces on a trail. If the rider is not a trail rider, why put that much time and effort into getting your horse to like trails? Quite frankly, he's not going to see anything on the trails you can't desensitize him to with normal training. I'm fairly certain a large number of show horses NEVER see a trail and they get along just fine. Zierra has been ridden on trails her entire life, and she is just as prone to spook at an umbrella opening as your average show horse. I don't believe there is anything on the trails that is overly beneficial to desensitizing the average showhorse. That's not to say I fully think you SHOULD do trail riding, as MOST horses do need the break. I just don't think it has as many benefits and perks as people tend to think it does, outside of giving your horse a good break to see some different scenery.

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post #5 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:29 PM
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I live on the Trans Canada so trail riding is not an option for me. As well, my little Arab is far too flighty to trail ride. However, he is very happy to jump around often, so I'm okay with not trail riding him.

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post #6 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting to hear different opinions!

My qh (I trail ride her all over a place for 3 years already) seems to be loosing her interest in trail riding. After I started her seriously in a ring this year she's been very resistant (if it's a correct word to use) on trails. I mean she goes and all, and I can bring her into trot/canter (although I mostly just walk on trails), but I can see she doesn't like it much - she looks bored, doesn't get the point of going on trail, and I have to use lots of leg on her to keep her moving forward (don't need it though when she thinks we are on way back to the trailer ). She works 10 times harder in ring, so I'd expect her to enjoy nice relaxing walk on trails, but it doesn't look like a case...
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post #7 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:52 PM
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I live on the Trans Canada so trail riding is not an option for me.
Why not? What's the Trans Canada?

I live in a city and keep my horses just outside it - We trail ride in the country but we also trail ride through the cuty, it's great fun :]

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post #8 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
So I read an article other day by one of the European trainers (can't remember the name, sorry!). He does english (hm, of course ) and he states that every horse should go on trail ride at least 1-2/week to keep it "in healthy mind".

While I completely agree that trail riding teaches the horse lots of things (desensitizing to the scary objects, for example), I'd like to hear opinions on that. Also some horses just don't like trail riding at all (not a matter of being scared, just boring I guess?). So would you still force them to trail riding "to keep healthy mind"?

YES!!!!!!!EVERY HORSE SHOULD TRAIL RIDE AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, EVEN IF IT'S JUST TWENTY MINUTES DOWN A TRAIL AND BACK...

Even a road, or bike path, down streets, something... if there are no trails in the area (but trails would be way better).

And if they don't like to trail ride, they WILL learn to. It's a time to give them their heads and RELAX and be HORSES.

Even on a trail they can learn and practice "arena work". For example you can bridle them up for a few strides, release. You can pick them up and move them around holes, logs, rocks, etc. with your leg aids. It gets them in shape good too.

Really trail riding can be used to train as well. I think eventually all horses who don't get out will go sour...Besides don't you get board riding in an arena every time you go out to ride?
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post #9 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 10:58 PM
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To each his own. It is the same as asking if wearing breeches is a MUST - it is for some but not others.

Personally I expect ALL my horses to go on trail rides for three reasons:

1.) I love it (and they usually do too).

2.) I think it is good for their training as it exposes them to all kinds of things meaning that they are less worried by all those scary horse eating monsters in bushes and under logs, very handy if you ever want to take them out and about.

3.) It is great for fitness as I like to establish a very brisk trot and hold that pace for most of the ride (30 mins to a couple of hours), it is the best for conditioning, especially if you can find nice sandy trails with hills!

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post #10 of 40 Old 06-14-2010, 11:03 PM
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I, also, wouldn't keep a horse I couldn't take out on trail rides, especially if I couldn't take them out alone. I live in northern Colorado, about 1/2 mile from two different lakes, and right now a lot of what I do is go out and take my gelding for long rides. Not only that but when I compete I event, which means going cross country for a couple miles alone. Granted, it's not like it's overgrown and I never see people (as there is a judge at every jump), but there are definitely areas where a horse that didn't enjoy (or at least tolerate) being out of an arena alone would not work out for me. Personally I've never met a horse that didn't enjoy trail riding once they realized they weren't going to be attacked by a cougar (or some other silly notion they seemed to have in their heads). I've worked with plenty of horses that were considered "too flighty" for a trail, and all it took was some patience and calm riding and the horses were fine. More forward than your average trail horse, I would suppose, and a little more prone to spooking, but they settled in well, and if the rider is paying enough attention they can generally tell when the horse is going to spook. Of course there are exceptions, but I think there are very few and that most all horses would benefit going on a trail ride once a week or so. Or at least getting out of the arena.

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