Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
I think liberty riding in an arena is COMPLETELY different than liberty riding on a trail.
Horses are prey animals. If they even THINK something is going to eat them, the majority of them, regardless of miles on them or how well-trained they are, will bolt. Why would you put yourself in the position that you have zero control over your horse if it gets spooked? "But we have such an amazing bond! Pookie would never hurt me!" BS. If "Pookie" thinks whatever is out there is going to eat him, the last thing he's going to be worried about is you.
I've trail ridden with many well-trained, "dead broke" horses. Some of them were older polo ponies, some were career dude string horses, and others were retired ranch horses. All were older (10+). All of them had enough training that most people would figure they'd be rideable on te trail bareback with just a halter. I've also seen these horses have some of the biggest blow-ups I've ever seen while out on the trail with novice riders. I've seen a dead-head, dead broke ranch horse try to bolt through a barbed wire fence on the side of the road because a dump truck drove by. I've also seen a dead broke, lazy polo pony, who was used as a dude string horse in the off-season, freak out when weeds brushed her belly and she swore it was going to eat her. The point is, even with tack it was difficult for the riders to control these horses that were in "flight" mode. If they had been liberty riding, either the riders would have ended up seriously injured, or they would have ended up dead.
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