I'm a trail rider, no more and no less than any other type of rider.
So the phrase "I'm just a trail rider" or "you just trail ride?" comes outta a lot of other peoples mouths.
Well, yes I "just trail ride" but you "just ride in an arena". And not that most people don't take their horses out on the "trails", but I'd like to see an "arena broke" horse do the things out on the trails that I do with mine! Not saying that a great arena horse can't excel out here either, my mare was trained for WP, halter, and reining, didn't take to it. She is a monster on the trails.
Criteria (please add to it) for why I think Trail Riding is a very difficult sport in the horse world:
1. A horse must be sane. It is very difficult to encounter all of the different elements of nature with a hot blooded horse.
2. Physically fit. You can't expect a pasture puff to haul your tail over mountains for over at least 15 to 25 miles and usually more, multiple days, across multiple terrains.
3. Broke, Broke, Broke. Taking the chance on a green horse without SOLID training 25 miles away from home is dangerous. PERIOD.
4. Athletic Willing Attitude. A lesson horse can take you through the paces, but when you need to scale a sheer hillside, jump a 3ft. log, and swim a lake AFTER riding 25 miles, you need a horse with some go, go, go.
5. Surefooted donkey horse. Sure any horse can walk a road or gallop around an arena, but can they safely wind around a steep rocky cliff and not fall over and take you with them?
A trail rider:
1. Physically fit. Most people can sit a horse in an arena and even properly jump with a bit of training. Can they ride up and down mountains, keeping their horse balanced and fit over countless miles of terrain? And still walk the next day?
2. Be Sane. Most people can direct their horse around an enclosure, but can they encounter a mountain lion and not flip their lid or let their horses do so? Keep their cool/seat when a horse bolts/shies from a snake?
3. Know first Aid. Without being feet from a stocked barn or in cell service to call for an emergency?
4. Train Said Horse Above?
I'm not bashing anyone! Trail riding is difficult and a world unto it's own.
Give it and yourselves some credit you awesome trail blazers!
Please feel free to add!!
This is my 1.6 million acre arena:
One more Trail Riding Master criteria:
1. Be able to safely control your horse without a bit, and saddle less.
Ya never know when something is going to break.
For extreme trailriding, maybe. I mean, I've only been on a few trails that were more than four or five hours long because in my area of Texas, that's it. We don't have steep moutainous trails and lurking cliffs. I do agree that your horse should be well broke and you should be conditioned and ready, but I actually find it to be a way to help you break your horse and to help you with your arena work. Some of the young three or four year olds that I've brought out on the trail are fresh and know their basic commands, but I use the trails as a learning mechanism for them. I plug the know how in to the why, now? and I get myself a good horse. I teach them the reason that they have to trust my by giving them a situation that they often don't understand, and I test them!
So no, I dont start with a horse anything like what you described. But I do end up with one.
Endiku I agree.
My point of this was that the stigma of being "just a trail rider" is lesser than being an eventer or whatever. Most hard core trail riders don't start with horses like I described, we train them. There is also the idea that trail riders are happy hackers, too lazy to do anything else, that couldn't be further from the truth!
I'm so glad you see the value of working them outside the arena. Adding "real world miles"!
I wish we had those trails! My horse would love to be a trail horse but I doubt if she could hack it riding around the mountains like that. I wouldn't mind it either. Unfortunately, just don't have that accessibility.
There's no shame in a good trail horse!
Oh, I always reply with "in 50 or 100 mile increments, yes." That generally gets a reaction. :lol:
Kinda like being "just a housewife".
Lol!! Yeah, most housewives have a college education nowadays. But not everyone is a good mother who can cook keeps a house spotless, keeps in shape, AND has a side job!
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Proud to be a Trail Rider
Ahh bravo! I too feel in your somewhat disrespected group. I live and breathe trail riding. It's funny you should make this thread because just yesterday I was out at the barn and there were people that had come in for riding lessons for their daughers. I came back, untacked my horse and they started asking random questions like how was your ride, what's your horses' name, how old is she yada yada yada... The last thing they asked me was, "Do you show your horse or do you just trail ride?" I was thinking to myself really? Really Cmon? I'm not a 2nd class citizen because I trail ride! Even a girl at our barn refers to horses that she doesn't like as, "trail horses." Like that one day she couldn't get her horses' head set and I heard her say, quit acting like a trail horse with your head way up in the air." My horse has a head set and it's not way up in the air. I am sick of the stereotypes. I just want my horse and the great outdoors. I have put a lot of work into my mare that has paid off. Like you said, you can't just throw an arena horse out there and expect it to be fine, trail riding takes training too.
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