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Ottakee 11-07-2008 08:55 PM

"just" a trail rider?
I hear this quite often. "Oh, I am just a trail rider" or "oh, all he (meaning the horse) is good for is the trails", etc.

Do you consider trail riding to be "easier" than arena showing, etc. or a discipline that is different but requires good training for the horse and good riding skills?

Seems like many times trail riding is at the bottom of the "food chain" of horseback riding disciplines.

Painted Horse 11-07-2008 09:44 PM

I think that to be competitive in the arena requires a certain amount of practice. You can just jump on a trail horse once or twice a summer and still have a great ride. You can't ignor a show horse and expect him to win ribbons.

With that said, I think there is a lot that goes into making a good trail horse. Nobody enjoys riding a trail horse that jumps off cliffs because he's uncontrolable. Nobody likes being brushed off the saddle because the horse got too close to a tree.

And I think there is often a little bit of Snob in somebody who has won a few ribbons.

Don't worry about it. Enjoy the 8 hours you spend in the saddle seeing mother nature, whle your friends get four 2 minute runs in the arena for the saturday.

PoptartShop 11-07-2008 09:47 PM

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I do hunter jumping, but I think that trail riding can be less complicated than jumping, barrels, etc. I think because it's more relaxing; yet I think it's really cool that people trail in a lot of places, & travel to trail...I mean, some trails are just beautiful! :D I think it's just not in the spotlight as much, but I'm sure it's just as good as anything else.
I love to trailride; it's relaxing & I find it sometimes more fun than doing flatwork! :lol:

Arrow 11-07-2008 09:50 PM

Trail riding takes a lot of practice, too--a horse has to be sure-footed, go through and over things, not spook, be trustworthy crossing streams and going up hills, etc. A trail horse has to be balanced and sound, has to be honest and not flighty, has to be conditioned to go on rides. A horse that is jumped on and taken for a ride once or twice a summer isn't really a trail horse--a trail horse is a lot more than that. And nothing would bore me more than four 2 minute runs in the arena on a Saturday--sounds very narrow and constricting and dull. I don't really ride a horse to practice things in an arena--I have other reasons for riding.

Zappasowner 11-07-2008 10:07 PM

Well practicing in an arena takes alot of practice on position etc, but trail riding takes alot of confidence and a bond with your horse. You have to be ready for anything. Also I'm glad people mention that a horse must be surefooted, sound etc. Trail horses need to be in pretty good shape because trails aren't manicured like arenas. Trail riding can be great exercise if your not just walking, you can jump over logs, gallop across fields trot down the road. I love trailriding, it keeps my OTTB calm err.... calmer I mean LOL! Show horses would be better off if their owners would take them out on a ride. I hate to see show horses become sour from too much ring work I mean seriously an animals place is really surrounded by trees and things to engage them. All work and no play um whats the rest?

Joshie 11-07-2008 10:37 PM


Originally Posted by PoptartShop (Post 183579)
I do hunter jumping, but I think that trail riding can be less complicated than jumping, barrels, etc.

But it can be a whole lot more complicated too. A horse has to trust you to walk through mud, go down a steep, muddy embankment, etc. Trail riding requires a lot of thought and a whole lot of training. I think we all tend to think that what we do is the most complicated thing.

Bitless 11-07-2008 11:10 PM

I think much of sayings like that are because competition is seen as a reason to own a horse, gives the horse a deffinet purpose.......having a horse to win you money/ prizes seems to mean the horse is worth something more than a horse you ride on trails and arnt tecnically getting any thing for it. Makeing it seem like a lesiure sport as its done in your own time. Which all us trail riders know is not the case.

Honeslty i dont think its much difference. You can do everything on a trail ride that you do in an arena or show. You can jump if you wish, heck you can even do dressage if you please. And i reckon if you can get your horses to do what he does in an arena out on the trails just as good then he will be better for it when it comes to showing in competition as he will be desensitized to working in all kinds of environments.

And with endurance becomeing ever more popular its giving trail riders a competitive edge to there so called ' just trail riding horses '.

I trail ride purely for pleasure and am glad of it , wouldnt have it any other way :D Must say tho .....i am guilty of saying to other people ' oh i just trail ride/ hack out '......hehe. I dont any more tho.

Be proud trail riders!!!! :-P

PoptartShop 11-08-2008 12:57 AM

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I also agree. Any horse can't just be a good trail horse. Heck, a lot of horses don't like trails to begin with (silly herd-bound ones, lol!). It definitely is a discipline.

PaintHorseMares 11-08-2008 06:16 AM

I know most people 'look down' on 'working' horses, but to me, trail riding is at the top of the experience level for a horse. What could better than having a horse that you can get on anytime, in any weather, and go absolutely anywhere with? We don't trailer to get places, we ride to get there.
Our finished and seasoned 14 yr old mare, Angel, was a working cattle ranch horse and won ribbons in team penning. When we go out on or off the trail, it's not that she trusts me, I trust her!

Ottakee 11-08-2008 06:36 AM

Seems like a lot of you agree with me. I am not discounting the hard work and training that goes into getting a horse to do flying lead changes, sliding stops, piaffes, or whatever their discipline requires. I know that the rider must also be a good rider to show well in the areana.

I am quite new to riding--started riding less than 2 years ago and up until I bought my current horse in late Feb. I really wasn't doing much as my first horse had some issues beyond a beginning rider.

My new guy is a 15 year old 15hh QH (likely some Arab too) gelding that is a great trail horse. He does NOT like arena work at all. Sometimes we do some areana lessons as I need to work on my seat, hands, cues, etc. in a more controlled environment---hard for my riding instructor to help me as I am flying past her at a lope on the 2 track when we are out on the trails:D

I am considering trying a judged trail ride where they have various obstacles for you to go over, around, through, etc. I don't think we would place but I think it would be fun to see how he does and expose him to more things.

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