why does it have to be such a big deal?
This will probably be novel-length, so bear with me.
Lately I've been getting a little frustrated... 90% of the boarders at my barn do western riding and trail riding (occasionally team-penning and gaming). My TB mare Jubilee and I do strictly English. Jubilee has only been trained English and its what she's good at ... and what I like best! :) She has lots of training in dressage, so I've been learning that with her mostly. The only others that do English are one 12-year old girl and my BO sometimes rides in an English saddle. Other than that, my barn is western all-around.
That in itself, is fine. I have absolutely nothing against western riding (its what I learned first way back when)... and I ALSO have no problem being the only one in English tack. The problem is that I always get asked to go on trail rides with people at my barn. People will always ask me, "Why don't you ever ride Jubilee on the road? Come trail riding with us!" I've taken Jubilee on the road a few times (peer pressured I guess) but its not something that I really like to do. Jubilee sometimes gets fussy on the road and I don't like dealing with her attitude out there. If I'm going to go on the road, I'd much rather ride a relaxed pony who knows the trails frontwards and backwards. Jubilee is not this. She's a good girl, but she gets kind of hyper out on the road and sometimes picks a fight.
Not only that, but I LOVE riding her in the ring. Its just what I do. I love English and learning dressage. I'd much rather do leg-yielding alone in a round pen than gallop down miles of trails with others (that is just me). Some people would much rather blaze the trail... which is perfectly fine! It's just.... why does everyone keep bugging me about it?? I always tell them, "No thanks, I'd much rather ride in the ring." And they don't really get it. Actually, I think they think I'm kind of strange for it. Then they start thinking that the reason I won't is because I'm scared to. I'm not scared to! I've done lots of road riding. But Jubilee has so much potential and I love doing ring work with her. We've come so far! No one really understands this at my barn. To them, they like riding for fun and basically ride ONLY on trails in groups. Why is it such a big deal if I don't trail ride with them? I'm not really good friends with some of them either. We get along fine, but I'm not super close.
*I must also add, that apart from this, I love my barn and would never consider moving somewhere else.
To each his own
i understand completely what you are saying. i dont board my horse (i live on a farm) but my dad has some friends with a daughter who is a really talented, spirited barrel racer/western/trail rider, so they sometimes bring their horses over and ride with us. well of course shes all "lets go trail ride, lets go race, lets get all crazy." but im very similar to how you are, jubilee. i just really like my arena! i definately am NOT afraid of trails: for goodness sakes ive lived there my whole life and know those trails like the back of my horse!! but the arena is sort of like where i tend to shine, ya know? its just what I LIKE TO DO.
ugh...i feel ya girlfriend, i feel ya.
(sorry...i like to talk...er...type.)
and on top of that, they dont understand why i like it better. its like theyre thinking to themselves, "how could that be any fun? what a bore."
ah...its making me angry thinking about it. lol.
and also like you, i started out western; you know, learned riding that way. so i definately respect what they like to do. heck, sometimes i think western shows are SO much more fun than english shows anyway. so im not saying western/trails are stupid or anything...i just...
eh, now im on a rant.
You know, it would probably be a great learning oppurtunity for Jubilee to learn how to behave on a trail/road . Trail rides can be great for teaching your horse to focus and remain calm in new enviornments (which is what is needed at shows), and you can still ask her to perform the same manuvers you would in the arena and it will be even more of a challenge for her.
Don't go on a trail ride, go for a sophisticated, well controlled, English hack. ;) ask her for a canter the same as in an an arena, ask her to leg yeild around an obsticle, make her half-pass at wider spots on the trail.
There are also other benefits to going on trail rides like going up and down slopes is great for developing muscles, and different types of terrain can build the horses confidence and be very beneficial to the hooves.
Just thought I'd add my two-cents.
It's fair enough to enjoy riding in the ring.
BUT, if I only ever rode in the ring, my horses would be sour at the drop of a hat. Do you really only ridie in the ring? Always?
While I say you need to do what you are comfortable doing, one needs to learn to be flexible - especially for our horses.
It is always great to get our horses out of that arena to not only open their minds, but to learn many new lessons that being outside of the arena can give to both horse and rider. It is great for the horse to get out and break free from daily routine.
While you shouldn't let these other riders intimidate you or make you feel bad or force you into something you aren't comfortable doing - maybe you should start thinking outside of the box .....or ... hee hee...ride outside of the box.
If both you and your horse are happy with ring riding, that's yours to decide. I also ride english in a small barn where some people mostly trail ride while others never leave the ring. I can see where it would get old to have them bug you all the time about going out. I agree that it's no fun to be on a jigging horse on a trail ride.
I do a little bit of everything and I do see benefits to both, but I rarely get one of the ring people out on the trails with me and I rarely see the trail people in the ring. It's just what it is. My horse and I always seem to be in the same mood, so we usually are in agreement about doing ring work or goofing off and riding around in the fields. I did feel funny the first time out in my little english launching pad as it was referred to by my western friends. In the end it just comes down to what makes you both happy. Explaining ring work to a trail riders is like trying to explain a love of horses to city dwelling coworkers! They just look at you like you have 3 heads.
Well, speaking as an afflicted trail person, I would say it's probably just a great source of confusion. Trail riders are a close knit group, always up for fun and excitement, and to the average trail ride, staring at the fence of a ring all day is just boring. They are probably in SUCH disbelief that you'd rather ride ring then join them on their wacky adventures, that they've convinced themselves the only reason you don't join them is because you don't feel welcome. No self proclaimed trail rider can handle the truth of some people actually prefering to ride ring :lol: It's like a handicap. If they come to realize that there is something more fun then trail riding to some people, the entire universe will implode because nothing will ever be right again.
I personally come from both schools. I know the immense and incrediable joy of working hard towards a goal, and the exhiliration of racing down the trail. I love them both. And in loving both, I've come to know a lot of people who exist solely in one or the other. Hence my opinion of the attitude from what I've observed.
I used to ride with a group of old cowboys since there was nobody else within ten miles to ride with (man they were fun though!) and one of them finally convinced his girlfriend to come along on her Friesian/TB. At that time, we were all old school Western turf pounders who got from one location to the next by the shortest route we could find and the quickest pony we had. I swear she only joined us because she couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, and he only hounded her because he couldn't believe she actually enjoyed riding in circles. I don't think she had a lick of fun. We were decked out full Western, saddle bags packed with neccesary alcoholic beverages for warmth, and reliable sure footed trail ponies finding their own way since half the time, the reins just drapped across the saddle horn as we turned around to tell a hilarious story that neccesitated the use of our hands. She road silently on the edge, two hands on the reins, watching for every flicker of movement hoping to see it before her mount did, and a look of pure misery on her face.
It made me realize that true equine joy comes in every shape, form and size, and I'd believe it if someone told me they could only be happy sitting underneath a Clydesdale and drinking orange juice!
Sorry for the long response, but maybe my story could serve as some explanation to these poor people who just don't get it! :wink:
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