Trail riding is one of the best ways to introduce "new" people to horses, and I think that's great. The world looks much prettier from the back of a good horse, and a lot of people who otherwise know nothing about horses or riding will still go out on a guided trail ride as part of a vacation. I think that's a good thing. People of all ages can enjoy it when on a safe, dependable horse.
I'm all in favor of helping a new or novice rider, but there are some people who are just plain scary to ride with. Not because of their inexperience, either. Novice riders who want to learn and improve, I'm happy to help them and keep an eye on them during the ride.
The scary ones are the ones who think that just owning a horse makes them a "good rider," they know nothing of trail etiquette, they don't pay attention to what's going on around them, they don't steer or stop or control their horse in any way, and they're basically a danger to themselves and others.
To me, that's not a fun ride. That's a babysitting ride.
At what point do you tell someone you just won't ride with them?
Just asking, because I recently had to distance myself from a long-time riding buddy who insisted on us always being accompanied by a "scary" rider. They're friends, and I understand and respect that, but going on trail rides with them just left me feeling edgy.
The scary rider is also a very nervous rider. If she's getting ready to mount up and someone else swings a leg over their horse and takes a couple of steps forward, and her horse sees that and takes even a side-step, the rider freaks out and tells everyone to "stop upsetting" the horse.
After a half-dozen attempts at trying to ride with them, I've decided it's just not worth it. I was coming back from those rides mentally exhausted from "walking on eggshells" the whole time. I've even seen changes in my friend's horse - the horse has always been kind of sensitive, but now he's like a nervous wreck because everyone is always so tense. Yet they're both trying to make me feel like I'm in the wrong for not wanting to join them anymore.
Sorry. . .but I trail ride because trail riding is fun. It's relaxing. It's quality time for me to spend with my horse, enjoying the scenery and getting away from busy life for a while.
I get out of bed and go to work so that I can afford to continue trail riding.
What they do out on the trail, that's not fun.
So, where do you draw the line when it comes to "babysitting" a novice rider?