My mare is bossy, fast and mean. She dances around while I get on because she is so excited to go for a ride. Everyone I ride with is afraid of her and don't want their horse close to mine because they think she'll attack their precious "peanut rollers." Where I'm from "peanut rollers" refers to a QH that has been trained in WP. They have been taught to gait extremely slowly with their faces close to the ground to gain the affections of the judges. To each their own, live and let live, ect. To me, it seems that training a horse to do this is UNNATURAL. Lady and I have to constantly stop and turn in circles to let them catch up, it gets very annoying.
If I ever ride her in the arena she gives me maybe ten minutes of good behavior before she gets bored. She will begin to side pass, crow hop and give me strange ambling gaits because she wants to hit the trail, not ride in endless circles. When we get to go to different trails she is a completely different horse. Her head set is more level, she focuses more on my commands and she even gives a *sigh* as if to say, "Yeah, Sally, this is it. This is what we are supposed to do." Walking through muck up to her hocks, leaping over every little branch in the path and splashing in the lake are all things we get to do on a regular basis in the Michigan summers.
4-H showing is as close as I got to the competition circut. My mare at the time was a late twenties pure arab princess. She was very calm and collected, but the judges all wanted to see the QHs with the huge hind quarters and my flashy little arab just didn't do it for them. My parents bothe grew up as trail riders and so did I, so we didn't understand what the appeal was for people to break the bank on glam and glitz to ride in circles and have to prove yourself to a panel of strangers that you have a good chance to never see again. We cleaned up in speed and trail classes, then went home to relax and ride the trails like we always did.
So yes, I am "just a trail rider". I get to experience the pure joy of sharing a sunset from a view just on the backside of the lake that a great majority of the wold will never get to see. That expeience I share with the only other being on this planet I can spend all day with and not be tired of her. She listens to what I have to say, never judging me for what I look, sound or think like. We don't have to impress anyone and we can have a relaxing day with nature, seeing other animals in the woods that ATV'S and other instruments of travel would've scared off. We get to love what we do because we can do it without anyone else there to see.