I was talking with one of my friends about this yesterday. I've never done shows but I have ridden a lot of trails, and I can't say I've ever been on "just" a trail ride. But I know what you mean, like you have to defend that trail riding is still legitimate horseback riding. People think that if you don't show, you don't really know anything about horses.
I have a co-worker who's girlfriend is an equine vet, and she breeds horses, and she does eventing, and she knows everything. She has all the fancy stuff and the trainer and the expensive tack and blah blah blah. He feels that because her and I ride horses, that I obviously know all about eventing and shows and paying $6,000 to breed a horse...I've told him on NUMEROUS occasions that I ride for fun, galloping around the pasture, and seeing how lost I can get on difficult trails but still make it back in time for dinner. Somehow he doesn't comprehend any of it. When I told him I finally bought the horse of my dreams, he was like, "oh, so are you going to show her!? Are you going to do dressage or jumping?" I replied with, "I don't do shows, I trail ride, and my ultimate goal is to do competitive trails to push my relationship with my horse to the max, and have fun in the outdoors, because how cool would it be to camp with your horse and a bunch of other horsey people!?" Later he was like, "so have you found a trainer yet, because my girlfriend knows some really good trainers if you need one...what are you doing with your horse again?"
I almost strangled him. No, I don't spend $6,000 to breed my horse. No, I don't have a "trainer." No, I don't jump. No, I don't do dressage. No, I dont own thousand+ dollar saddles.
I trail ride. Yes, I have taken lessons and be taught how to ride a horse. Yes, my love for horses is real. Yes, I have skills, even if I can't do the fancy stuff. Yes, my skills are legitimate. Yes, I have fallen. Yes, I have made mistakes. And most importantly, yes, I learn something new every time I see/work with/ride my horse.