So my guy is a rescue and has been on rest and hand walks for several months coupled with vet/farrier assistance to help him with a "mysterious lameness" that has plagued him for a year in his old home.
I don't know if he has EVER been on a trail ride and if so it hasn't happened in over a year. He was born in Texas and the broker (or whatever) was foreclosed on and the horses were moved to California to be sold. He was bought by a non-experienced person who got bored pretty quickly and let him sit in a stall and become lame - never took him on the trails or even above a walk in the arena before she lost interest.
We went on a short loop trail ride with some people the other day and he did really well. This morning we met up with a friend from the barn and went on a longer, more interesting trail ride and I am just SO PROUD OF HIM!
We did our very first water crossing which was pretty scary for him for a few minutes but once he got across he was on top of the world! The next crossing was easier and easier and by the last one it was old hat.
We walked through trees and tighter areas and big open spaces and a few little hills and he was just wonderful. We even ran into a park ranger in their truck and some kids playing and although he got a little excited at times he was amazing!! I think there must be some good training buried in his past but I'm just so endlessly proud of my guy and impressed and thrilled and beside myself!
Several people at the barn and even my vet told me in fairly strong words not to take on this "high risk" situation but boy oh boy oh boy has it paid off 100x for both of us!