NOT trail riding? EVER?! - Page 10
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > Trail Riding

NOT trail riding? EVER?!

This is a discussion on NOT trail riding? EVER?! within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

    Like Tree284Likes

     
    LinkBack Thread Tools
        05-26-2013, 07:16 PM
      #91
    Yearling
    Some barns don't have the space for trail riding, which is a shame. If I had to pick I would rather have trails than an arena.
         
    Sponsored Links
    Advertisement
     
        05-26-2013, 11:51 PM
      #92
    Weanling
    [QUOTE=trailhorserider;2617433]I don't see why arena riders wouldn't want to broaden their horizons though. I guess in a way I am one of those "strictly trail" riders you are talking about, because I have never had more than a couple formal lessons but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to. I would love to learn more about English riding for instance (I am a western trail rider). I would love to learn more finesse in the western disciplines. I am fascinated by all areas of horses really. I dabbled in showing once or twice and it was a disaster, but it was still fun.

    QUOTE]

    I think some "arena" riders' only experience with trail riding was with a ho-hum nose-to-tail guided trail ride on a pushbutton old plug, while on vacation somewhere. So they think that's what "trail riding" is.

    And they don't think they can learn anything from it. . .because it's "just plodding along" with no purpose.

    Maybe their minds would be swayed a bit if they had the opportunity to really get out on their own, explore trails and ride into recess caves, behind waterfalls or out to the edge of an overlook or into a lake, or swim their horse across a stream, or anywhere else their horse will carry them. No rules, no judges, no time limits or faults or competition. Just freedom and fresh air and miles of space to explore.

    Several years ago, when there were a number of serious riding accidents at high-level three day events, I remember reading a great interview with David O'Connor where he said that so many of today's up-and-coming competitive riders had little to no experience on trails, and that it was something that they absolutely could not learn in the controlled environment of an arena or even a cross-country course.

    They may have a lot of "formal" training, but there really are some skills (in rider AND horse) that can only be learned on the trail. You can ride arenas your whole life and still not know how to sit correctly in the saddle when descending a steep hillside, or stay on a horse while swimming across a flooded creek. . .unless you've actually been in that situation by going out on trail.

    Personally, I think that a lot of lesson barns really coddle their riders too much by trying to make things too safe. They may not do it intentionally, but I have known some riding programs that are so uptight about "rules" and "safety" that they create students who are really afraid to do ANYTHING outside of an arena. I say this because I came dangerously close to turning into that kind of rider.

    They turn out a lot of "pretty" riders with nice form, but no idea how to balance themselves or their horse when riding on uneven ground.

    Same with horses. True, some just aren't mentally cut out for trail riding, just as many great trail horses just don't enjoy a lot of arena work.

    But others are so coddled and worried over that they become mentally unstable messes that spook at their own shadows and trip over anything that isn't a freshly-painted perfectly-straight ground rail.
    FlyGap and 6gun Kid like this.
         
        05-27-2013, 12:15 AM
      #93
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boots    
    The only trail rides I've gone on are 1) when traveling, need a horse fix, it's a good way to get a feel for what it's like to own a horse in an area unfamiliar to me and to support part of the horse industry where many get their start, or 2) when people come to visit and think they have to ride to make their vacation in the West complete.

    I've never gone for a trail ride on any horse I've owned or worked. I have to have some point to being out there. And even if I'm schooling a horse, I'm also checking water, grass, fences, cattle or sheep and doing something with any of those.

    Neither competing nor pleasure riding interests me. There are many kinds of horse people and they're all just fine.
    Boots your riding life is my dream life! The traditional relationship between equines and humans has been a working relationship. There is a job to be done, for example sorting or moving cattle.
    I think that what we all are passionate about has one thing in common, regardless of discipline: the working relationship with the horse. The job that needs to be done could be faster time on a barrel pattern, a smoother jog, sweeping the gate in sorting, or crossing that shallow but murky river with a fast moving current. Sorry don't know anything about English riding but I hope that you understand what I am saying.
    Interestingly enough, there were two riders out with us today whose family has shown their breed for years, won championships, etc. This was a first trail ride for them. I thought that was amazing in itself. There were inclines, creeks, and all those other terrain challenges that are pretty routine for us trail riders.
    Their horses did great but they didn't finish with us but turned back after about 30 minutes. They thought it was too strenuous for the horses. Wow. Their mounts were jiggy at first but then settled down. At one point one of them said that arena riding will be boring after this, and I couldn't resist replying that yes, we think that arena riding is boring.
    But that is only because I have not pursued reining or some other discipline that I know is just as thrilling as waking up on a cold morning to the sound of birdsong, looking over to see your horse, starting a fire for the coffee and breakfast, and getting ready for another wonderful day that is primarily about me and my horse. Period. Ok so you see what side of the camp I am on here, however I do understand that trail riding is not for everyone.
    CatrinaB87 likes this.
         
        05-27-2013, 12:28 AM
      #94
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jolly Badger    
    I think some "arena" riders' only experience with trail riding was with a ho-hum nose-to-tail guided trail ride on a pushbutton old plug, while on vacation somewhere. So they think that's what "trail riding" is.

    And they don't think they can learn anything from it. . .because it's "just plodding along" with no purpose.
    I suspect we could do the mirror image of that for trail riders. Something like "Those arena riders just spend endless hours riding around in circles in a flat, fenced-in arena, all so that one day they can dress up in silly-looking costumes and compete for ribbons. And we don't think we could learn anything useful from it, because it's just plodding along with no purpose."

    Seriously, what could you learn in arena riding that would really apply to trail riding? Besides just being able to have someone watch you and critique/correct what you're doing.
         
        05-27-2013, 07:19 AM
      #95
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jolly Badger    
    Several years ago, when there were a number of serious riding accidents at high-level three day events, I remember reading a great interview with David O'Connor where he said that so many of today's up-and-coming competitive riders had little to no experience on trails, and that it was something that they absolutely could not learn in the controlled environment of an arena or even a cross-country course.
    Interesting.

    My polo boss (who also ranches), is offering to take some newer players out over large pastures just for this reason. They've only ridden on groomed fields and, while decent riders and very good for as long as they've been at it, he thinks they'd benefit from the varied terrain.

    I agree on that point.

    One thing I learn when taking dude rides around the country on work trips is how horsemen are fighting to keep places to ride. Trails. Those of us who enjoy horses, whether for pleasure or work, really are a small group and many don't support what we do. I try to support groups like Backcountry Horsemen, etc. at least financially.
         
        05-27-2013, 04:24 PM
      #96
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jamesqf    
    Seriously, what could you learn in arena riding that would really apply to trail riding? Besides just being able to have someone watch you and critique/correct what you're doing.
    I'm afraid I am not sure if you're really asking or being sarcastic, but I will answer as if it was the former. :) My horse learned to leg yield, stop, trot in a balanced way, pick up his feet over poles, canter transition without lunging into it, back up properly and stand still in an arena. He probably could have learned that on the trail too, but we have access to both arena and trail and the arena was a nice, safe place to practice that. Now we use those skills on the trail. I'm still working on others, like picking up the right lead rather than always being on the left, in the arena. I get bored in the arena if we spend more than a few days working on the 'finer' skills, but I get bored with the same loop of trail too.
         
        05-27-2013, 05:06 PM
      #97
    Weanling
    I would love to do more trail riding but I just can't seem to fit it in. I do love having an arena though and set up obstacles or work on ground work in addition to riding. We have a giant ball that some of my horses just love and it's great fun playing with your horse in an arena. It's not just going in a circle.
    CatrinaB87 likes this.
         
        05-27-2013, 09:19 PM
      #98
    Foal
    My horse finally crossed a creek with no fuss yesterday. First time, and pretty stoked!
         
        05-28-2013, 02:17 AM
      #99
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sharpie    
    I'm afraid I am not sure if you're really asking or being sarcastic...
    Really asking.

    Quote:
    My horse learned to...
    But that's the horse Assume that I have acquired a well-trained horse to ride on trails, but that's not the horse I would be riding in an arena: what can I, the human, learn from normal arena-riding teaching that would apply to trails? Of course I mean the level of instruction that's aimed at getting the student to compete in shows. Obviously you could teach basic riding in an arena (if you have one), probably better than on the trail.

    From what I've seen (and I watch a neighbor who is apparently serious about Olympic-level competition), there doesn't seem to be a lot of crossover, but maybe I just don't know what to look for.
    nikelodeon79 likes this.
         
        05-28-2013, 10:58 AM
      #100
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jamesqf    
    ...what can I, the human, learn from normal arena-riding teaching that would apply to trails? Of course I mean the level of instruction that's aimed at getting the student to compete in shows. Obviously you could teach basic riding in an arena (if you have one), probably better than on the trail...
    You have largely answered your own question. I started riding at 50, and had a back injury within months - a back injury that is only now clearing up after 4.5 years. 40 years of daily jogging left me tight in all the places that need to be loose for good riding. I had ZERO experience in reading a horse or anticipating their reactions.

    There are tons of things I can learn safely (at least more so) in an arena that apply to trails:

    Feeling fully relaxed and comfortable with a cantering/galloping horse.

    Staying on a horse that is jumping, particularly when no one but the horse sees what it is she is jumping...

    Learning to read when she is about to bolt, and how to stop her before we're flying down a trail she isn't balanced enough to handle.

    Becoming comfortable staying on a horse who is spinning around or jumping sideways.

    I wasn't born on a horse. I wasn't born graceful. Trail rides here mean going between cactus. Ever known anyone who went thru a cholla cactus? I have. Not me, happily, but a friend. And that was on a bicycle, which had no means to drag him for another 2 miles...

    My horse is no more graceful than I am, Maybe even less. Unlike her, I've never fallen on my own while running. I'm convinced she had never been out of a corral. I've seen her lose her footing while cantering without a rider in an arena. If she did that in a wash around here, the rocks under the sand could break my back. It is a fun place to ride, but not on a horse who is a klutz.



    BTW - in a couple hundred yards, that wash gets very narrow and rocky. If she bolted mindlessly at that point, my choices would be to stop her within a couple hundred yards or have both of us get hurt. That has required training for her, and training for me. There is a place to turn out of the wash, but she would never hack that turn at speed.

    I doubt upper level training in WP, dressage, reining etc has direct application to trail riding. Trail riding has its own challenges. Those are sports people do in an arena because they find them fun. Some horses love it too. To the extent those sports teach balance for both horse and rider, and confidence and how your balance helps or hinders your horse and confidence you can stick to your horse no matter what, they help. But it is also OK for people to enjoy those activities for their own sake.
    Dustbunny likes this.
         

    Thread Tools

    Similar Threads
    Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
    Barrel Saddle...... Are they good for general riding, trail/pleasure riding ? nyg052003 Horse Tack and Equipment 7 10-24-2012 08:24 PM



    All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:03 PM.


    Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
    Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0