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NOT trail riding? EVER?!

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  • My horse sweats and not the others while standing in corrals

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    05-19-2013, 07:41 AM
  #31
Showing
The tone of moral superiority I'm hearing in many of these posts is disheartening. Pretty obvious some of you believe that people who don't hack out are reprehensible and cruel to their horses.

What some of you don't seem to realize is there are horses and riders who get no pleasure from riding outside an arena. For them, trail riding has no appeal whatsoever. Yes, horses who HATE trail riding do exist. I've met quite a few over the years.

As far as trail riders caring about their animals more than those riding for ribbons, that's total and utter hogwash. Abuse and cruelty aren't confined to the show ring, and I've seen plenty of horrific things in AND out of the ring.

Bottom line, trail riders are no more caring and compassionate than their show brethren. There are bad and good people everywhere, and your discipline of choice has little to do with how you treat your riding partner. A cruel, abusive asshat will be the same whether riding in an arena or out.
     
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    05-19-2013, 10:04 AM
  #32
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf    
I think you're all missing an important point, which is that there are no blue ribbons out on the trails. No competitions, no ego gratification, no (or not much) "I can afford a $100K horse, you peons", etc.

Though I do worry about my "free to good home" (and don't even ask about the vet bills) horse getting hurt, but that's because I like the critter, not because she's a valuable possession.

Actually not true. The American Competitive Trail Horse Association is out there, and gaining members! You should check them out.
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    05-19-2013, 10:09 AM
  #33
Showing
Well said SR. I completely agree. To each their own. I love to trail ride and any of my "arena horses" can & do it well but I rarely get the time to. I spend my days in an arena teaching others and their horses so that they can go trail ride or show or whatever they choose to do with their horses. Heck, there's a lot of days I don't even get to ride my own because I'm so busy with others. If that makes me a horrible horse person, I'll wear the label gladly.
     
    05-19-2013, 10:24 AM
  #34
Weanling
I have to agree 100% with Speed Racer. Trail Riding is no better/worse than any other equine activity.

I think horses are a lot like people. Each has his/her likes and dislikes. Sure, you might learn to be ok with something through repeated exposure, but sometimes even exposure won't make you love an activity.

For example, I hate camping. I love eing outdoors and experiencing nature. I've been camping probably a dozen times in my life...with both good and bad experiences. But, I still hate it and would prefer to sleep indoors in a comfy bed with a real bathroom attached. Repeated exposure will not make me love it. Will I camp if I have to? Yes, and I will make the best of it, but I will never love it.

I think some horses are the same way. Cinnamon, the jumping pony I mentioned in my first post on this thread, loved jumping. She was the best behaving pony in the arena and you could see the excitement when she was getting ready to jump. Jumping was her passion. Throw a saddle on her and aim her at the trails and that pony wasn't scared, she was MAD. She would pin her ears and try to refuse to go forward. She made her displeasure known and would have a bad attitude the whole ride. She was a complete brat outside the arena. Put her back in the arena with jumps and her eyes would light back up, her ears would prick forward, and the attitude would disappear.

Not all horses love to trail ride. Each horse is an individual with his/her own passions and interests. We, as riders, need to understand that and find the horse whose passions matches our own.
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    05-19-2013, 10:25 AM
  #35
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
The tone of moral superiority I'm hearing in many of these posts is disheartening. Pretty obvious some of you believe that people who don't hack out are reprehensible and cruel to their horses.

What some of you don't seem to realize is there are horses and riders who get no pleasure from riding outside an arena. For them, trail riding has no appeal whatsoever. Yes, horses who HATE trail riding do exist. I've met quite a few over the years.

As far as trail riders caring about their animals more than those riding for ribbons, that's total and utter hogwash. Abuse and cruelty aren't confined to the show ring, and I've seen plenty of horrific things in AND out of the ring.

Bottom line, trail riders are no more caring and compassionate than their show brethren. There are bad and good people everywhere, and your discipline of choice has little to do with how you treat your riding partner. A cruel, abusive asshat will be the same whether riding in an arena or out.
I don't know that anyone was getting a tone of superiority, just expressing their opinions! For me (who is only a year into owning a horse in the grown up world) It's all new and exciting. "You mean I can go on the trails if I want, or work in the arena if I want, or or or TRAILER OUT?!"

I for one appreciate hearing differing opinions on a subject like this, which is why I posed the question originally. Growing up reading my magazines and dreaming of far away horses, I had the idea that people who showed were rich people with fancy trainers and expensive horses that lived in the city. Now obviously I see that isn't the case, mostly.

I did after all post this in the trail riding section of the forum, not the dressage or jumping section, so of course the trail riders are going to take some ownership and pride in the post, and yeah maybe they are going to get a little cocky because truth be told it seems as if the better trained horses do better on the trails. Who wouldn't be proud of the fact that they can ride in the woods and have deer bounding after them or dogs chasing them and their horse STILL has the confidence in their rider to remain calm and focused? Just as I would imagine a dressage rider would be proud of their horse for getting lead changes right when a child in the stands just opened a bag of Frito and that happens to be the preferred treat of said horse.

I am terrible in an arena, and I give all you showy types A LOT of credit. I couldn't tell you what lead I was on, or how to do a leg, and I'm still not sure I know what in the world a half halt is. But you get me out on the trail and I actually look like I at least have an idea of what I'm doing. I did not have the option of growing up getting lessons in an arena. I happened to chance upon a woman who had horses who invited me to ride, and the trails were my riding lessons. Now, I'm trying to work on things with my horse IN the arena, to benefit us OUT of the arena. And let me tell you, it has been comical to watch.

I never intended for anyone to become offended by this post, as I was merely flabergasted by the fact that people DO NOT trail ride with their horses. I'm sure some people in the dressage sections would be equally as shocked to learn that there are some people who don't work in the arena.

I would love to learn how to get my horse into a nice collected canter where flying lead changes just happen, just like I would love for him to realize that I was joking when I said there were alligators in the ponds around here, but he's holding me to that one.

"Now I know that it's winter and all, but those alligators might still be h.ungry, and you know just as well as I do that when I crossed going out they didn't eat me which means they will be EXTRA hungry coming back. So i'm going to stand here doing a jig for 45 minutes at this creek."
IMG_0097.jpg
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    05-19-2013, 10:51 AM
  #36
Showing
Any horse who has had the proper training can do the discipline. What you can't make them do is LIKE it.

What is 'better training'? Are you speaking of exposure to different sights and sounds? Of course a horse who is USED to trail riding will be less reactive than one who isn't. A horse who is used to showing is unlikely to lose its mind at the stimula of a show event, while a superb trail horse may be a sweaty, nervous wreck. Has nothing to do with 'better training', only what the horse has experienced.

I've ridden as a show rider as well as a trail rider, plus have over 3 decades of experience with owning and riding horses. I admire your enthusiasm, but you honestly don't have enough time in horses yet to make a judgment call on what other people should or shouldn't do, or base your opinions of them on the disciplines they choose to ride.

Very few horse owners are rich. Most of those folks so many think are snooty and have everything handed to them, have worked extremely hard and spent a lot of their paychecks to get themselves and their horses to a certain level of accomplishment. Instead of dismissing their efforts, maybe try and understand their passion.

I have a decent truck and trailer, and have a 5 acre farmette where I live with my 3 horses. I've busted my butt, paid my dues, and scrimped and saved for years for all of those things. Anyone looking in from the outside probably thinks I have a pretty cushy lifestyle, but I EARNED it. Just like most of the people who have the same things.
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    05-19-2013, 11:05 AM
  #37
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
Any horse who has had the proper training can do the discipline. What you can't make them do is LIKE it.

What is 'better training'? Are you speaking of exposure to different sights and sounds? Of course a horse who is USED to trail riding will be less reactive than one who isn't. A horse who is used to showing is unlikely to lose its mind at the stimula of a show event, while a superb trail horse may be a sweaty, nervous wreck. Has nothing to do with 'better training', only what the horse has experienced.

I've ridden as a show rider as well as a trail rider, plus have over 3 decades of experience with owning and riding horses. I admire your enthusiasm, but you honestly don't have enough time in horses yet to make a judgment call on what other people should or shouldn't do, or base your opinions of them on the disciplines they choose to ride.

Very few horse owners are rich. Most of those folks so many think are snooty and have everything handed to them, have worked extremely hard and spent a lot of their paychecks to get themselves and their horses to a certain level of accomplishment. Instead of dismissing their efforts, maybe try and understand their passion.

I have a decent truck and trailer, and have a 5 acre farmette where I live with my 3 horses. I've busted my butt, paid my dues, and scrimped and saved for years for all of those things. Anyone looking in from the outside probably thinks I have a pretty cushy lifestyle, but I EARNED it. Just like most of the people who have the same things.

I'm not sure if you were refering to me, but I never ONCE dismissed anyones efforts. And trust me when I tell you that I understand what hard work it takes to aquire and maintain a horse. Also, I never said anyone had anything handed to them, just telling you of what I thought while growing up (poor, I might ad, if that helps?) I am also not making a judgement. Just trying to understand. Some people don't want to take their show horses out because they don't want them to get hurt and I understand that. Some people don't want to go out because they don't like spider webs. I get that too. I was never intending to attack anyone, and honestly don't appreciate your condecnding tone when it comes to my inexperience. I never once said "you need to do this because in my one year I know better." Absolutley not. If you go back to my OP, you will see that all I was saying is that I didn't understand it. Not that it's wrong. I have found that most people in the community are very willing to help and answer questions, and not be nasty about it. So if I offended you and your obvious hard work, I apologize. It was not my intention. I work euqually hard to maintain my ONE horse, whom unfortunately I do not get to see anywhere near as often as I'd like because I am so busy busting my butt to make sure he is fed and well cared for. So If you would like to start a personal attack, which is really what your last post felt like, perhaps that is best done in a private message. I am sorry if I got you upset and offended you, you must have missed my tone entirely.
     
    05-19-2013, 11:21 AM
  #38
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatrinaB87    
...I did after all post this in the trail riding section of the forum, not the dressage or jumping section, so of course the trail riders are going to take some ownership and pride in the post, and yeah maybe they are going to get a little cocky because truth be told it seems as if the better trained horses do better on the trails. Who wouldn't be proud of the fact that they can ride in the woods and have deer bounding after them or dogs chasing them and their horse STILL has the confidence in their rider to remain calm and focused?...
A lot depends on the horse. I think Mia needs to become a decent trail horse because she will never truly give up her fears by riding in an arena. She is the horse who spent the first 4 months here breaking into a heavy sweat just standing in a corral! As in 'covered with lather' sweat just from the stress of hanging out in a corral. It took her a month to accept Lilly, who had been her corral mate under a different owner for 2 years!

I've worked hard to turn her into a good, safe trail horse, but we are not there yet. It needs a lot of time on the trail, and I haven't had much spare time since going back to school (at 55!).

Cowboy, OTOH, is a BLM mustang pony. He has had at least 6 owners in his roughly 15 years. He associates arenas with being a 13 hand horse surrounded by strange 15+ hand horses. He associates it with being ridden by students who were too often ham-fisted and inclined to punish him for their riding errors. Put him in an arena by himself, and he is a scared horse. You can expect bolting and bucking.

But let him follow Mia out into the desert, and he is calm, relaxed and level-headed. My wife rides about 3-4 times each year, and she can ride him anytime, anywhere out in the desert with Mia. And if Mia starts snorting & blowing & dancing, he'll slide by, take the lead, and show her there is nothing scary.

Which horse is "better trained"?

Cowboy has a lot more experience. He's been used for games, barrel racing, used for kids on a ranch, a lesson horse...but a lot of his 'training' seems to have taught him that people are jerks. If we truly get his trust, he'll be an awesome horse.

Mia had probably never been out in the desert before. When I first walked her there on a lead line, she would stumble over small rocks because she didn't know a horse sometimes needs to lift her feet! She came with more than her fair share of inner demons needing exorcism. But she is a fundamentally sweet and giving horse. She will always be a horse who is intensely aware of her rider.

They are just different horses.

And Mia needs both arena and trail. The trail teaches her to listen to her rider instead of her demons. But the arena teaches her to stop when her rider says stop, and that a canter is not a gallop and that both canters and gallops can be done without getting dangerously on the forehand.

What I dislike is when someone assumes their riding passion or style is superior to all others. I enjoy watching a dressage video, but I'd as soon be emasculated as take dressage lessons. I'd love to try barrel racing, but Mia is a total klutz with her feet and afraid of strange horses. We may never set foot in a barrel race. I feel happy riding in a forward seat, which is associated with jumping, which I have no desire to do.

OK, Mia & I are both kind of weird. But if we are happy & enjoy our rides together, does it matter if I sometimes combine an English jump saddle with a curb bit and we do some riding for our own pleasure? If I work to be light on her back, balanced with her, easy on her mouth, and she tries to do what I want, then why should anyone say bad things about us? Why is she a bad horse for struggling with her fears on a trail? Why am I a bad rider for being cautious about when and where I take her out?

Why can't riders support each other in their individual goals?

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    05-19-2013, 11:28 AM
  #39
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
A lot depends on the horse. I think Mia needs to become a decent trail horse because she will never truly give up her fears by riding in an arena. She is the horse who spent the first 4 months here breaking into a heavy sweat just standing in a corral! As in 'covered with lather' sweat just from the stress of hanging out in a corral. It took her a month to accept Lilly, who had been her corral mate under a different owner for 2 years!

I've worked hard to turn her into a good, safe trail horse, but we are not there yet. It needs a lot of time on the trail, and I haven't had much spare time since going back to school (at 55!).

Cowboy, OTOH, is a BLM mustang pony. He has had at least 6 owners in his roughly 15 years. He associates arenas with being a 13 hand horse surrounded by strange 15+ hand horses. He associates it with being ridden by students who were too often ham-fisted and inclined to punish him for their riding errors. Put him in an arena by himself, and he is a scared horse. You can expect bolting and bucking.

But let him follow Mia out into the desert, and he is calm, relaxed and level-headed. My wife rides about 3-4 times each year, and she can ride him anytime, anywhere out in the desert with Mia. And if Mia starts snorting & blowing & dancing, he'll slide by, take the lead, and show her there is nothing scary.

Which horse is "better trained"?

Cowboy has a lot more experience. He's been used for games, barrel racing, used for kids on a ranch, a lesson horse...but a lot of his 'training' seems to have taught him that people are jerks. If we truly get his trust, he'll be an awesome horse.

Mia had probably never been out in the desert before. When I first walked her there on a lead line, she would stumble over small rocks because she didn't know a horse sometimes needs to lift her feet! She came with more than her fair share of inner demons needing exorcism. But she is a fundamentally sweet and giving horse. She will always be a horse who is intensely aware of her rider.

They are just different horses.

And Mia needs both arena and trail. The trail teaches her to listen to her rider instead of her demons. But the arena teaches her to stop when her rider says stop, and that a canter is not a gallop and that both canters and gallops can be done without getting dangerously on the forehand.

What I dislike is when someone assumes their riding passion or style is superior to all others. I enjoy watching a dressage video, but I'd as soon be emasculated as take dressage lessons. I'd love to try barrel racing, but Mia is a total klutz with her feet and afraid of strange horses. We may never set foot in a barrel race. I feel happy riding in a forward seat, which is associated with jumping, which I have no desire to do.

OK, Mia & I are both kind of weird. But if we are happy & enjoy our rides together, does it matter if I sometimes combine an English jump saddle with a curb bit and we do some riding for our own pleasure? If I work to be light on her back, balanced with her, easy on her mouth, and she tries to do what I want, then why should anyone say bad things about us? Why is she a bad horse for struggling with her fears on a trail? Why am I a bad rider for being cautious about when and where I take her out?

Why can't riders support each other in their individual goals?


Well put, and really the over point I was trying to make. I love to hear from different people and hear their opinions, because quite frankly I don't have a whole lot of time to go out and socialize with the adults, and having a real discussion with a four year old about anything will make you feel like you are the one who doesn't know anything. I am still allowed to feel bad for the horses and riders who aren't comfortable/confident on a trail, because that used to be me. Turn the tables, and I'm a mess in the ring and my horse is a total putz. I hope that you and Mia get to enjoy the trails together more often in your english/curb get up, mine is very similar thanks to my downhill build horse. And you have also given me some good advice on other posts. Thank you for yet another insightful addition :)
     
    05-19-2013, 12:29 PM
  #40
Started
Like said in the other posts....there are so many dynamics involved with this question.

Some horses are destined to be arena horses because of their worth or the discipline they are being used for.

Some horses don't have what it takes mentally to be a trail horse.

Some people don't have what it takes mentally to take a horse on a trail.

Some people don't have the facilities to go trail riding.

I will say though....often horses, like mine, are frowned on like they are not worth much because they are 'only trail horses'. I think they are, in fact, worth millions because they ARE trail horses. It takes a confident horse/rider combo to complete this task. I think I have very respectful relationship with my horses (nothing special, just what it is). My horses are not fancy show horses, but they don't spook and are willing to try anything I put in front of them. I think they enjoy the challenges and newness to things on the trail as much as I do. It creates even more respect as we go.
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