Originally Posted by rosie9r
I agree with you Taz...I often let my horse trot up hill UNLESS he starts out trotting on his own without my cue. If he starts at a walk, I cue him to trot but not otherwise. And I hate trotting down hill :P
I actually think trotting up hills is very good - helps build muscle in the horse. A trot is also a very controlled gait, so it still instills "restraint" in the horse - he is listening to you and not just running wild.
When I first started riding, everyone I ever went on trail with ran up hills. Then went as fast as there horse could go (although they were not really on fast horses). I mistakenly fell into this habit because I thought is was the thing to do (and it was fun). It took me a while to realize what a mistake it was and that I was teaching my horse a VERY bad habit.
It drives me crazy when you come to a hill and a horse starts dancing and snorting. The slightest brush of the leg gets interpreted as the starting bell at the track. When the horse gets used to the trail and know where the "running spots" are, they get antsy a while before you even get there!
My horse, like me, loves to run. But I try to teach him that running is a reward for listening and staying calm and under control. Hills, with some exceptions because I like to keep things varied, are generally for trotting and building those back end muscles. :)