I was reminded yesterday that not everyone has what it takes to be a trail rider. I went on a short hack with a friend whom I've known for many years...lately she has been focused on getting into the hunter/jumper world and has been spending most of her days riding with someone else. When she came over yesterday we explored some old overgrown trails across the street...the whole time she was tense and uneasy, keeping a tight rein on my mare and keeping her to a short collected walk. We had to turn back several times...once because the trail crossed a small creek - too narrow and deep to walk over/across - my mustang and I were all set to jump it but I could tell my friend was NOT up for it. We also crossed a few old bridges...as we approached I could hear my friend saying "whoa girl, easy, it's ok" etc...my mare barely looked at it and marched right across lol! Another time the trail appeared to end, but I could tell it was just overgrown and came out to a clearing ahead. So my mustang and I plunged forward...we accidentally got caught and hung up on some vines...one around his hind leg, another wrapped around my stirrup and another (for a second) caught me across the throat. My mustang calmly stopped, we carefully detangled ourselves, cut the vines and continued. But meanwhile, my friend behind me was freaking out. She insisted on dismounting and hand walking my mare the rest of the way until we reached an open area (field) again. On the way we came across an old abandoned house and barn...my mustang and I stopped and explored the ruins...meanwhile my friend stood there, looking miserable...holding my poor mare who looked royally pissed (but, I might add, was still behaving). I'm afraid I'm not a very good friend because I could barely keep from laughing at her dejected expression...I decided to call it quits then and head back to end her suffering...but I have the strangest feeling she won't be back for a while, lol.
That's not to say that all riders who compete in other disciplines aren't good trail riders - my sister is an Eventer and she is every bit as bold and adventurous as myself (we try to get together and go trail riding about once a week). That being said, I have heard so many people knocking trail riders, but I daresay if they came out with me just once they would be hard put to keep up!
So what do you think? What does it take to be a trail rider? :)