Show horse on the trail??? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 08:28 AM
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Show horses can absolutely be great on the trails!

Charlotte Dujardin, Olympic dressage gold medalist, has a training schedule where, if I recall correctly, the horses are ridden extensively out on trails, at least twice a week. It's physically and mentally healthy for the horses -- and the riders!
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post #12 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JuliaWhitehead View Post
Do you think it would be a good idea to, on some, but not all trail rides, incorporate some arena work into a ride after we went out on the trail? Of course, Let him cool down first and I would make sure to not work him too hard, but after we get home, could I take him into the arena and run him through some maneuvers, practice a few things, and make sure he is listening to my aids, and then get off him when he does something right? I'm just worried this might make him arena sour because this means work (and he is really lazy). Also, a couple of days before a show, would you recommend only arena work to get him back focused on his job?

Nothing wrong with doing that! Having a little work at the end of a trail ride, before putting them away, is a good thing because it prevents them wanting to hurry straight home at the end of the trail portion. If he's lazy it's probably a GOOD thing to do it, in fact!

As far as whether or not to still do trails before a show, I don't think there's any harm in it here or there. If anything it's probably a good idea, as drilling the arena work too much in the lead up to a show can be overdone and stress them out physically and mentally.
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post #13 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 08:33 AM
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Why not practice your arena work on the trails? Trails can help a lot with laterals and such. Automatic forward installed.

It's more typical to do only trails before a show. Give them a break and chance to relax before competing.
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post #14 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 08:36 AM
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Ah, here we go:

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post #15 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 08:53 AM
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You could do some 'work' in the arena after a ride. Or before it, make sure he's 'switched on' before you go out. Or during your ride, for short stints here & there. His attitude to 'work' is not going to 'sour' because you do fun & relaxing stuff with him(assuming trails are fun & relaxing for him) - if anything, doing fun things is more likely to rub off elsewhere, in a better attitude towards you generally.

But specifically, horses learn/gain attitude about stuff from instant consequences, feedback. So he's not really going to behave/have a different attitude in the arena because you trail ride him, or vice versa. So no, you wouldn't need to avoid trail riding for x days before a show to get him to focus. If he is 'sour' & 'lazy' & 'not focused' that means there's something wrong in THAT environment at that time. For eg. maybe the arena stuff is Work & no fun for him, not rewarding, reinforcing. I personally think it's so important to strive to have your horse enjoy whatever 'Work' you want of him, so that he may have as much fun doing it as you do.
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post #16 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 11:55 AM
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See, what did I say? That someone would mention Charlotte Dujardin and her hacking with "her" horses. But, listen to what she is saying:

“Our routine with our horses is that we train our horses in the school 4 days a week, so we work our horses on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday they go hacking ‘round the roads and around the field. That means every horse, from Carl [Hester] sticking you on a 3- or 4-year-old, sending you out hacking, loose in a field whilst you’re trying to hang on. And, of course, he always goes on the safe ones, and then goes for a good jolly canter up the field while you’re trying to survive.

[…] Having that variety, I think, definitely helps when you go to shows because they’re not used to just one surrounding. They get to see other things, and experience other things. Even our young horses. It is quite risky, but it is important that they get to see the world as well.”

Please understand that I think it is very important for horses to do different kinds of work, including trail riding. However, please also understand that a hack in the English countryside is not equivalent to what many Americans consider a "trail ride", through mountains, forests, and rocky areas. A horse getting away from you and bolting though a field is not the same as bolting though the woods.

I fully agree with mmshiro's comment:
This is one of the points where I am in full agreement with Clinton Anderson: Trail riding is a discipline like any other, so horses need to be taught it like any other. So if you are hesitant, I'd say, "Don't take her on the trail," but instead "Do teach her to go on the trail!"
Exactly. Horses ned to be taught the trail.

My concern is for the wellbeing of the rider, first and foremost. Five years ago, I bought a show-jumper, who had never been out of metropolitan barns. To get him used to his new environment, our plan was to ride him in the outdoor arena for several weeks, letting him learn the new sights and smells. Everything was new: birds that flew and sang, trees that swayed in the wind, sheep, etc. He was ridden every day, by myself and my trainer and seemed to be adapting. However, on day 21, something moved (a lizard? a rabbit?) while we were in the arena, warming up at a walk AFTER a good canter lunge. His spook was so big, so massive, that the whiplash knocked me unconscious. When I was found, between the wall where we were working and where I was lying 15 feet away, there was NOT A SINGLE hoofprint, and my back had 5 broken vertebrae.

So, I don't know what people are referring to when they are talking about showhorses, but I am talking about my 18hh show-jumper who jumped more than 15 feet sideways from a walk. That is the type of showhorse I am talking about.

And, as for Charlotte Dujardin, well, I would be riding the safer horses like Carl Hester.
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post #17 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 12:23 PM
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I agree with whoever said some horses are not good outside, and that is to be taken into consideration if he ends up being something you are not capable of riding outside, but I definitely think you should try if you want to.

All our horses are ridden outside. Every single one goes to work on the ranch. They are started with a lot of outside time, and some have been very successful show horses.

If they didn’t work for outside work they wouldn’t have stayed around, no matter their talents, because they were shown for a hobby and ridden for work of necessity.

That said, another poster talked about giving them variety. That is something that has always been taken as important for us. Arena work becomes souring to many, and so outside work or even just loping through the brush during the time frame cows are out is maintained. You can always work on arena work outside too.

I know there are many people who only ride in arenas, and I don’t mean to take away from them, but that is how we do it. If you want to go on trails I think you should. It could be a fun change for both of you.
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post #18 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 12:36 PM
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Mine show and do endurance.....I almost always use the trail as a reward when I am doing arena work!

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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post #19 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 01:13 PM
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FWIW, where I ride, they do arena work first, then trail ride afterwards. They feel like most horses like trails better, so it's sort of like a "dessert" for them after the main course of working in the arena. Their trail rides are mostly walking and a little trotting, so it also serves as a cool-down.
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post #20 of 28 Old 05-28-2019, 01:26 PM
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the horse I lease hasn't been ridden in an indoor arena for some time. He is more worried inside an arena, then out on a trail. But, that is neither here nor there . . .

What I wanted to say, in regard to the OP's question about whether to go into the arena after a trail ride, or not is that what is MOST important is to end your ride after you have achieved some good work/success.
So, if the horse was really good on the the trail, don't then take him into the arena and push and push him to do 'work' their. By so doing, you almost 'erase' the good experience you had on the trail.

The last thing you do with your horse is what he takes away with him after you get off. There are times when you are working with a horse and have such a great breakthrough in behavior, like from something that troubles him, to him being relaxed, that you should quit, then and there. In that way, you are sort of 'banking' that experience and you will reap the benefit the next time you mount up.
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