Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
Horses have to learn, just like us. Experienced horses know what they can do and want to do and it's not an issue to let them choose their way. Horses that are green to carrying a rider in uneven terrain benefit from guidance.
When I first got my guy out on the trails, he made some poor choices, but if it was only a mildly terrible idea, I'd let him, and when he sunk or slipped or whatever, it was his own fault. He quickly learned I wasn't going to "babysit" him, and while I chose direction and speed, out on the trail it was his job to pay attention and keep all four feet under us and on solid ground. I still will override his choice at times when I think I do know better, but all in all, he's learned very well and takes care of his end of the deal. Not all horses seem to learn very quickly though.
If this girl knows the trail well, I'd trust her. As Foxhunter said, they don't want to fall and potentially get hurt any more than you do. I will say that some chronic (years in one case) stumblers and/or "clumsy" horses actually do have a good reason and it's not that they don't care about taking care of themselves. I know several who were magically 'cured' by different farrier work and/or medical rehab, usually accidentally when a farrier switch or rest was forced for another reason.