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I have done Pony Club, eventing, shows, lessons and ARC, but more than anything, I love being out of the trails with my horse. It's just you and your horse taking it all in, building a bond, earning each others trust and that to me, is the best feeling in the world. No-one judging you, no-one to compare yourself with, just the pure love and joy of being with your best friend.

After years of being involved in the clubs, not having endless amounts of money, and not having expensive horses and always being made to feel I wasn't good enough, now trail riding is all I do. For me, it's never been about the ribbons, or who has the most expensive.... horse, gear or float, it's been about the love I have for horses, sometimes I feel that gets lost in the "horse" world, but can always be found out on a trail with our horse.
 

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I have called horses "trail horses" but never in a derogatory sense. Some of my best and most favorite horses were the greatest trail horses. I could ride them through anything and they'd never blink an eye. I just call them trail horses because that is their discipline. I actually am having to teach my mare to be on trails. She is incredible in an arena, but that's because it is pretty much all she has ever done. When I took her on a trial trail ride, she was slightly better than the head horse my boyfriend rode (he is 11 and has been on the trail a handful of times). And the trail we rode on was pretty basic. I thought gelding my boyfriend was on would lose his mind when we passed a spot where someone had dumped an old sofa. And sure that horse was an amazing head horse, always get you where you need to be, quiet in the box, etc. but he could not handle a trail. And as much as I love barrel racing and competition, I also love the quiet of an early morning trail ride and seeing all of the amazing and interesting things that come across your path on the trail. I would get bored if all I did was haul and run around three barrels. I imagine my horse would as well, and I want one with a sound mind as well as a sound body. I think trails help give them that.
 

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Discussion Starter #163
I have called horses "trail horses" but never in a derogatory sense. Some of my best and most favorite horses were the greatest trail horses. I could ride them through anything and they'd never blink an eye. I just call them trail horses because that is their discipline. I actually am having to teach my mare to be on trails. She is incredible in an arena, but that's because it is pretty much all she has ever done. When I took her on a trial trail ride, she was slightly better than the head horse my boyfriend rode (he is 11 and has been on the trail a handful of times). And the trail we rode on was pretty basic. I thought gelding my boyfriend was on would lose his mind when we passed a spot where someone had dumped an old sofa. And sure that horse was an amazing head horse, always get you where you need to be, quiet in the box, etc. but he could not handle a trail. And as much as I love barrel racing and competition, I also love the quiet of an early morning trail ride and seeing all of the amazing and interesting things that come across your path on the trail. I would get bored if all I did was haul and run around three barrels. I imagine my horse would as well, and I want one with a sound mind as well as a sound body. I think trails help give them that.

I rode with a large group this weekend. I think there were 9 of us there. Four of us were ladies who had their barrel horses out and wanted to, and I quote, 'get them in shape, mentally and physically' before next weekends races.


I think I was the only one NOT on a barrel horse and one that's actually 'in service' and being used as a barrel horse concurrent with the trail riding. Every one of those ladies extolled the virtues of getting their barrel horses out on the trails and getting a factory reset in their heads so to speak. Not one of them was hot or spooky.
 

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I rode with a large group this weekend. I think there were 9 of us there. Four of us were ladies who had their barrel horses out and wanted to, and I quote, 'get them in shape, mentally and physically' before next weekends races.


I think I was the only one NOT on a barrel horse and one that's actually 'in service' and being used as a barrel horse concurrent with the trail riding. Every one of those ladies extolled the virtues of getting their barrel horses out on the trails and getting a factory reset in their heads so to speak. Not one of them was hot or spooky.
YES! In my personal experience watching other people with their barrel horses, the best ones are the ones that did multiple things and included riding in trails with them. The horses I have seen behave the worst and be the most burnt out were the ones that rode in an arena and then rode at events. Trails is where I go to get my own mind right...so it makes sense to me that trails would help horses get their mind right as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #165
YES! In my personal experience watching other people with their barrel horses, the best ones are the ones that did multiple things and included riding in trails with them. The horses I have seen behave the worst and be the most burnt out were the ones that rode in an arena and then rode at events. Trails is where I go to get my own mind right...so it makes sense to me that trails would help horses get their mind right as well.

This is all just guessing, of course, but it seems to me it helps them remember they're a part of a natural world - something humans either took them away from or never let them experience. There's always something new to look at, smell, taste, experience on a trail as opposed to an arena chasing cans. It teaches the two of your to rely on one another, to relax together, and in some instances, learn to PLAY together and laugh. I think that's pretty darn important to a horse - learning to be a teammate with a human, be it for work or play, or both.
 
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