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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess it shows my inexperience when I learned that some people just don't ride on trails! I couldn't wrap my brain around this. Wasn't that the ultimate goal? A relaxing trip out in the woods, just you and your horse? Don't the horses need the mental break from training in the arena? Doesn't it help them to become more confident and trust their rider? Am I alone in this shock?!

Thoughts?!
 

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Well some horses cant ride on trails, take mine for example, he spooks at the slightest noise... And some people just dont feel comfortable doing it.
 

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Some horses really do prefer the arena. I rode a hunter/jumper pony once on a trail ride. 10 minutes out she bucked me off. (First and only time I've ever come off a horse!). I did get back on and rode her for another 2 hours on the trails, but we fought the whole way. The BO sold her to a little girl who only jumps and that pony is much, much happier.
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Trail riding is a great outlet for a show/arena horse. It is like humans having a job and taking a "break" from the grind. If you never get a break, you get burned out. I think it is a great balance. As far as some horses not being able to ride trails, that is a training/exposure issue. It is an all together different "world" when on trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Trail riding is a great outlet for a show/arena horse. It is like humans having a job and taking a "break" from the grind. If you never get a break, you get burned out. I think it is a great balance. As far as some horses not being able to ride trails, that is a training/exposure issue. It is an all together different "world" when on trail.

That is more what I was thinking, basically that creates a better all around horse. I guess I feel bad for the horses that don't get the opportunity to go exploring with their riders, and I feel bad for the riders that aren't comfortable out on the trails! I like to do ring work to reinforce behaviors and communication, but out on the trails with friends is where we BOTH love to be!
 

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My daughter never trails rides, only takes lessons, practices in an arena & shows, when she was younger, I had FORCE her to trail ride with me.
 

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No, she thinks trail riding is boring and unimportant, to each their own I guess. I find trail riding challenging and if the truth be told, more difficult than showing. I do both, heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I get bored just riding here on the ranch! And it is 400 acres, lol. I would love to have an arena to work on things in (preferably covered), but would not want to be limited to it. I guess it is just different strokes for different folks. We cannot all be the same.

I got bored of riding the 300 acres around the barn, and then trailered off for the first time! I had always been apprehensive of how my horse would do and finally decided to just suck it up and do it. I sure wish I had your problem of getting bored of my 400 acres ;) let me know if you need someone to ride with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is what I find a challenge, looking for a way to manuver around obstacles

I was out riding a 3 year old filly that I had the chance to break in at 16 with the guidance of a been there down that 80 year old gentleman, and I was so proud of us when our groundwork paid off (your picture reminded me of the situation): Stepping over downed branches and such, she managed to get BOTH back feet tangled in prickly briars. Instead of freaking out, she just stood there and looked at me, as if saying "YOU got me into this mess, YOU get me out of it!" I agree that it can be challenging. That moment was very rewarding for me because it reinforced the training and trust :)
 

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I am one of those people who prefers an arena to the trails. The reason for that is because I've never had a horse that I was able to trust enough on the trails. As sad as that is. Have I been trail riding? Oh yes, and it was a blast, but the horses I work with are not ones that you would trust on a relaxing trail ride. And because I've never had a horse that I could trust on the trails I just never got out on the trails.

I'm not against trail riding but it's just not what I was "raised" on.
 
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Some people don't have that luxury. They are lucky just to have a place to ride horses, at all.

when I lived in the middle of Tokyo, city of some 12+ million persons, I found a universtiy campus just a mile or so from my apartment, where they had a small equestrian facility. the horses NEVER had turn out, andthe riders NEVER could ride outside of the arena. But, it was still an amazing luxury to be able to ride, and the hroses were ok. they were ridden plenty and well fed and cared for. For me, so far from my home , it was a joy to just watch them from the side.
 

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trail riding is relaxing. It is good for the horses because they don't have to work so hard as they did in the arena. In the arena you are asking for specific things for the horse. On the trails you just ride for the enjoyment and peace. The horse is still working, but it can also be a break for the horse.
Trail riding helps me clear my head and just live in the moment and enjoy everything I have.

If your horses are spooky, fix that. Gets things they spook at and work around them and WITH them especially. Your horses should be able to stay still as you run up to them with a tarp strapped around you, jump on a mini-trampoline and get on their back with happy shouting.
Don't do it, but it's just a figure of speech. :)
 

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I don't have a place to really trail ride. A huge flat pasture and the road. I wish I could take mine up to the mountains and ride. It'd be great... and as far as de-spooking horses before trail riding.. there's just some stuff you can't show a horse before trail riding in my opinion. Some horses spookyness.. is just there.. they just aren't and won't ever be as reliable as some horses.. each horse is different.
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Most people wont trailride their 100k $ show horses.. theyre not bred for trail theyre bred for the arena and thats all theyll ever be- an arena horse. They dont really know no better.

To my surprise when i was younger this woman would let me ride her show horses- shed even let me trailride them bareback! :shock: she did trust me pretty good as a rider and knew her horses were in good hands-- and i made them look good by riding them- they got their exercise on, lol.

it was so fun to show them off and tell everyone their accomplishments and bloodlines, lol. :p

i dont think id be that generous-- im grateful for the experience even though i was always kinda worried about them gettin scratched up or gettin hurt or somethin.. i didnt even have the money that theyve earned themselves let alone their buyin price.. show horses like that just dont belong out of the arena in my opinion.
 

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I trail ride more than work in the ring as our ring isn't covered thus is only available during the months of May till End of October usually. Even when you ride the same trails routinely it's never the same ride twice. For example, just on our ride tonight we encountered two duelling squirrels, a groundhog running down a log then it ran right in front of us, a loose dog and a very scary plastic bag in the field. I always encounter something new that helps keep my horse's brain engaged. I like training in the ring but I find the freedom of the trail a much more attractive option. I consider myself very fortunate to have access to such lovely trails.
 

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I do most of my riding in an arena. My horse worries about the other horses left behind if we go out alone, and I rarely have someone to go riding with me. I'm working on turning Mia into a confident trail horse, but we started in the bottom of a big hole and it is taking us a long time to claw our way out...

I mostly enjoy spending time with Mia and trying to improve my balance, coordination and communication with her. I like to get out on a trail, and she is now doing pretty good with other horses, but I'd much rather ride her in an arena than not at all.
 

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I know not everyone will agree with this, but in my mind, arena work is in preparation for riding out in the real world. A safe place to ride and train while you and your horse figure each other out. And maybe for shows, just so you keep everyone in a nice contained space.

But to have a horse that never rides outside an arena? That's like having a car that never leaves the parking lot. Sure, you can drive around the parking lot for a while, but don't you ever want to get out on the roads and drive around?

To me, trail riding is the "real world" and an arena is a place to train (and show if you are into that). But really, back in the old days, people rode horses out in the real world. They transported people, carried them into battle, got them across the country, carried goods. Horses are MADE to live out in the world. Even in their natural state, they are out in the real world. So to shelter them in an arena their whole lives seems pretty sad to me. It's like you have created agoraphobic horses that are afraid to leave their safe little confines because they have never been exposed to the real world. :-(

Are there some horses that are better than others at trail riding? Sure. Maybe a very select few really would never make good trail horses no matter what. But I would hope we wouldn't be selecting for horses that couldn't make it out in the real world. They should be the exception not the rule.

I have a 3 yr old gelding. I love him to death....he was born from a mare I bought to trail ride (a buy-one-get-one-free deal :lol: ) and I am just now getting him out on the trails. He already spooked and dumped me once. But he is making steady progress. I hope and pray that he will be the trail horse I want him to be because honestly I don't know what I would do with him if he didn't trail ride. I don't have an arena and I'm not going to build one just for him. Not only would it be too costly, but what good is a horse I can't ride outside? I don't want to ride inside a fence forever. There is a whole big world out there and I want to see it. :)

So yeah, my baby better make a trail horse or I won't know what to do with him.

Now the example like in Japan I can understand. They simply have no place else to ride. So it's either an arena or not riding at all. In that case I would choose an arena too.

Back when I was a kid I thought all horses could trail ride, and then if they were really good they also did shows. Now I realize showing is totally different and a horse trained to show is not automatically a trail horse.

I had a friend with a rental stable some years back and she used to tell me the most nervous riders she got were dressage riders.....because they weren't comfortable outside an arena. I was sort of dumb-founded at that, because in my mind they should be superior riders.....right? I can count the number of riding lessons I've had on one hand and I ride outside an area all the time. So that is just weird to me! (Just a note, I'm sure not all dressage riders fit this example, this is just what my friend told me in her experience).
 
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