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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we got Pony and Moonshine, they were trail horses. Then we started riding them English, in an arena (sometimes in the field). At the last place we boarded, they had about 100 acres, and some hills, and little forests, and we’d ride them out there. The new place just has very small pastures (you could walk a circuit in less than 10 minutes) and the long driveway. We’ve been here for two years now. I’d like to get them back out on trails, since our new trailer should hopefully be coming soon. My goal if for Pony to eventually be able to go out by himself to new places. At the old place I’d ride him bareback all over the pastures, and I rode him out in the street outside by himself as well. But he hasn’t done any of that for a while. I'm thinking I'd like to ease him back into it, so it's a pleasant experience for everyone.

Possible relevant info: he’s a little jumpy but very sane (what I mean is that he tends to jump at things or spook in place, but he just does that and then calms right back down), very confident, generally likes new things, and has hooves of iron. With this in mind, I’m thinking about taking these steps to get him used to trails again.
  • Take him out with Moonshine, as she loves being on trails, is super calm, and is as close to bombproof as I’ve seen in a horse.
  • Take them both out to the ranch where we got them for a couple of trail rides. The owner said she’d be happy to see them again. Plus they should remember the place so they shouldn’t get too worked up about it being “new.”
  • Take them to our house in the burbs! We live in a 1950s- era development, so no trails, but the streets and lawns are wide, so they have plenty of open space all around (I feel like horses are happier when they have oen space around). Desensitize them to things in the neighborhood. Some of the riding I hope to do would involve being on or near roads. The first time, we might just have them on a lead rope, and then ride them the second time.
  • Take them on a short trail ride in a very horse-friendly state park that’s about half an hour from where we live. A lot of their trails are badly eroded, or they were last time I was out there a year ago, but some of them are really nice. And they really welcome horses, with tacking pens and troughs and lots of trailer parking. I guess we’d start out only walking and see how things went.
  • Take them on a short trail ride in a park near our house. This park also allows horses, although they don’t have any tacking up areas, the trails are partially wooded, and trailer parking is a bit questionable. I was thinking that it might be better to take them on a cloudy day, as I understand that horses’ eyes don’t adjust as well as our do to dark (e.g. the wooded areas) and it seems like it might reduce stress around that if the light differential weren’t as great.

Once we get moved to our new place in a few years, I imagine that the majority of my riding may be on trails, so I really want to get him solid on and happy with being out there.
 
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If it's not too far, going to your old place might be nice.
One thing I will mention if you go to parks etc where there is trailer parking, I always make sure when I pull in that I can get the trailer turned around and pointing out for easy exit as others can come in after you and might make it difficult to get turned around if there is not enough space.
Glad to hear you will be getting out on trails.
 

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To add to my previous post, as I think you are a person who thinks things through and likes to be prepared for unexpected happenings, it might be a good idea to go to your old place as a start for trail riding, the horses know the area and also if anything happens such as the horse deciding not to load into the trailer for the trip home, and this can happen occasionally you will not be out somewhere by yourself with no one there to help you.
Just thinking for the first time make it as easy as possible for a good ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a great thought, thank you! These two have never shown any sign of not loading, but yes I bet if it came down to it we could leave them there overnight if we had to. Just knowing that that is an option will make me feel more relaxed about loading them, which will make them feel more relaxed, which is great.

And yes, I do like to think it through and try to be prepared. Which reminds me that it's probably time to start getting my trailer kit together!
 
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