Trail riding is often not viewed with the same respect as “real” horse events like dressage or jumping. But I use trail riding as a great training tool. I have both an eventer and a reiner, and these horses are shown often. Like any high demand schedule for both humans and horses, the pace of intensive showing and training makes them prone to burn out. My favorite option to enable them to relax and reconnect with their inner horse, is taking them out on the trail. Trail riding is a great way for any horse to adapt to strange noises like cracking twigs, the birds and mystery critters lurking in bushes. A truly well trained or “broke” horse should be able to go out on trail either by itself or as part of a large group. All horses need a break from the monotony of the same repetitive tasks and life in the corral. The trail outing presents all new smells, sounds, and sights; lots of things to really pick up those ears. The different footing and terrain feels good on the feet and captures the attention span. Trail rides can be tailored for any mood or riding skill level. Often, we take the babies out on trail after they have been ridden for 2 months simply to expose them as early as possible to life outside of the arena. Bring a bunch of friends for a low key walk-filled ride and chat. Go by yourself to do different pace intervals and to meditate. Check out Jenny Lance’s newsletter (one of our endorsers) at http://www.livetoridehorses.com/newsletters.htm for more ideas on making trail riding tailored to you. You can also check out their clinic schedule at http://www.livetoridehorses.com/.
Thanks for reading, Cassie