a Trail Horse
I can't count the number of times that I have heard the
words "Oh you just trail ride" or "It's just
a trail horse", especially from other riders who focus
on only one discipline. And each time I have to smirk a
little. To be JUST a Trail Rider you need a very special
talented kind of steed for which many folks don't realize
the expertise required:
- He needs to be as maneuverable as a Dressage Horse...to
be able to place each foot exactly where and when you need
because there is a steep cliff drop-off on one side and
a wall of solid mountainside on the other. A sure-footed
horse is a must to be a good Trail horse.
-He needs to be as bold as a Foxhunter....to go willingly
where he is pointed, whether that is over a log, up a steep
hill, down a gully, through rushing water, boot-sucking
mud or bushwhacking through thick scrub.
-He needs to be as agile as a Show Jumper....able to easily
twist and turn around trees and bushes, boulders and hop
over fallen logs.
-He needs to have the stamina of an Endurance Horse....because
a 7 mile ride can easily turn into a 20 mile ride if his "on-board
GPS" (aka rider) takes a wrong turn.
-He needs to have the calm mind of a Rodeo Pick-Up Horse....because
many horses can not hold it together under stress. But a
good Trail Horse must be able to cope with the high emotional
energy often coming from other horses in front, behind and
either side of her. He needs to always be level-headed and
-He needs to manage being squashed against others like a
Polo Pony....because on some trails his nose might be pushed
against a tail in front, or flanks pressed side-by-side
with rider's knees banging against other rider's knees,
or another horse breathing down his back. He needs to have
patience and get along well with others.
-He needs to cope with bursts of speed like a Racehorse.....because
if that "on-board GPS" (aka rider), stated above,
turns the short ride into 20 miles you won't get home till
dark if walking that whole distance.
-He needs to be a clever problem-solver with his mind and
feet like a Cutting horse....sometimes his rider is gonna
get him stuck in places that seem impossible to get out
-He needs to be brave like a Cow Horse because not only
will he have to deal with protective mama cows and bulls
out on the trails, but he'll also be faced with mountain
bikes, ATVs, motorcycles, strollers, tractors, logging equipment,
chainsaws, horse-drawn carts, bullet-riddled appliances,
floating plastic bags and balloons, booming thunder and
pouring rain with flapping slickers, loose wild horses and
burros, and all forms of wildlife.
-And he needs to be cuddly and sweet like a Child's Pony....because
he will spend countless hours exploring trails with his
But hey.... He's "JUST" a Trail Horse!