I'm a trail rider, yes, but I also ride competitively. I have most of my equine life. I enjoy the challenge of it. I've done everything from breed show pleasure, barrel racing, gaming, reining, cutting and cowhorse. I've learned NOT to discriminate against any discipline or any breed, because ultimately I will eat my words.
The common factor to any of it is that hard work involved to be good at it. Hard work for the rider and the horse. We try so hard to be better than we were at something that we focus on just that thing. Next thing we know we start having issues with our horses. Maybe the reiner gets chargey going down the middle of the arena, because he knows he’s going to run fast and stop hard. Maybe the barrel horse won’t go in the gate, or goes in 2 feet above the ground. The rail horse sulls up in the arena. Any number of issues can arise.
We start with the vet, check for soundness, look to teeth, check our tack, our bits our riding, more lessons and so on. What we often forget is that the horses need a break just like we do. We leave the barn and we watch a movie, or swim in the pool. We go to town for a change of scenery. Our horses go from stall to pasture to stall to arena to stall to pasture and so on.
Enter: the weekly trail ride. I say for every 3 days of schooling or arena work I want 1 day out on the trail. My horses say “YES!” When I give them that day to let their brains relax and their bodies loosen up, I get a fresh horse on my next ride who has had time to absorb their lessons and is ready to move forward.
Send comments and questions to Stephanie at email@example.com. Join Stephanie on the Horsecity Forums by clicking here.
Read more On the Trail With Stephanie:
The Great Escape (sort of)