He’s ‘JUST’ a Trail Horse

In the spotlight
We found this beautiful piece of writing on Facebook and HAD to share it with you all!
An ode to the trail horse, so often looked down upon, yet so highly prized by those who ride beyond the arena and the show ring.
If anyone knows the author, please leave a comment so we can give credit where it’s due!

He’s ‘JUST’ 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:

Dressage in Andalusia, Spain - Globetrotting horse riding holidays– 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 surefooted 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, into boot-sucking mud or bushwhacking through thick scrub.

Castle & Estate Ride, Ireland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays– He needs to be as agile as a show jumper… able to easily twist and turn around trees, bushes and boulders, and hop over fallen logs.

– He needs to have the calm mind of a rodeo pick-up horse… because many horses cannot 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 him. He needs to always be level-headed and sensible.

The Grape Horse Adventure, Barossa Valley, South Australia - Globetrotting horse riding holidays– He needs to have the stamina of an endurance horse… because a seven mile ride can easily turn into a 20 mile ride if his ‘on-board GPS’ (aka rider) takes a wrong turn.

– 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 riders’ knees banging against other riders’ knees, or another horse breathing down his back. He needs to have patience and get along well with others.

Camargue Ride, France - Globetrotting horse riding holidays– He needs to cope with bursts of speed like a racehorse… because if that ‘on-board GPS’ mentioned above turns the short ride into 20 miles, you won’t get home ’til dark if you’re walking the 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 of!

Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA - Globetrotting horse riding holidays
– 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, 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 rider.

But hey… he’s ‘JUST’ a trail horse!
Wilderness Expedition, Iceland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays
Do you have a favourite trail horse, or a favourite trail riding story? Tell us all about it in the comments! We love hearing from our fellow globetrotters.
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