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!
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 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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!
– And he needs to be cuddly and sweet like a child’s pony… because he will spend countless hours exploring trails with his rider.