Anyone else "just" a trail rider?

This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Sugarmouse Sugarmouse 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • MrsKD14 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    I’m sure I’m not the only one, but does anyone else feel the need to be competing in something to be taken seriously?

    I’ve been riding for 13 years, started and trained my current horse(s) (I just sold to go down to one), and I’m proud of them, but it seems like everyone competes in something. I love long solo rides into the hills or small group rides where we put in around 25 miles. It silences my restlessness.

    I know that I shouldn’t let other People’s opinions matter but, hearing “oh, Britt is just a trail rider” annoys the heck out of me. Yeah… We have ribbons from competitive trail rides for nothing. Or lots of parade pics. Or raised a lot of money on mileage for charities for nothing.

    Sorry for my rant. Maybe it’s my area of ritzy show barns, but I don’t feel like our safe, responsive trail horses get enough credit.

    sarekaz
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Me! Me! I am “just” a trail rider!
    Often I think the Exact same thing when everyone starts mentioning dates of competitions up to 6 months in advance or who placed where or all the hours spent with their trainer before the competitions…. Really? there’s nothing else going on for you but this? That’s what important between you and your horse?

    Being relatively new to competitive trail rides (3 years now), at first I put it down to not wanting to embarrass myself. Then I thought something was wrong with me, everyone loves it- why aren’t I getting it?? Now, I realize I am not the competitive type and I have nothing to prove to other people. Ok, maybe prove I’m not an idiot, but that’s an ongoing thing 😉 It helps to be in Arizona with older cowboys too. They don’t go for “nonsense”. And there’s not a lot of show barns around. Hmm, maybe those 2 things are related.

    I still do trail competitions, my nieces are into it. Sometimes we even place. The ribbons go into a drawer. My Boy doesn’t care about them, why should I? All the conditioning rides before the big event gives me that special peace. And every time one of their crazy Arabs (sorry Arab world, I do like them!) freaks on nothing, I just smile to myself and move my calm Boy out of the way to watch the show. That’s enough for me!

    MrsKD14 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Me! Me! I am “just” a trail rider!
    Often I think the Exact same thing when everyone starts mentioning dates of competitions up to 6 months in advance or who placed where or all the hours spent with their trainer before the competitions…. Really? there’s nothing else going on for you but this? That’s what important between you and your horse?

    Being relatively new to competitive trail rides (3 years now), at first I put it down to not wanting to embarrass myself. Then I thought something was wrong with me, everyone loves it- why aren’t I getting it?? Now, I realize I am not the competitive type and I have nothing to prove to other people. Ok, maybe prove I’m not an idiot, but that’s an ongoing thing 😉 It helps to be in Arizona with older cowboys too. They don’t go for “nonsense”. And there’s not a lot of show barns around. Hmm, maybe those 2 things are related.

    I still do trail competitions, my nieces are into it. Sometimes we even place. The ribbons go into a drawer. My Boy doesn’t care about them, why should I? All the conditioning rides before the big event gives me that special peace. And every time one of their crazy Arabs (sorry Arab world, I do like them!) freaks on nothing, I just smile to myself and move my calm Boy out of the way to watch the show. That’s enough for me!

    Someone gets it!!!!

    Chance and I have wonderful rides alone, in groups, and the occasional ACTHA or NATRC ride but we are fine just doing our thing.

    He’s a fantastic horse. He’s 17, in great shape, soft, supple, responsive, and loves his momma. He’s my adventure buddy and occasionally a safe ride for my husband lol

    MrsKD14 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Me! Me! I am “just” a trail rider!
    Often I think the Exact same thing when everyone starts mentioning dates of competitions up to 6 months in advance or who placed where or all the hours spent with their trainer before the competitions…. Really? there’s nothing else going on for you but this? That’s what important between you and your horse?

    Being relatively new to competitive trail rides (3 years now), at first I put it down to not wanting to embarrass myself. Then I thought something was wrong with me, everyone loves it- why aren’t I getting it?? Now, I realize I am not the competitive type and I have nothing to prove to other people. Ok, maybe prove I’m not an idiot, but that’s an ongoing thing 😉 It helps to be in Arizona with older cowboys too. They don’t go for “nonsense”. And there’s not a lot of show barns around. Hmm, maybe those 2 things are related.

    I still do trail competitions, my nieces are into it. Sometimes we even place. The ribbons go into a drawer. My Boy doesn’t care about them, why should I? All the conditioning rides before the big event gives me that special peace. And every time one of their crazy Arabs (sorry Arab world, I do like them!) freaks on nothing, I just smile to myself and move my calm Boy out of the way to watch the show. That’s enough for me!

    Someone gets it!!!!

    Chance and I have wonderful rides alone, in groups, and the occasional ACTHA or NATRC ride but we are fine just doing our thing.

    He’s a fantastic horse. He’s 17, in great shape, soft, supple, responsive, and loves his momma. He’s my adventure buddy and occasionally a safe ride for my husband lol

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I’d love to feel safe riding my idiots on the trails or on the beach. It is a most pleasant way to spend time with your horse.

    It is never the horse's fault

    MrsKD14 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    He’s come a long way. We weren’t always able to do this

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Mine are ages 22 and 13 – I don’t think they are going to become any more mature. Of course, they are also Arabians who think the world is out to get them, unlike normal Arabians.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Hey–I’m a trail rider too, and proud of it! Maybe because I live in a very rural area (most of the property around here is zoned for agriculture) and most of my horse-owning neighbors also trail ride, it’s easier not to be bothered by the competition riders. But I’m still bothered by owners who say, “He was only a trail horse, so when he came down with such-and-such, we just let nature take its course.” Grrr!

    My current trail horse is a 13-year-old Morgan mare who was new to trails when I bought her just over a year ago. She’s good-tempered and fun to be around. For a while I taught myself how to ride with two reins in order to figure out if she really needed that running martingale she had on when I test-rode her. She doesn’t. (Thank goodness!)

    Hey, Joe-Joe! Glad to hear from you! 😉

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Joan – where have you been? Check out “New Girl” – she is mine! Haven’t met her yet – she’s in quarantine across a lot of water, but I’m counting the days.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    There is no such thing as ‘just a trail rider’! We dauntless trail riders who live for putting our faces into our horse’s mane and breathing deeply, for the feel of the leather as we ease into the saddle, and for the sense of peace that comes through the tempo-ed footfalls of that familiar partner are a different breed of rider and there are many of us. We whose main competitor day in and day out is our yesterday’s self, are constantly learning just as our equine partners do, about the world out there… and sometimes it’s not for the faint of heart.

    There’s bear, deer, fox, wild dogs, the occasional loose horse, goats, cattle, monsters in the form of plastic bags on the nefarious wind, and if that isn’t enough, there’s mud, water, ice, snow, sand, hills, snakes, anthills, bees, horseflies, rock faces, complicated trail systems, ditches, and rain-slick pavement. No carefully mapped arena for us. Our circles are wider and less round, and we hope we complete them because otherwise, where is the trail head again?

    We ride to achieve different things. That doesn’t make us, “just” anything. And a good riding buddy is worth her weight/plus her horse’s weight in gold.

    Not every horse can be a safe trail horse, and it takes a good rider to make him/her so. Even a good horse goes jumpy with a nervous rider. Getting that horse to calmly take on new challenges takes a confident rider, one who doesn’t lose self-control even when the conditions call for extreme caution.

    My hat or helmet goes off to trail riders. And every single day of my life, I am grateful for those horses that not only take me out on the trails, but bring me home safely… again. But I have to say a special word about my Carmagirl, who reads my mind and complies without fuss, and for my Maps whose passion and work ethic make riding a hoot! Not ‘just’ trail horses – those two are harmony on the hoof. I am blessed.

    (Hey Joan and Joe-Joe, you sound like you’re doing fine with your new horses. Good to hear.)

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    knwalk
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    Try fox hunting! We’re pretty much glorified trail riders who love good horses, good company, and good tradition. Most hunts in the US involve a chase rather than kill approach if that would be a concern of yours! Check out MFHA for a list of hunts in your area. I’ve never competed since I got into it as a 23 year old with a questionable back and knees, but fox hunting is something I never knew I needed in my life until I tried it.

    MrsKD14 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    I am loving these responses!

    Trails have taken me places in myself that I never imagined. It’s deeply centering. Challenging. Strengthening. I know I’m a stronger person for it.

    Nothing like getting swept off a trail by a freak storm to test your relationship with your horse… Only trail ride I’d rather not relive.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Mapale – you left eggs and strange feathers out of the list of hazards!

    It is never the horse's fault

    amber
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Newbie here, but this post speaks to the experience I’ve been having. “Just” a trail and pleasure rider (where pleasure means “for fun”, not any of the show disciplines that have “pleasure” in the name!)

    I love teaching (safe, non-crazy) horses stuff. For several years I’ve been leasing a horse that was bred by the ranch where I had been taking lessons, and came out too slow for the intended purpose (barrel racing) and too runty and weird-looking to easily find another show niche. Given I didn’t care about looks at that time in my life, she was my dream horse: basically sane, very smart, but relatively uneducated. I’ve since brought her from being reasonably well-broke for trail riding, to being able to do patterns, figures, pivots, flying lead changes, etc. – all without having showing as a goal. (And of course we still trail ride!) But I’ve noticed the ranch instructor and others sometimes have a hard time wrapping their minds around why I would want to teach my horse things if I don’t specifically intend to show in a discipline utilizing those things.

    The ranch seems to be moving in the direction of seeking more boarders, and specifically more “show” boarders, though there are still some who just want to trail ride. I think I’m the only one who wants to trail ride *and* do more advanced stuff just for the fun of it.

    (I have had some chances to tag along with other boarders to some small local shows and put my horse in some hunt seat flat classes, including pattern equitation classes, where she does everything she’s asked to do – without my ever having specifically thought of myself as doing “show practice!”)

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Showing should be fun for both you and your horse – a way to show the world what you can do. It should never be a hunt for ribbons, although too often that is how it seems. I have never understood why people seem to think one is either/or, but not both, someone who rides for the joy of it as well as someone who occasionally likes to show.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: punctuation, and I'm still not sure it is correct

    It is never the horse's fault

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