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WHy is it so hard to find a trail horse that can leg drive, collect up and ride well?  It seems that a lot of trail horses can only be herd bound horses that have very little discipline or training.  I know that lots of people will probably tell me that I am crazy but it seems that a horse is either a "trail" horse or a "show" horse.  

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I think alot of people just get out and ride and forget to train! Unfortunatly too many Show and trail horses only have the basics.
Because most skilled trainers don't mess with trail horses. And most trail riders don't bother to learn and practice higher level training. Generally the people willing to put training money into horses are the show folk, and the skilled trainers are doing shows and events more than trails just because that's where the money is. It's a commen opinion among show people that any old horse can do for a trail horse and takes little training to do so. However the occasional knowlegable trainer in the relm of trail horse training will attest that it usually takes a lot of training to make a good trail horse, more than for general showing.
I've been watching the discussions on a paso fino horse breed board for quite a few years and there have been some interesting things. There are show breeders who sell their not quite show quality horses as if they were sutable trail horses. There are occasional persons who buy one thinking they're getting a good trail horse prospect, and are very disappointed when they get one that needs skilled handling and a lot of retraining. And then there are trainers that say those castoff show horses are sometimes difficult to retrain for trail.
In obtaining an overall picture of the situation I see two different temperments and types of horses emerging within one gaited breed, one type bred for show with a hot temperment and reved up nature. Those who ride them really love them, get a real thrill from riding the high energy "brio". The other type bred for trail generally with a longer stride and calmer nature, much easier to train for obsticles. The best of the trail horse paso finos are very calm natured while still having plenty of energy, and still selling for plenty. I have one of the best of those waiting on me as soon as I can round up the assets and go get him.

Good training is about the biggest missing element among trail riders and local show type folk, I have stopped and watch a small local show occasionally with the speed events and such, and I saw such terrible lack of training and ignorance in training that it was almost painfull to stay and keep watching, many accedents waiting to happen and horses just bairly under control.
It's actually quite rare for a trail rider who does nothing but trail ride to seek for, educate themselves and gain the skill to train horses to a much higher than normal level of training for trail, but the few who have done it have a lot more fun riding.

It's my desire to start with a good horse, and then train as I ride, untill I have a very well trained horse, but that will take time and expirmentation. I've been through all the information, learned from many good trainers, but never actually taken a horse beyond the basics yet. And I think the horse I'm about to get will have the calmness combined with the sensativity to make a very nice easy to train horse that can be taken to a high level easier than the ones I have. Besides having rode both kinds the gaited one got me hooked for his speed and smoothness and willing nature. At this point I don't want to put lots of time and training effort into a horse that's gonna wear me out ridin him. I really like that 5-10-15 mph gettin along speed with bairly a jiggle.
I have a nice not so cheap bareback pad I would like to use more, but I can't use it with my nongaited horses on these steep hills round here, I just can't stay on. Tried in on a gaited horse and it wasn't any problem.
We do some showing in the SSHBEA, however, all of my show horses are keg shod and are my trail horses on Sunday after a Saturday night horse show. I agree with Diana Hoppe...I do a lot of flexing and ground training before I actually get into the saddle. All of my 2 year old show horses neck rein, but it is mostly moving off my legs. I was brought up riding cutting and reining QH's through school, so I guess that is where a light hand and lots of leg comes in. Check out my web site at www.TibbsHorseFarm.myeweb.net

Good luck -
I have one that is both and he is posted for sale on this site. Look under, Little Black for $3000. I would not be selling but just have too many and since I have 3 that are the same age and 2 older and I have only had him for a year. I will place him with the right rider for him. I am not a trader.
Blessings, Linda
I love that idea! It would prevent some expensive mistakes buying the wrong horse.
That is exactly what the 'american trail horse association' does, a certification program for performance levels for trail horses. with 7 levels of training recognized. 1st level is basicly what I'd call green broke, and the 7th level is the ultamate in a well mannered do it all trail horse.
Maybe this could be a good opportunity to take your horse, if he is young enough, and mold him into what you want him to be unless he is too set in his ways.
A horse doesn't have to be either/or. I just bought a new horse a week or so ago. He is a 3yo and has excellent cutting horse bloodlines. He is currently at the trainers, learning to 'just' be a good trail horse. He is doing great with his ground work, bending, stopping, standing, leg pressure, and this week will be introduced to trails. After a month or so of this he will come home and I will take it from there. I love getting a horse that is not really familiar with trails. It is a joy to see them blossoming every time we go out, AND they have not already been 'ruined' by someone who doesn't ride the way I like.
Lot's of people seem to think a trail horse doesn't have a 'job', but, in fact, they have a very important job and need to be in good shape to do that job to the best of their ability. Just because they aren't going to the show ring doesn't mean they don't need ground work, exercise and refresher coarses between rides to remind them who is their 'leader' and to keep them from forgetting what they have learned.
(I have been reading Natural Horse-Man-Ship by Pat Parelli. It has made me realize some of my faults and I am going to try to do better with my new horse.) Happy Trails! :-)
Yep, I bought that book long time ago when persueing my quest for training knowlege (before we got internet) Another interesting one was "Western Training" by Jack Brainard. I also got the book by Al Dunning on training the reining horse. Along with videos by several trainers, I think I have most of Richard Shrake's videos. And Marv Walkers. Hunt's colt starting video. and a few of parelli's.
Marv Walker had the simplest explination of the herd social system and how to use it in training.
Wow I got too much info stored away and not enough time to use it, I better think about using some purty soon.
What can I say??? I found the book at a yard sale and thought it would surely be worth a buck, but ONLY if I put it to use, right? LOL


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