My experience with trail rides has been pretty incredible and crazy at the same time. Going on trail rides has taught me to get out of my comfort zone (and I think it has taught the horses I have ridden that as well – ha ha). While on trail rides I have come face to face with some amazing and breathtaking moments, but also some frustrating and terrifying moments (encountering a HUGE moose about 5 ft away with my friend, was one of them). So, basically every trail ride I have been on has been an adventure. Trail rides have MANY fantastic benefits for every horse rider and their horses and they have definitely helped me develop as a more well rounded rider. Today, I am going to share some of the benefits for both horse and rider that I feel come from going on trail rides. I hope that by seeing the benefits you will become more open to maybe going on a couple trail rides because, trust me, they are totally worth it.
Horse Benefit #1: Different Surroundings
Putting your horse in a different environment is HUGE for horses because when they are able to go on a trail ride they are able to experience new surroundings other than their regular daily surroundings like the arena or barn. By being able to go somewhere different, horses are forced to step out of their daily comfort zone into something that they might not have seen or heard before. I can’t stress it enough how important it is for horses to be able to experience different and new surroundings as it can then help them to become an all-around horse that is comfortable in all settings and surroundings. Horses can get bored just like people, so going on a trail ride also gives a horse a change of scenery from the regular routine. If not right away, your horse will learn to LOVE going on a trail ride.
Rider Benefit #1: Instills Confidence
Going on a trail ride can instill confidence in us because it helps us to step out of our normal comfort zones and experience something a little bit different (just like your horse). When I was riding a pony that I regularly took on trail rides, she was very excited and energetic. I had to become confident when she would spook at something that was scary to her (apparently her shadow was). This forced me to learn how to handle these situations and each time instilled more and more confidence that I have now as a rider. I have also developed a strong love and enjoyment for trail rides. If you need a confidence booster, go on a trail ride with a couple of friends. I am not promising that the first time will be amazing, but as you continue to develop and grow, it will become much more enjoyable.
Horse Benefit #2: Obstacles
Trail rides don’t only give your horses a change of scenery, but it also helps your horse(s) to develop their ability of going over and working through trail obstacles. If you are planning on practicing obstacles or going in any trail classes, trail rides are a perfect start to growing your horse’s obstacle abilities. When your horse is able to go through water, over bridges, and over hills, this will only benefit a horse and rider’s obstacle course success. When I was riding my pony on trail rides, my friend and I went through streams and creeks, over bridges, and up and down steep hills. At first my pony did NOT want to go through the water, but eventually after working with her and going on more trail rides, she became more comfortable with the water and eventually was walking through it like a pro. Through trail riding, your horse will become more comfortable facing and overcoming all kinds of obstacles along the way.
Rider Benefit #2: Relaxation
Last, but not least, trail rides can help us as horse riders relax and enjoy the ride. I feel that it is so important for horse riders to be able to relax while riding in the arena and even on a trail ride. The feeling of a trail ride is exhilarating and refreshing and can really change your perspective on horses and riding all together. When I am able to go with my friends on a trail ride with my horse, it is just so fun and most of all relaxing. The more your horse becomes relaxed on trail rides, the more you will become relaxed on trail rides. Being able to relax and enjoy the scenery is beneficial for any rider and their horse.
Today, I only mentioned a few benefits of trail rides, but let me tell you there are many more that you will discover when you go on a trail ride with your horse. I hope that you enjoyed today’s post and that maybe the benefits I have listed have persuaded you to try a trail ride some time soon. You will NOT regret it! My challenge to you for this week is to go on a trail ride (weather permitting of course) and see how it goes. To the riders who have been going on trail rides consistently, keep it up and enjoy! In the comments below, share one of your favorite trail ride experiences or maybe even a funny thing that happened on a trail ride (these tend to happen often).
Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!