Preparing for the Trail

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks preparing the horses — and the humans — for trail rides. My trail tune-up program includes playing with ditches, jumps, brush piles, trailers, bicycles, pedestrians, plastic milk bottles, and all kinds of other fun things in the arenas and around the ranch. You never know what you’ll run into on the trail and the more confident you and your horse can become before you go, the more fun both of you will have when you get there.

Trail prep in the arena
Trail Practice: Lakota, Tammy, Parker, Maddie, Rociada, and Barbara

Horses benefit from trails in a number of ways. Trail riding gives horses a sense of purpose: there’s a job to do and a destination to reach. Trails provide variety that even the most interesting arena in the world cannot. Trails often have long straight stretches where horses can stride out and go forward without hitting up against a corner.

I start horses on trails by ponying them from an experienced horse. When they’re ready, I’ll have them carry a passenger so they can get used to having a rider but still have the connection to the experienced horse and me. When they’ve got that down, the training wheels are off and I’ll ride them on the trails.

Barbara and Maddie practice ponying
Barbara and Maddie practice ponying

If you are interested in trail lessons or training, or in learning in how to pony a horse safely, call me at 530-599-1602 for more information and to get on the schedule.


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