Came across this piece not too long ago and it shines a light on the versatility and skills of our treasured trail horses and how we trust them with our very lives as we team up with them on the trail. We value these horses and Top Trail is the place where we celebrate and honor our partners by documenting our unique journey with them mile upon mile.
The original piece was clearly written by a trail rider from a different continent and we have adapted it with American terms:
"I couldn't count the number of times that I have heard the words "oh you just trail ride" or "its just a trail horse" and each time I have to smile. To be JUST a trail rider you need a special kind of steed that many don't realize the expertise required:
He needs to be as maneuverable as a dressage horse...to be able to place each foot exactly where and when you need because there is a 10 foot drop on one side and a rabbit nest on the other.
He needs to be as bold a fox hunter....to go where he is pointed, be that over a log, up a hill, down a gully, through thick scrub.
He needs to be as agile as a show jumper....to twist and turn around and over trees and bushes and rocks.
He needs to have the stamina of an endurance horse....because a 10 mile ride can easily turn into a 20 mile ride if his on board GPS (aka rider) makes a wrong turn. (Boy, haven't we all been there!)
He needs to have the calm mind of a rodeo pick-up horse....because many others do not and he needs to cope with emotional energy coming from other horses in front, behind and either side of him.
He needs to manage being squashed against others like a polo pony....on some trails his nose will be against a tail with knees banging against knees on either side and another horse breathing down your back for a 2 mile stretch.
He needs to cope with bursts of speed like a cutting horse.....because if that on board GPS, stated above, turns the ride to 25 miles you will get chafed walking that whole distance.
He needs to be clever with his mind and feet....sometimes that on board GPS is gonna get him stuck in places only he can get out of!
AND He needs to be cuddly like a pony....because he may spend days, weeks or even months one on one with his on board GPS.
But hey.....he's JUST a trail horse!"
Original Author Unknown