Trail Horse Training
Captured Spirit Ranch
Does this sound familiar?
You purchased a young horse- your dream horse- who you hope develops into your lifelong partner. You have spent countless hours working with him on ground manners and doing every kind of pre-riding education that you can think of. Finally you get to the point of stepping into the saddle! You might elect to do this yourself or you may send your valuable partner out to a professional for that final training under saddle, but he is soon working well under saddle. You have a respectable amount of hours and money now invested in your horse. Soon, your horse is performing every turn, leg yield and lead change like an old pro all around the arena. Your hard work and financial sacrifices have finally paid off. You are confident that your horse is "broke" and you can't wait to hit the trails with your friends.
The trouble is, your horse is only "half broke".
Many folks whose horses work like a dream in an enclosed environment (indoor or outdoor arena, corral, small pasture) make the unfortunate, and sometimes dangerous, mistake of thinking that this horse is ready to tackle the trails. NOT TRUE! While it is a wonderful thing to have a responsive horse in an arena, it is a completely different situation to ask that horse to respond safely on the trails. Many factors which are out of the rider's control can cause a trail ride to become a dangerous undertaking for the green horse. It is not enough to have an arena trained horse if your objective is to be able to enjoy that horse outside with friends on an afternoon trail ride.
Here is just a short list of things a good trail horse must know that he was not required to understand during his arena education:
*safely and quietly crossing water *stepping over fallen branches and trees *remaining calm in windy weather *having unknown horses riding up from behind or ahead *becoming accustomed to wildlife such as deer, turkeys, or pheasants jumping suddenly into the trail or making loud noises *allowing the rider to unpack and put on a slicker in rainy/windy weather *ground tie and wait for the rider to return *patiently waiting while the rider dismounts and adjusts tack or checks a hoof *carrying saddle bags *allowing the rider to use a lariat to pull large branches off the trail *remaining quiet and in control while riding with a group of horses, whether in the lead, middle or back position *approaching "spooky objects" along the trail quietly and confidently *standing quietly on a picket line or tied to the trailer *camping overnight tied to a high line or standing in a small corral *remaining calm with dogs running along the trail
*stand quietly when gun shots are heard in the area *negotiate narrow trails safely with leg pressure (not rubbing the rider's leg off!) *being ponied from another horse, or being the lead horse while ponying another mount
Everyone has the best of intentions when training thier own horse, and professional trainers just don't have the time to take every individual horse out on state trails for hours at a time. It takes MANY long miles of trail riding to produce a horse that can safely and confidently handle all of the situations described above.
Here is where we can help you and your horse.
Kerry and Robin have logged thousands of hours and many hundreds of miles on the trails and rugged areas around the Midwest. In addition, Robin has trained dozens of horses to become safe, reliable trail mounts that have often been quiet enough even for children or very inexperienced riders. We can take your horse from "arena trained" to "trail trained" in just a short time. We will never take more than 2 horses at a time in for trail training to ensure that each horse gets the most out of his month here at the ranch. Your horse will spend many hours under saddle along the trails, in addition to being trailered to various local state trail heads to expose him to a variety of trail conditions and experiences. We can customize a training program to suit your specific needs. You will have the opportunity to meet us at various trail heads and learn how your horse is progressing in his education. Lessons can be included so that you and your horse both learn how to negotiate difficult trail situations, and most importantly, you will learn this on the trail...not riding circles in an arena!
No horse can be considered fully "broke" until he is given the opportunity to log miles in an open trail environment. Let us take your horse to that level of training so that your lifelong partner is one you can enjoy and feel safe with as you explore the wonderful world of trail riding.