It's Safety Saturday sponsored by Ovation Riding! I'm very grateful for the protection their helmet provides every time I get on.
This week I was feeling really inspired by a post I saw on Facebook, and I wanted to talk a little bit about it. It was a quote by Buck, and it said (paraphrased) "'I don't need all that fancy riding stuff, I'm just going to trail ride' is the same as saying 'I'm going to die out in the woods instead of in the arena'". This really hit home with me, because it's something that I come across a lot - people think you can just get on a horse and ride on a trail and be fine. The problem is, trail riding exposes your horse to a LOT. They have to be good with sudden noises, unseen or seen critters, water, uneven footing, etc. Going out with a horse who has a super dull left, right, and stop, and not much else is just asking for trouble.
You absolutely want to be able to turn your horse loose and have them plod along. But I also want my horses to be able to bend around a tree so I don't smack my knee, or sidepass out of a sticky situation, or place their feet exactly where I ask along a narrow edge.
These things aren't "fancy arena stuff" - they're things you teach your horse so you can ask for them when you need to. Sure, it looks cool and it's fun to show your friends when you can stop your horse just by saying woah, but if a rein snaps out on the trail, you'd better believe that "trick" serves a purpose. What are some things you've taught your horses that they can use out on the trail?