Posts Tagged ‘Trail Riding’

What to look for in a Mountain Trail Horse

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Over the last several years, trail riding has become very popular. Trail riding can be very different from region to region and the horse required to safely trail ride in those regions is different. Riding at lower elevation and flat open country is not as demanding on the horse and riders can get buy with horses that have had very little trail experience. When riding in the high country, it becomes increasingly more important for the rider to have a very well broke, gentle, bomb proof, sound horse especially if the rider is not very experienced. Safety is paramount as most times emergency services are not nearby. For this reason, riders should always use the best horse available to them.

Good mountain horses are generally older horses (13 years old or older) that have seen it all. They have been over the mountain. Below is  a list of tasks that any good mountain horse is comfortable doing or having done on them as well as tasks the rider should be able to do.

1. Rider can mount and dismount from either side without assistance.

2. Horse will cross streams, step over logs, step onto ledges etc. without balking.

3. Horse should not spook at the site of rain slickers, jackets, tarps, or other gear.

4. Horse should not spook at the sound of rain slickers or jackets being put on.

5. Horse should be able to trail with other horses without conflict.

6. Rider should be able to maintain complete control of horse at all times.

7. Horse should have no buck in them.

8. Horse should have good feet free of cracks in the hoof wall.

9. Horse should be comfortable with having ropes wrapped around his feet.

10. Rider should be able to easily bridle and saddle horse.

11. Horse should not shy away from rider especially when dismounting.

The gentler the horse the safer the rider will be and the more a  horse has seen the gentler they will be. It is also good while not a necessity if the horse can be packed on. Generally if a horse is a good pack horse he has seen and heard just about everything from tarps to rattling pans. For this reason good pack horses also make excellent trail horses. An experienced rider can spend time working with a horse to get them comfortable with different obstacles and objects that will help make them a safer mountain trail horse.

If you are looking for mountain land or equestrian property where you can trail ride, visit