I've been doing a lot of trail training lately and I've been wanting to write about why.
A couple of weeks ago Sora underwent a MAJOR personality change. As in my sweet horse that always tries her hardest for me and has no real behavior problems, other than being a little forward about demanding treats :D, changed into this naughty, pushy, animal who was interested in running into me, kicking out on the longe etc. I really couldn't believe it! I bought Sora for her personality and ability to learn quickly before anything else and I selected her very carefully as a horse/Arabian I felt I could train and live with and all of a sudden it was like a had a different horse.
With the extreme and disappointing change I posted a question on COTH asking for ideas. A few people hassled me but I expected it and really don't care (I'm a big girl :D) and there were some people who were very helpful and suggested a change in diet. Sora was getting Safechoice as recommended by my vet but, after talking to a few others who also suggested a change, I decided to switch to just hay with a vitamin supplement and I GOT MY HORSE BACK!!!
The real point of this is that when I posted on COTH I put my question on the Dressage forum because she will be at some point and I didn't really know where else to post it but when people started posting training questions I kind of had an epiphany.
I realized that I bought Sora as a FUN training project and I never thought we would go straight into Dressage. I planned on starting her really slowly and then spending a year or two just on trails and bumming around. I knew I had no business buying an unstarted horse and starting right off with Dressage but I also knew that I was capable of turning a horse into a good citizen and not teaching her any habits that would bad for Dressage. Some people were scolding me for not longing her in a bride, which I understand, but I realized that right now I don't want/need a horse that has to be longed in a bridle, nor do I feel capable currently of longing Sora in a bridle without ruining her mouth, balance etc. My plan has always been to get a trainer before I do any real Dressage. That was my plan all the way until this summer when I started to stray from that path lol!
The problem was that I started reading more forums, blogs, books and magazines about Dressage and was falling more and more in love with it. I was starting to feel incapable of training horses because I was comparing myself to those people who have Dressage experiance and are training their horses.
When I came to the above realization I started spending more time on trail, endurance forums and boy do I fit in there better right now lol! I feel like I actually have something to contribute and when I started working with Sora on trails we both started having fun together again. Before she wasn't really capable of getting out on the trails because steering and stopping were still an issue but now she is really good at those things and perfectly capable of trail riding.
It's funny how a little bit of a new perspective can change your outlook :D Afterall, trailriding was my first love :D