I sent my ASB trail horse to the old owner. I would like to look again now for a trail horse.
I do not want a dead trail horse, I think. I want a horse that will go when asked, will stop when asked, and will not spook at deer and four wheelers. If the horse is easy to sit and pretty I would like it better.
What breed can I look for? What breed can I run away from? DD asked about TWH. I would like to spend two thousand dollars or less.
First off you need to realize that any horse can spook, buck, and bolt at any given moment. It doesn't matter what the breed is a horse is a horse it has it's own mind and can and will react to diffrent situations. I don't care how much training a horse has recieved they still can and will do all the above.
What is your comfort level with a horse? How much experience do you have? Why did you send your horse back to it's old owner?
People here can make suggestions but ultimately the choice of a horse is yours.
Shall I be a stick in the mud and suggest you do not jump into another horse (as gdolapp says; they all buck, spook, and bolt) and just get some seat time on different types of horses to boost your confidence and to truly figure out what to aim for? I say this because trail horses aren't necessarily plugs -just look at the horses that do competitive trail. You've got to have as much confidence as your horse.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
Ya know, I had a big old post typed up about all that is wrong with trying to pigeon-hole specific breeds as trail horses, how pretty colors have no bearing on a horse's trail ability etc ad nauseum but decided against posting it because really, at this point it sounds like you just need to learn how to trail ride and actually trust your mount before you worry about finding some magnificent steed to go charging off (spook-free) down the trail and off into the sunset. Doubly so after reading your previous thread about your Saddlebred you just sent back.
OP, you NEED a "dead" horse at this point. Those are the ones that DON'T spook (generally speaking, as any horse can spook at some point). Those are the ones that WILL go and stop when asked and those are the ones that will keep an under-confident rider (as it sounds like you are from your other thread) SAFE.
Let me tell ya, it is not always a trip down sunshine lane building a good, solid relationship with an independent-thinking trail horse. And that's what tends to make the best trail horses, independent thinkers that will tell you NO when they need to in order to keep both of you safe. The bridge goes both ways though, these horses will test you and try your patience as you go through the process of getting to know them and earning their respect. Add to that at the end of the day they are STILL prey animals and will, at times, revert to prey animal behavior and reactions. ANY horse will.
As for where to find a good trail horse try connecting with local trail riders and riding clubs. If you've got a branch of the North American Trail Rider's Association near you, they'd be a good place to start. People that frequent horseman's camps in your area should also be able to point you in the right direction too.
I do think it is important to know with whom you might be riding. If you have friends that all ride gaited horses it is not such a good idea to get a slower quarter horse on the flip side don't get a gaited horse if your friends all ride quarter horses. You want a horse that will keep pace with your friends horses.
My farrier is always selling really nice trail horses. Ask farriers in your area, they always seem to know about good ones for sale. I just commented on your other thread about your last horse -- I am sorry Morgan people, but I would not recommend one for you -- the odds of you getting a smart, stubborn one are too great. Same with mustangs, if you go that direction, make sure it's been well trained, first.
A friend of mine spent a lot of money on a gaited horse, then couldn't get it to gait. Now it's at the trainers. Make sure you hook up with gaited people if you are going that route, or buy one you know gaits easily already.
This is a flyer, but there are some very calm, solid OTTBs out there that like to go on the trail. Look carefully, and don't buy one right off the track.
I think there's nothing wrong with a nice Quarter Horse. There's a billion of them, and if you get a nice middle of the road using horse, they are great.
I would say Arabian, but if you aren't confident they can be a little hot for some people. However, they make great trail horses.
People do love their halflingers, too. Or a QH/Arab cross, there's another nice horse, in many cases. Or a draft cross.
Just stay away from rescues, and other situations where you don't know the horse's history. See if you can get a two week or a month trial period. Buy a horse someone has already trail ridden all over the place. In my area, people advertise the horse has been ridden in the Shawnee National Forest, as sort of a reference. Make sure the horse has been there and done that.
A warmblood, saddlebred, or an OTTB that has little riding off the track would probably be the worst choice for you right now.
Agree that you need to shop for a trail horse. We have a local horse rental outfit and they sell horses off their string regularly expecially at season end. But you'll still have to check the horse out - because horses that work at strings can get bad habits - some become herdmembers that tote a passenger so when you take them out alone they have no frame of reference and can be quite unfun. IMHO good trail horses are born and made - the right personality goes far and then correct training creates a calm, sensible and willing to explore mount.
Breed isn't that important, but some breeds are bred to be better candidates, plus some breeds are used differently so your show horse ASB wasn't a prime candidate to turn into a trail horse, a TB off the track won't be a prime candidate but could turn into a great trail horse with time and effort, a QH that's been doing barrels might not be a good idea to start with. And looks are great but at the end of the day I'd rather have gone down the trail at a comfortable speed, not dragged our hindquarters down the hill but gotten under ourselves, maybe gotten a little looky going over the dam but still walked out as asked, and not had the horse lose it's mind over anything and put us in a potentially harmful position.
Agree you want a horse with a known past - although sellers will commit sins of omission so a trial as was done for the last horse is a good idea. Participation in some organized trail rides in this area can be nothing more than good ol boys getting a heat on and racing around on a trail so you have to ask more direct questions other than "you've ridden him trail riding?" Will he go out alone? Would you put a beginner guest on him? If they tell you they'd put their five year old on him run away, that's code for the kid's been running barrels and doing peewee rodeo.
If I were you I'd look for a nice QH gelding, something in the 10 to 15 year old range.
Of course, I have one of those, and still got hurt at Thanksgiving when he spooked and I came off.
So, after you find that nice horse, find a trainer who can work with you both on how to handle spooks so nobody gets hurt. Conjure and I started working with ours in February and it's made a world of difference to us both.
Maybe it'd be better advice to say: find the trainer first, take a few lessons, and then let her help you find the right horse.
"We're only trying to understand what you want, people. If we're not supposed to actually lunge at you, you need to name it something else." - Dear Murray
FWIW,I think you made the right decision about your other horse.
As far as trail horses go, I agree with what others have said regarding the obvious, ie, that it is tried and true at going down the trail! I am a quarterhorse girl myself just because for my purposes (trails) they have a good smart working temperament!
I'd probably be looking for a 12-15yo gelding who is good with kids and who is currently being used as I would want to use him. you don't want a horse who is awesome as long as he is ridden hard 5x week, when you only plan to ride 1x a month! Or does well as long as he is on 24/7 turnout but you are planning on boarding at a place that doesn't offer that! Maybe a former lesson horse who has done trails! Sure, some ranches, trail operations sell horses but my concern would be about how the horse performs when he is NOt being ridden 3x day! I would not look at rescues!
I would not care about breeding (except what others have said) I would not expect a perfect PPE!
Here in montana, as I have suggested to others, www.montanahorses.com has been fabulous! They sell well used trail horses. And they note, this horse may NOT know his leads in an arena, but he will pack you safely down the trail!
In other words, a horse who is already doing what you want and living as you would provide.
Horse hunting is frustrating but fun! Your boy is out there!
I am sorry Morgan people, but I would not recommend one for you -- the odds of you getting a smart, stubborn one are too great.
I am a "Morgan" person, and he is an excellent trail horse, although needing a more intermediate rider.
I may have missed it, but make sure the horse you get is willing to go out ALONE.
Mine is a bit strange. He is SO much fun ALONE, but when we ride with others, he turns into a for-rent-type trail horse, with his head in another's butt and unwilling to move faster than a plod along. Alone, he turns into the "Black Stallion" but IS a kind, sensible guy. His idea of a "spook" is to stop, stare, and "what was that?", usually for 30 seconds, and then we are good to go again.
A good trail horse is ANY breed, ANY age. Mine was 16 years old when I bought him, was a stallion until he was 9 years old, used as a "camp" horse, but was better (they decided) for a one-person use. Now, at 20 years old, he is sound as a dollar, and I am thinking of eventing him at 'tadpole' levels.
Good luck finding the right horse. I had an OTTB for 13 years, and although I could ride him, and he was a decent trail horse, his big gaits and try-to-dump-me-under-the-guise-of-a-spook was unpleasant and confirmed that my next horse would again be a Morgan.
"Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt
I got on Dreamhorse.com and did a search for ranch horses.
I bought a 5 year old Paint gelding out of Wyoming who knew how to work, how to stay tied to a picket line every night for the whole summer, who had worked on cattle and mule drives, had team roped, etc. He is a solid citizen, kind, willing, friendly, and very handsome with flashy markings.
He is a great trail horse. I've also come off him twice on the trail in the 7 years I've owned him. Both times it just happened due to outside forces at play. One was a blowing plastic bag that came out of nowhere and landed on his head! I've never seen or sat on a bombproof horse, personally. As others have said, I wouldn't want that in a trail partner. I count on him to alert me to conditions ahead (moose, elk herds, bike riders, even a flasher in the bushes ahead)...and I count on his level head to get me out of the occasional sticky situation.
Ranchers/cowboys don't put up with much from their horses. They expect them to do their job without a fuss.
That said, he cost a lot more than your $2,000 target price. My safety, security and enjoyment made it a bargain anyway.
I do not want a dead trail horse, I think. I want a horse that will go when asked, will stop when asked, and will not spook at deer and four wheelers.
In *my* world, a horse that stops when you ask and doesn't spook IS a dead trail horse! I've ridden a lot of really good trail horses, and can't think of a single one who hasn't spooked under the right circumstances. Heck, two horses I thought were bombproof trail horses (and who really have been exposed to just about everything) were attacked by a carnivorous deer on the trail yesterday.
I've seen some very sweet and forgiving TWH. But I do agree with the warning to only get one if you're mainly going to ride with other gaited folks, both for ease of matching speed and so it's easier not to let yours break gaits. IME, it's also important with Walkers to really test ride before you buy--every one I've ridden (flat-shod trail horse) had a different feel to the running walk, and some almost feel like they're pacing.
My friend and i both got former eventers that have proven to be awesome trail horses. They get exposed to a lot...flapping flags, crazy decorations, etc. And because they have dressage training they are far nicer to ride IMHO than a horse who has no finishing in the ring. Check with local pony clubs and your area usea chapter and I'm sure you can find one looking to move down to a trail home under 2k. Mine was $1 but he's old. No spook, goes anywhere, road safe and took some kids thru pony club so he has no trouble packing my niece around either. Obviuosly not all will have the right temperament but if they do, you'll have an awesome trail horse. No trouble jumping logs on the trail either if you want.
A friend of mine has a standardbred that paces. She's a wonderful trail horse and pretty smooth too. If I was on a budget I might look there because they're not worth a whole pile of money (around here at least) so if you look around and pay a little extra you can sometimes find one that's quiet and done it all at a super reasonable price.
I have no personal experience with a standardbred but I have always heard they are nice and sensible. Again, though, you would need to get one that someone has already put some pleasure miles on, not right off the track.
They are kind of the overlooked ex-racers.
Note on the ranch horses -- I read some threads here on them in the past, some are great but others really need a job and actually aren't great for just poking around on the trail. So be careful there. They can have a different kind of training and personality than your average midwestern trail horse. A good one will be really pricey, too, if they know their job they are expensive! Probably not worth it, since you are paying for what you don't really need.
Sorry about the Morgan comment, you will find I am just not a Morgan fan, but that is my own bias from personal experience. I am sure there are some fabulous Morgan trail horses out there. However, depending on the bloodlines, they can be stubborn and test the rider, because they are smart.
I am a Morgan person myself but I wouldn't recommend one to a timid person looking for confidence booster- they are bold, fast, and super smart and without someone to take charge and direct all of that- well it can be big trouble (although whoever said they are stubborn is WAY off the mark- in the MANY that I've had/ trained over the years I've never seen a stubborn one). I'd go for something like a QH for you or a TWH.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
I have spent 2 months riding my trainers' horses. We are fixing me. I could not enjoy the ride on my ASB because I wondered what he would do next.
He was a good thinker who liked balls to the wall rides. He was not afraid of horse-eating deer or turkeys. He was afraid of a treehouse. We both had fun until we had to stop. He had no stop software installed. That made it hard to ride with friends. I do not have any.
We do not have dressage or ranch horses here. I can ride TWH, QH and Morgan here. Most QH that I know speed up to come to a stop. That is a dead trail horse. They also have their heads at their knees. I like them a bit closer.