Trail Training - As soon as our horses are safe to ride, we hit the trails. The early days are just for exposure and slow, steady miles. We will take the horse alone and in small groups. He will learn to cross mud and water, he will start watching where he puts his feet. He will go up and down hills, learning to balance. We will repeat each obstacle until the approach and depart slowly and carefully. Nothing worse than one going through a muddy ditch slowly only to lunge up the bank at the end. That shows a lack of confidence, so we must repeat until he is comfortable.

As the horse progresses through his arena training, he will become much more enjoyable to ride on the trails. If he is soft on the bit, you can get him to lower his head going up a hill, thus allowing him to climb more effectively. If he moves off the leg, you can avoid trees and rocks. If he can turn on his haunches, you can make a tight U-Turn if you get in a tight spot.

Obstacle Training Checklist -

1. Exposure to the easier obstacles. The bridge, tarp, logs, poles to gain confidence.

2. Learn to rest” on the obstacles.

3. Approach, negotiate and leave obstacles in non hurried manner.

4. Be comfortable stopping and standing on a loose rein.

5. Graduate to moving obstacles, wobble board, cowboy curtain, slicker.

6. Water box.

7. Sidepass over pole. (skill #9, 13).

8. Open gates. (skill #7, 16, 17, 22).

9. Jog and lope in a smooth, comfortable manner. (skill #18.19, 22).

10. Back through the “L”. (skill #7, 16, 17)

11. Open gates. (skill # 7, 16, 17, 22).

12. Water box with board that sinks, spraying water up.

13. Pinwheel. (skill # 13, 14, 22)

14. Combo poles, sidepass, back, trun haunches, turn shoulders. (skill # 7, 13, 16, 17)

Trail Training Checklist -

1. Exposure to mud, water, hills, wildlife, and farm equipment.

2. Learn to go in a group or solo.

3. Properly climb hills with head down and descend hills carefully. (skill #9, bit acceptance).

4. Be comfortable stopping and standing on a loose rein.

5. Move off leg to avoid trees and rocks. (skill #11).

6. Move over to mounting block.

7. Neckrein. (skill #22).

8. Open gates. (skill #7, 16, 17, 22).

9. Jog and lope in a smooth, comfortable manner. (skill #18.19, 22).

10. Leave the group easily.

11. Be comfortable being passed.

12. Be comfortable with saddle bags bouncing, raain slicker and water bottles.

(expand on desensitizing skills)

13. Negotiate tight spots on a trail or off trail. (skills # 7, 16, 17)

Arena Training Checklist - Laying the all important rock solid foundation.

1; One rein stop and move the hindquarters.

2. Cruise at walk, trot and canter, ultra loose reins, rider waving hands.

3. Move hindquarters smoothly with head turned.

4. Figure 8’s and large circles at trot and canter.

5. Bending and softening on inside hand and leg at walk.

6. Stop with two reins, beginning of vertical flexion.

7. Back up, gradually getting softer in body and hand.

Ready for basic trails and obstacles under saddle.

8. Cloverleaf pattern at trot and later the canter.

9. Walk with vertical flexion.

10. Trot with vertical flexion.

11. Leg yield at walk.

12. Leg yield at trot.

13. Sidepass at standstill.

14. Start intro to outside leg to move shoulders.

15. Trot leg yields, no release transition.

16. Move hindquarter while on a straight line.

17. Turn on haunches, move shoulders, slow spin.

18. Turning off outside rein.

19. Simple lead changes.

20. Vertical flexion at canter.

21. Back circles and squares.

22. One handed neckrein.