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Horse & Ponies : Training & Competing Last Updated: Oct 25th, 2006 - 08:57:26

Where To Ride Your Horse
Mar 4, 2006, 11:10

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You've saddled up your horse for a relaxing day in the saddle when you suddenly realize that you have no idea where to ride him outside of that same little paddock. Are there any more exciting options? Actually, there are plenty of great places to ride your horse, especially if he doesn't mind taking a ride in the horse trailer first.
The best place to ride a horse is on the local trails. However, you don't want to just pick a trail and start riding. If the trail isn't marked as a horse trail, you could come across people on bikes, motorcycles or even four wheelers. This could turn a pleasant afternoon in the park into a terrifying experience for you and your horse.

While riding on a horse trail doesn't guarantee that you won't come across an inconsiderate person who has ignored the signs and is tearing down the trail on his bike, it certainly lowers the likelihood of this happening. If you really enjoy riding on the local trails, you may want to consider competing in endurance competitions with your horse. These competitions are like one long trail ride.

If there aren't any trails nearby, you can still find places to ride. You may want to try approaching the owner of a large parcel of land to see if he or she will allow you to ride. However, be sure you have permission, as nothing ruins a ride faster than having the police escort you off of private property because you were trespassing.

Unfortunately, if you live in a city, there are probably few spots nearby where you can ride your horse. Look for a large riding stable with an indoor ring so that you can exercise your horse on a regular basis. This way, you'll both be able to handle waiting until you can make a trip to a more rural area.

Another great place to ride your horse is at a horse friendly campground or resort. As more and more open spaces become developed, these campgrounds and resorts are becoming more popular. Riders literally take their horses on vacation with them and enjoy a week or so of riding in beautiful surroundings.

Of course, you can also ride your horse in competitions. If formal competitions aren't your style, find groups that compete for fun, instead of for points. Many college students compete in informal shows and will even borrow horses from friends to compete.

Finally, if you like being in the spotlight and you have an outgoing, steady horse, then you may want to try riding your horse in parades. You will have to ask riding groups in your area if they participate in local parades, since few parade organizers are interested in trying to coordinate ten or twenty separate horse and rider teams when they already have so many other groups to keep track of. If being in parades is fun, you may want to look into riding in a drill team. However, you should be aware that drill teams work long hours to develop a precise, complicated routine. 

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