Trail Rides and Hard Decisions

We are in the midst of a strange and wonderful cold front down here (with temperatures hovering between 65 and 75), and it’s made for great riding. Shiloh and I have been trail riding our butts off for the past week and even went out twice on several days I had off from work. It’s so obvious to see how much Shiloh loves going out on the trail, I feel guilty I haven’t taken him out very much in the past. He perks up his ears, watching the trail ahead with anticipation. Sometimes he tries to turn down a gravel road in the opposite direction from home, almost as if he just wants to see what he might find down the road.


The first time I took him out he was a flaming ball of energy for the first twenty minutes, chugging up and down hills and throwing his head whenever he heard a twig snap. I went with my sister who rode my friend’s amazing trail horse Piper. I told her beforehand that this was not going to be a “fun” trail ride, but rather a “training” trail ride. I expected him to have panic attacks every hundred feet for the entire ride, but he eventually settled down to a comfortable pace and puffed out little sighs of contentment. I used his Easyboots on the front and even after a full week of riding on pavement and rocks, his hind hooves were barely chewed around the edges. I looked long and hard, but I couldn’t find a single bruise on his soles.

liza and piper

My lovely trail buddy on the magic steed Piper

Besides the great trail riding and weather, I’ve been attempting to follow the Olympics as well as one who doesn’t have cable can. Yay for last weeks news! Blueberry was larger than life as always. I was worried about him when he broke in the half pass (still a stellar performance), but he seems to have redeemed himself in the Individual Grand Prix Special. 93.857%! And can we talk about this:


She won a gold medal…and she’s getting married. Jeepers. I feel like such a loser now! I need to hurry up and get my duckies in a line.

And on the subject of nudging those pathetic bumbling duckies in a line, I give you the real meat of this post. I’m sure lots of you have seen this “Haves and Have Dones” Groupon commercial in the movie theater or on Youtube.

This clip hit me like a herd of stampeding percherons. Lately I’ve been down in the dumps about my riding skills. I feel like there is so much more to learn. Yes, I can “ride,” I can go and stop in all kinds of directions and speeds. But I don’t feel like I’ve gone as deep as I want to go. I don’t feel in tune or in rhythm when I ride. There’s just something missing. I feel like I’m stuck in first level limbo and I need to do something about it. And for this reason I feel like I can’t justify having a horse, especially a hot gaited horse like Shiloh. I know it’s a journey, and Shiloh and I have come so far already. We’ve both changed in the three years I’ve had him, and I think it’s been for the better. I wouldn’t change anything about our journey together.

One of my friends asked me the other day “what would Shiloh say if you asked him if he wanted to be a dressage horse?”

And I think he’s been trying to tell me all along.  I’m ready to release him to someone else that will give him a fun exciting life as a trail buddy.

And as for myself, I would rather put my effort, money, and time into getting up to speed with riding (taking more lessons and gaining more experience) than just having a horse of my own.

I’m trying to take this one step at a time. My main priority is finding a good match for Shiloh. I’m actively looking for a new trainer in the area where I can take some lessons on school horses and get as involved as I can. Also, I’m getting some catch rides lined up with my horsey friends. I’m avoiding horse shopping sites like the plague and trying not to dwell on the horse shaped hole I will have in my life if Shiloh sells.

However, the bottom line is that I’m not desperate and I’m not in a hurry. I’m willing to wait for the right person that I know will take care of him. So far I’ve only heard from one scammer and two hillbilly types that didn’t seem to take horse ownership very seriously, as if horses were just big dogs that could live in your back yard and survive on weeds and the occasional carrot. In the meantime, I’m still having lots of fun with Shiloh. I reined in the dressage funny business (his words, not mine!) and we go out on the trail most days, which he LOVES. He’s so relaxed and happy these days. He’s my friend and I want to do right by him.




  1. Horse Sage · August 19, 2016

    A difficult decision but it’s always right to find find the job where the horse feels happy and successful. If that’s not dressage, then he will be stressed and not very successful if you keep making him do it. You are making the right choice since he has told you he wants to be a trail horse (and yet your heart yearns to go deeper in dressage). The right home for him will appear in time; and the next horse will appear for YOU in time. Riding as many horses as you can in the interim will be an excellent way for you to learn and to think more deeply about what you need/want in your next dressage dancing partner. Best of luck in your search and your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • needforsteed · August 19, 2016

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m proud of myself that I finally made this move, but I honestly don’t care how long it takes to find him a new home. Whether it takes a week or a year, I’ll find someone that values him for the great partner that he is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Horse Sage · August 19, 2016

        Yes! And when you do find that person, you will know it and will feel peace about letting him go and moving on to your next horse partner. Meanwhile, enjoy those trails. Your next horse might not be such a nice trail horse. No one’s perfect 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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