I’ve always been a pretty self confident rider with a strong thirst for adventure. As a kid I can remember careening around pastures while riding bareback (ok, I still love taking my Quarter Horse for a good bareback ride). As I got older I became dedicated to dressage, which I love for the degree of perfectionism it requires and its classical ideals. Dressage cultivated my focused, detail oriented traits, but sometimes even dressage queens need to let loose! I’m always looking for new ways to satisfy my daring side. Plus, it’s fun to try something new with my horses and get out of the arena.

I’m lucky to board in a very horse friendly area where safe bridle paths are abundant. A couple months ago, I was trail riding through the neighborhood with Alex, a friend from the barn. The subject of summer shows came up. I’m currently taking a break from competition since I’m advertising one of my horses for sale so that I can focus on a new business I’m starting, but I must admit I miss showing. As much as I love the routine of going to the barn to be with my horses, I also like variety. Without having showing goals to focus on, I have been a little bored! Alex and I decided to start making a monthly off property trip to the nearby state park and equestrian facility for long trail rides.

We loaded up our horses early in the morning for the quick ten minute drive to the state park. My Quarter Horse, Shela quickly bonded with Alex’s Friesian, Hannah. The two stood patiently at the side of the trailer while we saddled up, making sure to bring along water for the ride. The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center is a sprawling facility especially compared to the crowded farms in Wellington. The bridle paths branch off into different routes, totaling about eight miles. The horses could get a nice workout without it being too strenuous.

A dense canopy of pine trees made the trail shady and scenic. Our horses eagerly traveled down the narrow path, ears pricked forward. They were perfectly relaxed, yet they both seemed to find the change of scenery refreshing. Maybe horses enjoy a little adventure too! After walking and trotting the first couple miles, we deciding to canter. Hannah led the way, and the sight of her thick black mane flowing with each stride as she galloped along made her look like she belonged on Game of Thrones! It was hard to say who had more fun; Alex and I, or our mares.

Trail riding away from home has become a monthly ritual, and it’s a great stress free way to take my horse off property. Plus there are no costly show fees! Riding long slow distances is a very important part of a horse’s fitness and cross training. I’m enjoying it so much that I’m considering trying a few hunter paces with the Palm Beach Hounds come winter!

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