Temperament: Buying the Right Horse for the Trail

In a discussion of proper temperament in a trail horse, words like solid and steady come to mind. You want a horse that will carry you over a trail with little to no fuss or fidgeting–a horse that is solid and steady in the bridle.
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Editor’s Note: This is Chapter 8 of Happy Trails: Your Complete Guide to Fun and Safe Trail Riding by veteran author and horseman Les Sellnow. 

If you’re going to enjoy trail riding, you need a horse with a good temperament. You may have the best-conformed horse in the world, with sound limbs and body, but that will matter little if the horse is mentally and emotionally unsuited for the trail.

In a discussion of proper temperament in a trail horse, words like “solid” and “steady” come to mind. You want a horse that will carry you over a trail with little to no fuss or fidgeting–a horse that is solid and steady in the bridle, even when distracted.

The following are some common traits to look for in a good trail horse, and some traits to avoid. This chapter also includes how you can test a prospective mount to determine its suitability for the trail

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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