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[RC] Starting youngsters on the trail - Tx Trigger

Beth, I think you have a good plan in place for you and your horse. I think much of how we start new or young horses, depends on the horse, AND the riders ability and confidence. Remember, you have to be the leader and confidence builder for your young horse, in what ever they may deal with out on the trail. If you have apprehensions, your horse very well may pick up on that, and in turn, be nervous, apprehensive etc. So having a good base between you before you head out on to the trails is a good plan.
Now, I will add that I am totally different than most when starting a youngster. I will pony on the trail some, to get the horse used to the basics like crossing creeks, dealing with hills, footing etc. etc., but for that first ride, I usually haul the horse over all alone, and ride him with OUT another horse along. Hanks for outing to the trails was about the 15th time he had anyone on his back. I want a horse that does not depend on another horse to guide them, and if they are in need of "guidance", that I am the one to work them through it.  This method does not work for everyone, but it does for me. I ride 99% of the time alone, so the horse might as well get used to that right off the bat. In turn, I have horses who rarely have buddy issue, are bold, forward, and confident.
Again, do what works for you and your horse. Just like the horses, the riders all have different comfort levels, and pushing both the horses comfort level, and a riders comfort level at the same time, while the horses is just learning, does not always work well