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Luxury Trail Horse

How would you define a luxury trail horse?

I just saw an ad for “luxury trail horses” in a “western” magazine. No horses are currently for sale, and no address is given for the “ranch,” which seems to be in the east, not the west.

I know how i would define a luxury trail horse. Sure-footed, experienced, sound, will lead, follow, or go alone. Smooth gaits, a good mind, can jump, no spook, stands for mounting without a block, not more than 15 hands.

I wouldn’t care what color, or whether the horse is AQHA, APHA, TWH, Morgan, or almost any other breed. Just be sound, sensible, and smart.

What, to you, is a luxury trail horse?

If it’s luxury I want bling! It better have fancy horse markings and put up with people who think horses are a motorcycle.

Luxury trail horse to me means pretty and smarter than the dolt that paid too much for it’s color and trail savvyness. Properly priced if it is pretty and dolt responsive, I might add. There are many saints amongst horses.


I would agree as to your general definition. I would add could ride out with a group on a narrow trail and not get silly. I would also include in the definition as well, if you ride in an urban area where you have to share the parks/trails with a variety of users such as runners, bicyclists (both standard and e-bike), stand quietly while trimming low hanging branches or moving downed branches. I would also add attractive (just because it’s always nice to be on an attractive horse).

There are horses that go out on trail, and there are Trail Horses. They are not always the same. I always say that a good Trail Horse is as highly trained for his job as a Grand Prix jumper is for his.


To me a luxury trail horse would be as @paint_hunter and @Kinda_Kooky described with a couple of things added: turn out and beautiful equipment. The trail horses I have ridden in WYO (pack trip through the Wind River mountains) were excellent --but I wish I’d taken my own brushes with me --guests were “allowed” to brush the horses, but no equipment to do so easily found. I am a bit of an old school rider --I never take my horses out of the barn without a thorough brushing, clean equipment (wash my bit after each use) and myself in respectable (mostly) clean riding clothes. Riding my own horses on the public trails, I have seen the opposite of “luxury trail horses” with the worst ever a woman who had a horse on the trail with SOLID tail of burrs and SOLID mane and forelock. She herself was riding in sneakers, pj bottoms and a hoodie. (To me as a fox hunter, hoodies are dangerous wear as the hood can catch on low branches as one ducks under).

I was raised with the mantra that if one has time to ride, one has time to groom.

My idea of a luxury trail horse includes pristine turn out!


I agree with you all, I would only add loads perfectly


This is the first thing that came to mind when I read “luxury” trail horse:


:rofl: “O Bunhilde, you’re so lovely!” :star_struck: :heart_eyes:


I once witnessed a terrible accident with a lady wearing a hoodie, neck ties knotted in front of her neck. It was on an orienteering ride competition, and her group was cantering. Her horse passed under a low branch, branch caught the hood of her sweatshirt, and she was pulled off her horse & dangled by the strings, now tightened beyond any hope of un-knotting them because her weight was hanging there.

Another rider had to come back and pull her onto her horse to relieve the pressure.

At the end of the ride potluck, her neck looked like someone had burned it with an iron.

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And now I’m never riding in a hoodie again…thank you!


If I saw “luxury trail horse” in an ad, first of all I’d run screaming, because ‘luxury’ and ‘trail ride’ don’t go together. I suspect that the phrase, used as a selling point, means ‘fully trained to the point that any half-intoxicated inexperienced yeehah rider can still ride safely.’ I.e., the horse is a saint.


“Luxury” trail horses seem to have become a thing in the last 20 years. I saw an ad at one point before the pandemic, for a farm in North Carolina, that seemed to cater to women of a certain age- late 40s to early 50s. You know, the empty nesters with disposable income.

They had horses of all shape, sizes and colors, and provided long, well produced videos on every horse for sale. I will say most were tall, like 16 hands was common. Nothing like marketing the flashy, 16 hand horses to older women with the money to buy them. Not all that practical for the trail, as once you get off to pee, you also have to be able to get back on. Most were not registered, so no way to track a horse’s history or accomplishments, or problems. The price tag on each horses- an astounding $35,000.

Now mind you- this was prepandemic.

I am not sure how you would define a “luxury” trail horse. I am an avid trail rider. My horses all move forward when asked at what gate I ask for, know what the word whoa means, stand to be mounted, load on any trailer- whether it be a step up or ramp, stand tied no matter where you leave them, as well as stand hobbled. They are not spooked, for the most part, by wildlife, and I have encountered bears out on the trail, in addition to snakes, coyote, deer, and people.

My older horse came from a university breeding/ training program and I paid $2,100 for him 15 years ago. He was raised across from the university’s football stadium, that boasts attendance of 110,000 on game day. He spooks at nothing and never has, but when you are raised with fireworks and marching bands what is there to be afraid of??? He is stands about 15.1, is sorrel, so not the most flashy color, but he certainly isn’t ugly!

I bought my 4 year old as a 2 year old for $1,000 almost 3 years ago. I sent him to my trainer for 3 months for the cost of $1,000 per month. He came home knowing his leads, riding out by himself, working cattle and being roped off. He loads on anything- no questions asked, and I moved him 850 miles back in July. We stayed at a farm temporarily for 4 days until we could make settlement on the new farm, and he acted like this was something he did every day. He is a bay paint, all of 14.2 hands, so not exactly boring, but not exactly exciting!

I firmly believe the marketing of “luxury trail horses” is nothing more than that- marketing!

Are they broke, broke, broke? Possibly, but you don’t know until you get them in certain situations.

Are they pretty? Sure, they have to be to get the high dollars they are asking for! And pretty and broke are not the same thing!

Are they guaranteed? Doubtful, and my bet is if you attempt to return one, you won’t get your money back. If you are lucky, you might get to swap it out for another horse they have for sale plus you will need some added cash.

My trainer sells horses. Horses he rides daily to check his many, many head of cattle. Sometimes they ride directly off the farm, sometimes they haul to farms in different counties. They ride through rough terrain. They work cattle. They get roped off of. They get ridden in groups and alone. I have never been disappointed with any results of his training from any horse I have sent to him. His sale horses start at $7,500 and go up from there. No where near $35,000!


A horse that would go over any trail I pointed it at and have a calm, totally unflappable mind no matter what we encounter ( on said trail) .
Go up or down or over any obstacle ( within reason) so well that I wouldn’t ever worry.
Sure footed, no spook E.V.E.R!
Could care less if they were first, last or in the middle of the pack.
Still have enough spunk in reserves if I wanted to go fast.

I have never had one but it would be what I would want. I don’t think of luxury as " bling" but more of being able to enjoy any trail ride because the horse is pretty much perfect…


Well, a luxury car isn’t one with better handling, cornering, or brakes, it’s one with bling and comfortable stuff. Translated to horse, particularly trail? Slow, gaited, flashy color, perhaps?


Well, a beautifully trained horse ridden by a fool won’t stay beautifully trained.

That said, in many instances there is a bit of a divide between the sad sack poorly conformed horse that ends up on a dude string or a “light trails” home, and the beautiful nicely built horses that are unused to leaving the arena (this split also holds true for QH).

On the other hand, there are still ranches breeding very solid horses and getting all kinds of mileage on them, horses that a really nicely put together and excellent trail horses.

To me a luxury trail horse is just a stupid marketing term, because you don’t get “luxury” animals. You get luxury objects.

That said, I have a nicely built Paint mare who has comfortable gaits and has developed into a good back country horse, proven herself on some fairly gnarly mountain terrain. She isn’t quite fit enough though because our home base is flatland. But she’s kept up with good ranch horses on 5 hour mountain rides which is about my limit too!

I certainly get wanting to have a trail horse that has good conformation, flashy color a plus, has the basic training to open gaits etc and a gogogo attitude without being flighty. I would steer clear of anyone advertising luxury though and do my own shopping.


A horse that would go over any trail I pointed it at and have a calm, totally unflappable mind no matter what we encounter ( on said trail) .
Go up or down or over any obstacle ( within reason) so well that I wouldn’t ever worry.
Sure footed, no spook E.V.E.R!
Could care less if they were first, last or in the middle of the pack.
Still have enough spunk in reserves if I wanted to go fast.

This is my definition of a “luxury trail horse”. A willing horse with a good brain. I am fortunate enough to have two - and they are both pretty as well.

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Luxury cars do have better handling, cornering, brakes, and performance. They are also safer than economy cars-- adaptive headlights, cruise control, lane departure, blind spot detection, etc. were all introduced in luxury vehicles first.

And also there’s bling too, I guess.


A horse to ride on a trail between splendid hotels through some excellent vineyards via a couple of Michelin starred restaurants. A luxury trail. Horse.


Haha @cutter99 – I know exactly where your older horse came from!

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Luxury implies a nice ride.

I’d want a sure footed horse with good conformation and quality gaits. They would need to be easy to load and travel, easy to groom, pick feet, and tack up. I’d also throw in that they would need to be able to go in a snaffle, a curb, AND bitless without huge shanks/chains.

You could have a horse that’s super flashy, but has GOD AWFUL gaits. At that point, it’s not a “luxury” horse to me anymore.


I would love to know because my undergrad university also had a stadium and a marching band, and i used to ride trails near there.
Note: @cutter99, I’m not asking. Just enjoying reading about your own university-graduate equine athlete. Who, I agree, is very handsome, as is his paint buddy.
The horse I rode on my campus was a sorrel too.