I am looking for ideas and advice on getting my 7yo jumper comfortable on trails. I bought him about a year ago, and 99% of our riding is in an indoor arena. We have a few outdoor arenas on the property, but the footing is not well maintained so we rarely ride outside. We also have a few large hay fields out back, and we ride out there in the summer to cool down the horses after our normal riding in the indoor.
Sometimes my horse is perfectly fine out in the fields, but often he seems to get overstimulated? in that he’ll be walking along or grazing, and is suddenly rearing/spinning to get back to the barn, but will quickly settle back down when I prevent him from returning home. I would love to take him on trail rides this summer, and to be able to ride in the fields comfortably, but I don’t know the best way to acclimate him to working outside of the arena! I took him on a short ‘trail ride’ at a local show and he seemed very nervous, which makes me nervous, which is not a great combination.
In general, he is a very easy going and curious horse. When we head out to the fields he is happy to be the lead horse, walks forward and looks very interested in going out back, and isn’t balky. The rearing/spinning really seems to come out of nowhere, and disappears just as fast, and honestly it seems like his excited energy just builds up to a point that he doesn’t know what to do with himself, and that behavior is his release maybe? I think he would LOVE trail rides once he is used to the idea, but I’m worried about getting those first miles on him. He does better in the back fields with a very calm friend, but in general a lot of the horses I ride with are also a bit ‘alert’ in the field, which really amps him up.