What qualities and characteristics make a successful long ride horse?
It takes a special kind of horse to succeed in a long ride. Every day on the trail or road presents new sights, sounds, obstacles and challenges for the horse to confront and overcome. Where a trail horse knows that at the end of the day or weekend he will get to return to his familiar home and routine, a long ride horse has no such comfort.
Long ride horses are of any breed, size, and age (though most are 6 to 16 years old). Before their expedition, they are typically trained to ride in traffic, crowds, and in as many new situations as their rider can think of to prepare them for what they could encounter on the trail.
Looking at the horses that have accomplished remarkable journeys in the past, there are certain innate physical and mental characteristics they share:
Confidence - to meet new situations
"Left Brain" thinking - to solve puzzles
Trust - in their rider's judgment
Stamina - to continue miles and days on end
Willing disposition - to attempt what is asked of them
Calm - not "spooky," even when fearful
Strong - to carry rider and gear