Somewhere along the line this industry has it seems made some of those that trail ride as their main pass time with their horses, to feel like second class citizens. That is absolutely not true in any way , shape or form!
Those that do, have to have better trained horses than any horse that just has to hang a rail for a class in a show. They are exposed to so much more in their environment, terrine You name it ,they are going to be seeing it if ridden enough. It takes a lot of training to make a great trail horse and there is no error for tack, in that they have to wear it much longer than a 15 minute class. Proper conditioning is mandatory for a good horse that has to hold up for hours on end. The responsibility for the trail rider is huge and they know this most of the time to if they have been doing it long enough.
As a youth this was part of my parents program that our own show horses and the clients all spent lots of time on the trail, with less in an arena . I kept the same program for the show horses in my own business later. I still to this day feel it was a huge part of our success with all the horses in the show ring, not only for the horses staying fresh, happy and not just becoming drones but also kept us fresh as the teachers for the horses too.
Just about all your advanced horsemanship, for those working to upper levels can be done on the trail too, its the best training ground one could ask for in my opinion.
So take pride and have dignity in that you trail ride!!!!!