Leisure trail riding. The clip clop of your horse’s hooves ambling along a field or forest trail gives you time to look around and enjoy the scenery. You trust your mount to manage the trail terrain and keep moving until you rein him in. What if this experience intensified to a higher skill level? Would you enjoy partnering with your animal in overcoming obstacles and new situations to build trust and and greater safety?
Rebecca Herron, of Sheridan, Oregon, was born in the Lone Star state of Texas but found herself in Newberg, Oregon as a youngster. She quickly attached herself to the horses she encountered and learned to love and work with them. During her teen years Rebecca met a lady who took an interest in her and taught her more formally about training these large animals.
The specialty of competitive trail riding caught Rebecca’s interest. She watched and worked with other riders and soon began to show in arena trail classes where obstacles and objects were set up to challenge horse and rider. One particularly memorable incident at a show required her to dismount, hold her horse steady, pick up a burlap bag containing a live chicken and remount, all the while keeping her horse under control.
Eventually Rebecca became a show judge, and for 25 years worked in that capacity, specializing in trail riding judging. She appreciated the opportunities to encourage the building of horse and rider trust and safety. A good trail horse is a safe trail horse, one that can respond immediately to commands and cues, despite unexpected circumstances.
The Mountain Trail Challenge at the Eugene Oregon Horse Center rekindled Rebecca’s desire to compete in the arena when she saw the complicated courses that were developed to simulate outdoor settings. Rebecca also competed in Central Oregon and McMinnville, Oregon rides, winning many of them with her trusty stead J.D., a black Appaloosa.
Two years ago Rebecca realized that there were no obstacle trail riding facilities in the Willamette Valley area. She and her husband Mike owned 80 acres of old farmland. Why not develop their own trail riding business? They began to cultivate four distinct areas on their land with unique challenges: arena, water, woods and gully plus the distraction of live cattle.
People began to come slowly at first, but once they experienced the thrill and challenge of the courses, they returned with friends to enjoy the beautiful setting and the chance to work on trail riding skills. Rebecca offers individual training to those who are interested, advocating creative and independent thinking in preparation for the unexpected on the trail. The courses are open to public riding also.
The emphasis at Perrydale Trails is safety and control. As Rebecca stated “a 1200 pound horse must always be under control or the rider risks injury.” To the new rider, she reiterates that there is no need to be competitive at this skill. The primary achievement is being able to effectively communicate with your horse and through experiences, bring your ride to a higher level of comfort and trust in new situations.
Contact Rebecca through her excellent web site perrydaletrails.com for more specific information, reservations to ride or for instruction. There is a fee for the facility use but group rates discount the cost. You won’t be disappointed by this well constructed training facility and are sure to return again and again for the pleasure and challenge it offers. Rebecca guarantees it!