I recently had the opportunity to attend an Extreme Trail clinic at Bolender Horse Park. Extreme Trail is an equestrian discipline focused on testing the mind rather than physical fitness. The horse and rider must work together and trust each other to navigate through a natural obstacle course simulating a difficult trail ride.
No matter what discipline you ride, Extreme Trail is a valuable skill for both horse and rider. You cannot successfully complete the obstacles without first accomplishing mutual trust. Mark Bolender had wonderful insights on horse behaviour, and applying his techniques achieved incredible results for me and my horse. It is obviously unnatural for a horse to willingly cross obstacles that could make it vulnerable to predators, but with the right amount of patience and leadership, a horse will cross any bridge, enter any pond, and navigate any path for its rider. It was a beautiful experience and I recommend it to riders of any discipline.