While doing my 20 mile jaunt with Ambrose yesterday I tried to get him to "use the trail". I have included a link to my previous post about using the trail above, I think that this skill is important enough to re read it. Ambrose has a pretty amazing trot and for some reason he prefers that gait. He also has a very nice cantor but at anything under about 12 mph prefers to trot. What I am trying to do is get him to get into a nice cantor when he can, using the trail to determine when he does it. It will take some practice because for him the cantor is after "12MPH". It is kinda funny but you will be in a nice little 8mph trot and ask for more speed, he immediately and quickly accelerates to about 14mph, all at the trot. For some reason that kept be amused for some time, MONK who has learned to "use the trail" will immediately go into a little canter from the 8mph seems to much more efficient, at least that my perception.
Ambrose was very good, no shying or acting stupid but he was very aware of all the cattle, and kept his eyes looking in all directions, not the conditions I would want to race in, but always good for training.
I think that "using the trail" is good for the horse and the rider and makes the TEAM much more efficient. You are having your horse pay attention, mixing up the gaits, moving along with the terrain rather then against it.
Ambrose and I will keep practicing, actually that is how you should ride all of the time, you can make it very fun, for both horse and rider, it will increase your overall speed without taking much out of the gas tank.