Out on the trail with Fan of the Month Carolyn Cieciwa

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Yesterday you learned about Carolyn's horse Jazz and how they found each other. Today find out more about Carolyn's riding and how she came to love trail riding.


How did you get into trail riding?

My family has chosen trail riding as our 'thing'. We camp and picket our horses and travel mostly in Michigan to different trail camps. We've been trail riding since I can remember, so I guess because that's what they do, that's what I do, and I love it. We get together before trail season starts and select weekends and locations for the spring and fall. We have a decent size group of family and family friends that come on these weekend rides and it is a blast.

Carolyn and Jazz hitting the trail.

Carolyn and Jazz hitting the trail.

Does your horse have any fears while out on the trail?

I haven't been able to find any yet. She's cautious if the footing is poor/challenging or if she sees a quick movement off in the distance, but I haven't been able to find anything that has caused her fear. On judged trail rides we've been exposed to water, squawking turkeys in cages, deer, tents, moving bags/tarps, llamas (which caused many horses trauma and nightmares...), etc. and no response other than "how slow/fast do you want me to walk by, drag, pull, or stand next to these things??"

What is your favorite part about being out on the trail?

How quiet, pretty, and relaxing it is. Unlike showing, I'm only riding for myself. I'm not riding for a judge or anyone else. It's comfortable and it's therapy really?a stress reliever. I competed on MSU's stock seat equestrian team and it was a great experience. I met some of my best friends, I got to learn to show (I'd never shown before and Jazz is not a show horse) as they take riders of all showing experience and require you to show on horses that belong to the host of each show?it levels the playing field and really judges how the rider can handle a horse. It was a great experience, but I'd never trade trail riding for any form of show or competition.

How often do you compete in Extreme Cowboy Races?

Another day out on the trail.

Another day out on the trail.

I've only competed once in an Extreme Cowboy Race. It was an actual Craig Cameron sanctioned Extreme Cowboy Race like the show on RFDTV. I'd seen it before on TV and knew she could do the obstacles. I found out there was a farm very close to our barn that was doing a sanctioned event and I had to sign up to add it to our list of things we've done together. We always compete to win, but never expect it. We always compete for the experience and we have accomplished so much more with that mindset.

What is your favorite part about riding?

For me riding is all about relaxation because I mostly trail ride. It's time I get to spend with my horse that is away from the barn in a pretty outdoor setting and fresh air. The trail poses challenges to keep you alert and helps build a bond between horse and rider that other forms of riding can't compare to.

Check out Carolyn's winning video.

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