Every rider needs a good trail dog, especially if you ride alone.
Some dogs don’t enjoy the outdoors—they’re couch puppies and would rather stay indoors. My dogs—nearly all of them rescues from the county animal shelter—all love being outdoors. When I ride, my dog usually puts in twice the mileage my horse does. I live in the foothills—below us is the high desert—and while the horse and I usually stay on the trail (even if we go off-roading, I follow game trails or water courses because otherwise I get lost), the dog explores smells. The horse and I travel in the bottomland, you might say, while the dog goes up the hill on one side, comes back down, and goes up the hill on the other side. By the time we get home, the dog is one tired, happy girl.