Self-sufficiency while trail-riding means dismounting and remounting as little as possible. That's why we're testing Charmer's willingness to work a gate. His rider Abby leans over and swings the gate open, and you can see by his expression that he's wondering what she's up to. But even though the gate is swinging toward his haunches, he isn't reacting on his own by moving away. He's standing still and straight, waiting to take his cue from her.
Mindy Darst shares her complete program for sizing up a hunter prospect's possibilities as a trail horse in the April 2004 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.