Why do I ride? Why does anybody ride? Who do you suppose was the first moron to say "Hey! Watch this!" and jump on a thousand pound, fear driven, prey animal's back. "Ungg, you out of you mind?!?" Crash. After they finished burying Ungg's bones, and saying a few words "Ungg was crazy bast@rd", most probably went on with their lives, except for the one or two that thought "Wow, that looked like a BLAST". I am one of them.
I ride for fun. I don't care how I look. I don't care how my horse looks. I ride for my enjoyment and my horse's employment. It's fun to ride in the sun. Its fun to ride in the snow. It's fun to ride in the rain (though I admit I HATE to saddle a wet horse). I trail ride.
We have the great fortune to live within walking distance of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest. We can just saddle up and RIDE! The trails are many, and the trails are beautiful. The rides are easy or the rides can be challenging. They are not called the "Sandy Mountains", they are rocky. We mostly ride at a walk.
The livery across the street from us has needed us to take out rides for them from time to time in the past, and we could end up taking out riders of any age, experience or discipline. On one sunny day several years ago, the manager at the livery called and said "Bill, we have an experienced rider that we need you to take out. She owns, and teaches at, a hunter jumper school in Texas, so she can ride." We saddled up, and off we went.
We went up and over a section of trail we call the "Goat Trail" in the national forest. I was just moseying along on my horse when I heard behind me, well, an assortment of calls for help to all aspects of the Christian deity, both old and new testament. When we got to the bottom of the trail, she leapt off her horse and ran back up the trail with her camera in hand. There was NO WAY she was going to let go of the saddle horn long enough to take pictures, so she had to go back on foot to take the pictures.
As a "hunter jumper" rider, she wasn't used to steep rocky trails, and told me on the ride back she doubted any of her horses could climb that trail without serious threat to life and limb, but for our guys it was just a "walk in the park". She, on the other hand could leap obstacles at a dead run on her horses. I can guarantee that I would soil my breeches if I even approached a jump like that (and my horse would probably stop, bend back and bite me if I tried).
If I lived in an urban area with no trails, I might be interested in jumping, or dressage, or any number of "arena disciplines", just so I could ride. Point is, we "horse people" ride where and how we can.
Ungg would be proud.