Planning a 16KM walk/ride with my horse...

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Planning a 16KM walk/ride with my horse...

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    07-19-2013, 12:58 AM
Planning a 16KM walk/ride with my horse...

Hi, I'm new here and am planning to bring my horse home next month from the stable he's currently boarded at. It's about 16km's and we plan to start out early in the morning when it's cool (I'll probably walk next to him the first 8km's and ride the other 8km's). My horse has had the last year off and we have just started getting back into a workout routine.

Any advice for a long journey like this for a big Hanoverian that is not used to a long road hack? We are planning to stop half way and give him a rest/drink of water.... should I offer him any food as well? Should I let him drink freely or restricted? Thoughts? We figure it should take us 5 hours at the most?
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    07-19-2013, 01:15 AM
Green Broke
Hi Sally. Welcome to the forum. If my reckoning is right that's about 9 miles; people can walk about 3 miles per hour (2 for me probably as I'm pokey) so you've left plenty of time for yourself. The things that come to mind in your situation are: Will he stay quiet the whole time? If he gets insecure and upset at being too far away from home what would be your plan to handle that? Will traffic be a problem? Nothing worse than an empty gravel truck or something along that line whizzing by to wreck a good moment. Are you going by residences? If so, will things like barking/chasing dogs or local horses in their pastures be a problem? When you get him home, will there be company for him? If he's by himself and lonely he may want to head back to his old digs.

P.S. If indeed you can make the trip in three hours or so, you probably just need to offer him water along the way.
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    07-19-2013, 09:46 AM
9-10 miles is not a long ride for a sound horse at a walk. That is pretty standard trail ride length for casual riders, many ride longer than that.

I agree that the biggest concern will be potential behavior issues if your horse isn't used to being ridden out alone or near traffic. If you anticipate that being a potential problem, start working in it now.

If the weather is really hot you will want to offer him water along the way. He would likely be fine for 10 miles without water though. If there are no natural water sources on your route, maybe someone can drive a car to bring you water halfway? If you do have water, let him drink as much as he wants. I let my horses graze along the trail - not sure if you will be on roads the whole time, but if you will go by an area with clean grass you could let him stop for a snack.
    07-19-2013, 11:17 AM
My concern is him getting just so far from his barn and wanting to go home. Can you control him should this happen. If he is accustomed to being ridden away for several hour alone then it shouldn't be a problem. Can you control him if he starts rearing, crowding you, etc. If there is a possibility of this it's best to trailer, or have another horse and rider accompany you.
    07-19-2013, 03:59 PM
Thanks everyone! Being away from the barn is definitely not a concern as he has a lot of road hacking experience and I've been walking next to him on the road lately and he's fine. We've had barking dogs, fast cars, big transport trucks, creeks, bridges and he's fine. My husband is planning to meet me half way with a battery operated gator and we'll have water/supplies, my concern is more about water/food... should I offer food or no food? Is stopping for a flake of hay or a bit of grain ideal or harmful? This I don't really know. The vet said he's fine to make the trip home physically... I'm more of the concern as I'm not in the best shape (getting there though) so I'll probably be more sore than the horse will. We figured worst case scenario is I can sit on the back of the gator and hold on to him while he walks (and I get a ride).

He is very herd bound and can get upset if he's the only one in the barn but I haven't seen that behaviour since last year so I'm not sure if he's settled down more or what his problem was before. We did a 3 km walk last night on the road and he didn't seem anxious or upset to be alone. The trip home will only be a couple km's on the side of a paved road (it's pretty quiet) and the rest is deserted gravel roads (last 1-2kms is a grass laneway on our property).

One thing I haven't had him experience yet is if we pass a paddock that has another horse in it. He has a tendency to act like a stallion and want to run over and meet the other horse (and drag whoever is holding him unless there is a chain over his nose). However, this was behaviour he had last year when I first bought him and I haven't seen it this year. This is one field that has horses in it and I took him up to it last night but the horses were in so I'll have to try again on that one.

I'd prefer to avoid trailering as the last two trailering experiences he had were really bad and now he's hard to get on (it takes 2 hours to get him on and he is soaked in sweat from fear when you take him off). I haven't had time to practise getting him on another one, plus I don't know anyone that has a trailer close by where we could practise. Figured for now it's a better idea just to walk him home and we can work on trailering in the future when we get a trailer.
    07-19-2013, 04:08 PM
Green Broke
I still think, given your time frame, certainly offer water at the half way point; that can be adjusted if the day is turning hot to, say, twice instead of once. A flake of hay will do no harm and may be incentive to keep him quiet and standing if you're wanting to take a rest break. I forgot to mention earlier, it wouldn't hurt to have a little emergency kit available as well. And, when you do get to your place, will he have company?
    07-20-2013, 02:05 AM
What would you suggest in the emergency kit? :) I have another gelding that will be coming to the barn first (he's a super easy keeper and will be fine on his own for a couple days).
    07-20-2013, 02:22 AM
Green Broke
Just a few basic items -- extra lead rope, perhaps chain, a vet wrap or two, a little disinfectant wash, hoof pick, pliers, pocket knife, and anything else you might think appropriate. I assume you'll probably have your cell with you (I don't leave the house without mine) so have a couple of numbers (such as vet's) at the ready. I'm sure you won't need it but it's always nice to be prepared.
    07-20-2013, 08:52 AM
Green Broke
Most of my horses walk at almost 5 MPH...would that be about 9 KPH? I don't think it will take 5 hours. 2 1/2, maybe. Trot a little bit if the footing is good.

Have fun!!

    07-20-2013, 01:32 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by greentree    
Most of my horses walk at almost 5 MPH...would that be about 9 KPH? I don't think it will take 5 hours. 2 1/2, maybe. Trot a little bit if the footing is good.

Have fun!!

I think OP was planning on doing a good bit of walking herself, leading the horse, so that would likely stretch out the travel time. Gee, I've a thought -- maybe we should calculate for a hand gallop and the trip's done in an hour(Sally - I'm just joking about this - please do not attempt).

Good luck.

P.S. Trip pictures and update after completion would be a good thing to post.

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