Breeds for 'mountain climbing'
 
 

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Breeds for 'mountain climbing'

This is a discussion on Breeds for 'mountain climbing' within the Horse Breeds forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category
  • Most sure footed horse breed
  • Most sure-footed pony breeds

 
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    08-26-2008, 01:54 PM
  #1
Foal
Breeds for 'mountain climbing'

Hello,

I am new to the forum and new to horses. We live in northern New Mexico, USA. We are considering some day (read: in a few years) getting 2 horses.

This will be for recreational purposes, primarily riding them in the mountains. An important point for me is that I like to go off trail (which is what I do when hiking now). Is this possible for a horse, or do they need trail?

Our neighbors have Appaloosas, which are sweet as can be to us. Another friend has a Tennessee Walker, stunningly beautiful, that he rides on trails.

Quarter horses here are popular, but mostly for ranch work.

Also, I've read about the 'natural shoeless' movement. I think that would be a direction I'd be interested, not that I know much about it.

I guess am a seeking advice on what would breeds should we be looking at. Advice either here in the forum or on which books to read is greatly appreciated. The books can be on a range of subjects, form the aforementioned 'breeds' to how to care for a horse, what features to build in a barn, ...

And just to give you a little more about where I'm coming from, I am a dog person, I can read a dog like that back of my hand, but I've only been around horses for a couple months now and am trying to learn to read them.
     
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    08-26-2008, 02:08 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
Tennessee walkers are awesome trail mounts. Mules are really great too... QH's and Apps, Arabs are all pretty sure footed as well... For trail my fave has always been the walking horse....
     
    08-26-2008, 02:34 PM
  #3
Weanling
It depends VERY much on the actual horse as well as the breed. I've known warmbloods to be VERY sure-footed, while I've seen horses (Arabians, Mustangs (primarily mixes), Tennessee Walkers, and other "sure-footed" breeds) trip all over themselves.

There are a ton of great breeds out there that are absolutely wonderful with trails.

It takes several years to a whole lifetime in order to "read" horses. I've been around horses for most of my life... and the most I can read is their personality (drugged and not). :P

Various books that could help would be various Horse Encyclopedias, or books on Horses and Ponies. A good one for general care, ownership, riding, etc. Would be the "Everything Horse Book". I have that one, and it's really nice. No real pictures though. If you're wanting pictures and more information on breeds, go for something a lot thicker and bigger, like the "the Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies". I also have that one. Both are really nice, but for different purposes. One has more on breeds and "general" info (EoHaP) and the other has more on ownership, what to look for in horses, and stuff like that (EHB).


When you're looking for a breed... look at three main things:

1. CONFORMATION... most important. Especially if you're doing a lot of trails and mountain riding. You need a horse that is well-put together, so that he/she can be strong for the ride.
2. Training... a horse can be any breed, but with the right training, can be almost as sure-footed as any ol' mustang raised wild on the colorado mountains. Get a horse that will be calm on the trail, yet one that is SMART, and knows how to get you out of scrapes.
3. Bloodlines... you want horses with sires and dams that have been proven to be parents of extreme trail riding. Sires and Dams that are smart, sure-footed, and calm.

And follow those in THAT order. And don't get a horse if one of these things is "out of place" or "missing".
     
    08-26-2008, 02:42 PM
  #4
Started
Mules are great on hills and trails: agile with upright, super-tough feet. Living in the Appalachians, I've seen them tackle hills the horses barely make it up. Gaited breeds are super-smooth for long trail rides. Walkers, mountain horses and fox trotters to name a few.
     
    08-26-2008, 02:46 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara
Mules are great on hills and trails: agile with upright, super-tough feet. Living in the Appalachians, I've seen them tackle hills the horses barely make it up. Gaited breeds are super-smooth for long trail rides. Walkers, mountain horses and fox trotters to name a few.
I agree with this... if a trail horse is what you are looking for... I would go for mules or gaited horses.
     
    08-26-2008, 02:50 PM
  #6
Showing
I think a gaited horse, & esp. A Tennessee Walker, they make great trail horses.
     
    08-26-2008, 03:41 PM
  #7
Foal
Interesting, I'm inferring that a gaited walker is a breed that has minimal vertical movement in their step, and thus more comfortable over distance.. Never even occurred to me, but that's why I asked :)

Also, it occurs to me that, on the trail, deer, elk, and bears will be encountered (they do on my hikes). What can be said about this? I would guess that deer and elk elicit different (calmer) responses than would a bear (or mountain lion). Assuming there is an instinctive fear, can it be unlearned?
     
    08-26-2008, 03:58 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
All horses kind of vary in response to wildlife... My TWH will just snort while my QH will spin and prepare to RUN when we cross deer or turkey! I havent come across a bear yet, I've seen foxes, rabid raccoons, and bobcats... Those actually werent "scary". What is scariest for most horses are the Hoof eating deer and most dangerous of them all are those hideos eyeball pecking turkeys!!!

I've been surprised by wildlife on trail and actually screamed while old black horse just looked around like I was a total moron. In his day he could cross rivers, climb steep grades, cut across ravines... find his footing just about anywhere... He was one sure footed guy when he was a youngun... At 29 he still does pretty good getting around, just doesnt carry a rider anymore... What with arthritis and all...
     
    08-26-2008, 04:19 PM
  #9
Foal
>>and the most I can read is their personality (drugged and not)
Horses are often drugged? Sorry for the naive question.
     
    08-26-2008, 04:33 PM
  #10
Weanling
Haha... it's not that naiive. But sometimes when people are trying to sell their "out of control" horse, they drug it so that it acts calm when people go to visit it. But when the new owner brings it home... they realize that the horse is living H...E... double hockey sticks.
     

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