riding on asphalt...

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riding on asphalt...

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  • Riding on asphalt road
  • Should an unshoed horse gallop on pavement

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    01-31-2010, 09:50 PM
Super Moderator
riding on asphalt...

I was reading a Clinton Anderson book today (I'm not a fan of him but he does have good things to say from time to time) and he had an interesting idea: that when you go out on a trail ride you should make sure to incorporate all three gaits to get the horse's mind really working and to get them thinking about rating their own speed.

Well, I liked the idea of incorporating that into my rides with Lacey but since I can only trail ride on the asphalt road, I want to make sure it'd be alright for her hooves if we were cantering on the road. She's barefoot and I don't want to cause her harm. I do trot her on the road sometimes but she needs canter work...
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    01-31-2010, 09:58 PM
I know hard top can be hard on the hooves. Not to mention the traction factor. I have my farrier use borum on Rosie's shoes. It gives her a little more traction on hard top and rocky surfaces.
    01-31-2010, 10:09 PM
If you are going to canter on asphalt then barefoot is better than shod as the concussion will be much more intensified with steel on the hoof. I would be cautious cantering on asphalt and do it sparingly. Surely there is softer ground you can canter on somewhere. I do short canters on my gravel road at times, but only on the softer edges.
    02-01-2010, 10:49 AM
My neighbor trailed a bunch of mares and colts up the road for a few miles and they were doing lots of cantering (just cause they wanted to, they didn't make them). I know several of them came up very very lame and were that way for quite some time after that. I'd also be concerned with her slipping?
    02-01-2010, 10:59 AM
It is ok to ride on roads & very hard ground, but you need to make sure that your horse is conditioned well for it. I usually start out walking on the road for ten minutes & gradually increase to short trots and canters. Not every day of course
    02-01-2010, 11:59 AM

Most of our riding hereabouts is on what you refer to as asphalt lanes.
We only do walk and trot on asphalt but rarely canter.

Most of our horses are shod together with studs inserted at the back of the shoe to assist with grip on the hills both up and down at both walk and trot. On lanes polished by car tyres, especially after rain, slipperyness is an issue.

In our opinion cantering on a continuous hard surface involves significant concussion to the horse's hoof. It is to be avoided for more than a few yards.

Also if you need to stop suddenly from the canter speed, the shoe has nothing to grip into even when fitted with studs.

On a downward sloping hill, if the horse in fright or cussedness decides to bolt and go from canter to gallop - then the horse can't stop until it reaches level ground - regardless of what traffic may be coming up the lane.

In Britain we share access over narrow (car width) asphalted lanes with other traffic ie cars, tractors, trucks, dairy cows, bikes and pedestrians.
So any pace above an extended trot is seen to be too fast.

    02-01-2010, 12:07 PM
Green Broke
Almost all of my riding is done on hard roads and I use plastic nail on shoes.

Since you go barefoot what about hoof boots?
    02-01-2010, 12:30 PM
I always heard that cantering on asphalt could fracture a Coffin bone. As A matter of Fact I think I read it in my Equus Magazine this month.
There isnt a grass shoulder on the side of the rode? I would be VERY careful cantering on he cement.
    02-01-2010, 02:41 PM
I've walked, trotted, and cantered my mare on gravel and pavement, barefoot and shod. It's never been a problem, after the fifty million times I've done it. And she's 18. As long as you don't get on the road and make her go for forever, she'll be fine. =]
    02-01-2010, 07:23 PM
Super Moderator
Alrighty. =)

I think I'll stick to just letting her walk and trot (trotting for short periods though) and not canter just because I don't want there to be any chance of hurting her. And what if she spooks? Oh goodness. =P

The road I'm riding on doesn't have much of a shoulder at all. It has a 6 inch wide ditch for water run-off and then most of the road either has bushes right near the edge or the edge slopes up quite dramatically. There is about a half mile stretch that does have a dirt shoulder so maybe I'll use that once it gets less muddy out.


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