I respectfully disagree. You can't keep horse under sun for the whole day in high temp + humidity + working non-stop just because "trail is just walk, no gallop".
"Good sense, as always, is your best ally when it comes to taking care of your horses. If you step outside and feel as though you have walked into a sauna, if the temperature is high, the humidity is high, there is no air moving and no possibility of any sweat drying, and your lungs are having a hard time dealing with air that feels wet and heavy, it's a good day to ride before sun-up, after sun-down, or avoid riding altogether." (Jessica Jahiel's HORSE-SENSE Newsletter Archives
Well, this is something totally different than what I was talking about re: "cooling a hot horse out" but I will address it anyway.
It can be very dangerous to ride an unfit, fat horse in hot humid weather. Most people's backyard horses are indeed unfit and usually obese unlike those fit trail horses going 25 to 30 miles a day with ease.
I will say that walking trails with fit horses even in the worst heat does not prose a problem for most healthy fit horses. Not to mention most horse trails are at least 50 % shaded and have water on them. I know this from experiance and hundreds of horses that passed through the stables. There was only one time we had a horse overheat and that was a young draft mare (heavy horses are notorously hard to keep cool anyways. They are much better in the cold due to their body mass) who was found to be heat intolerant anyway and was sold as a trail horse soon after to a private home.
Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj View Post
Horses are a lot more resilient then we give them credit for. I certainly don't agree with it, but the animals are always fed and watered, none of them are visibly injured while working, and no skinny animals are used. What is anybody going to do?
Oh, and when they've used them up, they get shipped for slaughter.
They are indeed. But that doesnt mean all stables are full of yahoos either with mistreated animals that once they outlive their usefulness always go to slaughter. We retired many older horses who worked for us a long time to great homes for free or peanuts. They are in it to make money but that isnt evil. Its supporting the workers, owners and the horses isnt it? The horses do get used but I have been to many stables where they take pretty good care of their horses. There are indeed some crappy ones also that do mistreat their animals however. Its hard to make that judgement just from what we have been told so far IMO.
The main stables I worked at took many horses that would have went to slaughter had we not taken them in, fattened and fitted them up and gave them some wet saddle blankets. We sold MANY MANT MANY horses to trail riding homes. I couldnt even count how many in the time I was there. Over a thousand Im absolutley sure and I rode almost every one of them.
These horses would come in many times spoiled and sometimes with training issues the average person could not fix, too fat or too skinny, skin problems, hoof problems, teeth problems...things like that. We fixed them up, medicated them, floated teeth and pulled wolf teeth, fitted them up and got them riding well an on the string. Some of them I would barely get ridden enough that we would graduate them from being a "guides only" horse before someone snatched them up and took them home. I personally bought many project horses at this time and made money riding and selling them. We never sold anything directly to slaughter unless it was deemed dangerous and unsuitable. I can think of 1 georgeous black and white mare who fit that bill in 10 years. We did trade in a few unsuitable or chronically unsound horses who didnt work out for us now and then to the local horse dealer and got replacements. We would get 8 or 10 at a time from the horse dealer when we would end up low on horses and invariously a couple of them would not be sound for hard work (all auction horses im sure. We got dressage horses, warmbloods, fresian crosses, well bred QHs and paints, appys. Our local trader had a great eye for a quality horse. Used to be the kill buyers/horse dealers made the most money off resale horses. That is what we would buy.) Most of the time, people came to us and bought steady working trail horses however and that is how most horses left the property.
We fed super great quality local hay and supported local farmers. They ate a custom grain mix twice a day and most of them got baths on a regular basis. I fitted all the tack personally and rarely had saddle sores. Girth sores happened sometimes on fat or uncalloused this skninned horses but we always healed them up with a variety of methods, y rigging and fleece girth covers etc (while riding them if they werent too bad..yes it can be done and they wont sore again if they stay in work with a clean cinch and a proper fit)
It isnt fair to pain all places with the same brush. Its a business, but without the horses they don't have much do they? Our horses were our bread and butter and as a guide, if I didnt give a good ride on nice looking horses, I didnt make much money. We worked for tips. There were occasional accidents, most not serious, but 99% of the time it was rider error or someone just literally fell off leaning away from the edges of the trail lol...Like the horse was going to suicide over the edge. *shakes head* I remember one lady who apparently lubed herself up with a whole thing of sunscreen wearing short shorts and slide right off the saddle when her horse trotted a couple steps to keep up. You can't cure ignorance and you can't keep every person from doing something dumb and getting hurt just as you can't control every horse every second. Even the most steady. There are always inherant risks riding a horse.
I think dude type stables are having a harder time doing the right thing and buying quality hay right now due to the economy and costs. Its a sad thing. The horse market is down and tourism down. I personally know several that have closed down and sold their stock off because they couldnt pay the bills or the feed. Those horses would have been better off staying at the stables. I hate to think where some of them are now. Its a bad time to be a horse without a job.