Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
Overcoming new obstacles (part ii)
I know everyone is thinking 'here we go again!' But the thing is while I enjoyed the over coming obstacles thread it degenerated into a bit of a farce and I came away feeling vaguely unsatisfied. I feel like people didn't answer the question so I am going to give a couple of real examples of my normal ride and I want to know what others would do in my place. This is a genuine question, not intended to be inflamatory. I will tell you what I do but keep in my mind any alternatives are welcome.
First case: On the track into my riding area about 300 yards in is a "puddle". This "puddle" is roughly five metres long, it has a sheer bank on one side of it and a sheer drop on the other. In the last three months it has bellyed two landrovers, one with chains and swallowed a quad bike. If you were to try and walk through this puddle it is over knee deep. Remember this puddle is on the access point of my ride - ie I haven't started my ride yet. There are three choices 1) Ride horse through puddle. 2) Lead horse through puddle - if you choose this you are going to spend the rest of your ride with your legs up to your thighs covered in cold porridge. 3) Turn around and go home. So your horse doesn't want to go in the puddle (which is understandable but unacceptable). Remember there is no going around it. What do you do?
Just to make it more interesting, the ground in front of this puddle is slippery, fighting a horse on papa clay chops it up and makes more mud! What do you do? Just to get the full picture there is clear track, lightly ascending, with good visibility for a couple of hundred metres on the other side if this "puddle".
Case two: You have ridden down a track, it is a steep track that has started off OK. This track is descending down to a creek bed where theoretically there is a ford. This ford has the easiest access for any cattle wanting water in the area and as the stock have got down to the creek they have all walked in the same place, creating cattle ruts. The track has degenerated into a network of three deep cattle ruts, ruts that are so deep that as you ride in the one your horse has chosen you have to hold your feet up to stop them dragging on the grass on top of the rut. Remember it is a steep track about a 30 degree angle. Then you reach the creek. Again there is no going around it and at this point there is no going back, it is impossible to turn around in these cattle ruts. In order to go forward your horse has to drop two or three feet into the water, this is papa clay mud water by the way - you can not see the bottom of the creek. The creek is not very wide but on the other side of it is a mud bank that the horse will have to leap up and there is not much room to manuoever for the leap. Oh, and you do NOT want your horse attempting to jump straight across 'cos that will break a leg (seen it, it's ugly)! You get to the first drop into the creek and your horse doesn't want to go on. What do you do? By the way this is a point where you do NOT want to get off and try and lead your horse because you will be directly in it's path if it try's to leap across instead of getting in the water (seen it, it's ugly). What do you do?
Here is my advice for these kinds of situations. NEVER let your horse fight! A fight will have to be fought on it's back and if that horse goes over, which it will (seen it, it's ugly), your screwed. These are situations where there is no room for doubt. If my horse even looks like it is going to try and argue I drum my heels in as hard as I can, I lash its rump with the lead rope I have attached for just this situation and I scream as agressively as I can "get your F***ing arse over there!" all actions performed simultaneously. Then once my horse is moving forward I drop the reins, hold absolutely still, too scared to even breathe in case it over balances the horse and I pray until we are on solid ground again. No spurs, no stick by the way.
These are normal situations for me, these sort of tracks are what I have to ride on. I do not go out of my way to get into these situatons, it is the reality of where I live and it is often very scary for horse and rider. So what would you do?