A dream or bad idea? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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A dream or bad idea?

I've rode horses before but it's been a few yrs ago. I've always wanted to experience America and been saving money for a few years for a rode trip. We drive cars way to fast to enjoy the beauty the land has to offer. Would it be crazy to buy a trail horse and ride from the east coast to the north west then head south then back east? I know it will take a while to complete but I'm young not married and no kids so why wait for retirement for an awesome trip that I can't truly enjoy it's full potential? Maybe I've watched to many Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies but it's something I want to do. Am I crazy or should I go for it?
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 07:43 AM
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Wow...what a dream!!

However, reality must show up here....

YOU, you need to be phsically up to the challenges, stress of all day in the saddle and a very competent rider and knowledgeable horseperson to deal with whatever is thrown your way.
Physically, if you haven't ridden in some time, you are way out of shape to do more than a 2 hour trail ride and be able to comfortably walk around after dismounting let alone getting up the next day and doing it over and over and over again and again.
As for the horse(s)... again a special temperament in the animal is needed. This is grueling work to ride 8-10+ hours a day. You need an animal who is conditioned to riding for long periods of time, on not so nice roads and locales sometimes and through some very unpleasant weather conditions.
Realize that those that do these "road-trips" average around 25-30 miles on a good day with a good moving walked pace, you're not galloping around doing this, but steady walking along sides of roads where you are permitted to travel by law{not all roads can you ride a horse on}

Now... you also need a support system of places to stay for you and a barn to rest in for the horse, trailer following you for the "what-happened", a vet, a farrier... food, water, restroom facilities ()....tip of the iceberg here...

You here about these cross-country treks on horseback...you don't hear about the support staff/workers and logistics people working the background to make it seem simple...
Romantic, yes... realistic, maybe... the movies, forget those movies of the glorious trailrides.. they are fiction...
Expensive to do, I would think so. What you ask about will possibly take more than 1 horse to accomplish...they need to have rest time to of more than overnight.

Possible...yes if all the pieces of the puzzle fit snugly together....one loose edge though and the dream can become a nightmare.

You want to see the beauty of this country for coast-to-coast, sea to shining sea... you can do that by getting off the interstates and drive the smaller roads, drive someplace and then go take a trail ride... seriously. I've seen much of the USA and rode in most every state and type of terrain by doing just this...

Keep your dream alive but be realistic in your expectations and how to achieve them, plan accordingly.
Reach for that star and rainbow... but remember to savor the small things close to home that are just as precious as we go about out daily lives.

Best of luck.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks this is exactly the answer I was looking for, I knew I wouldn't travel speedy and it would take some a yr or two to complete. I just don't have nothing going on in my life and time to have an adventure. I recon I'll walk across america instead of riding or driving
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 01:13 PM
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What a crazy, awesome dream you have there! It sounds like it will take a lot of careful planning, but if you get it right...

Originally Posted by Justaguy View Post
I recon I'll walk across america instead of riding or driving
Why not ride across just one state, or ride a little bit in each state you go through?

If you end up doing this, it would be really cool if you posted pics!!

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 01:20 PM
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I met some German guys who were biking across the US. They said that in the main, they were treated very well, and I think this is usually true. As a group, Americans are very hospitable to foreigners and admire that kind of gumption.

riding across Americal would take much more planning and knowledge than walking across it. your horse cannot sleep just anywhere, cannot walk just anywhere, needs a special person to reshoe him and on and on ..

Why don't you just rent a car and drive to some places where you can do week long treks on horseback intot he moutnains?
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 01:39 PM
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If you really want to cross the US slowly, do it by bike. You will not have to worry about feeding it or paying vet bills, and the occasional new tube or tire is WAY cheaper than shoeing

Even then, that long a bike trip is more of a physical challenge than a way to see the scenery. (I've done a couple that were in the 1000 mile range.) Frankly, there are a lot of quite boring bits that you'll probably want to get through as quickly as possible. Also, the really nice bits aren't all laid out in a nice straight line. I'd suggest either a medium-sized motorcycle or small, economical car, into which you can pack tent & camping gear. I've done both for extended trips (several months), though not across the whole country. Longest was Southern California east to Michigan, then back through Upper Peninsula & Canada, then down the West Coast.

PS: And then there's worst-case scenarios. If the bike or car breaks down, you can always just have it towed to a junkyard, hop on a bus or plane, and head home. With an injured horse, you might be facing months of rehab in a strange area, probably (unless you're independently wealthy) without sufficient resources.

Last edited by jamesqf; 10-16-2013 at 01:43 PM.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 01:57 PM
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I think its a nice dream... But not practical. Traveling the US isn't very "horse friendly". What happens when you want to stop to see or do something? There is no horse parking. Roadside assistance cannot repair a thrown shoe. Will you be "roughing it"? Are you going to bring a second horse to carry your gear? How will you be feeding there two mouths? Are you going to buy this horse or try to barrow/rent one?
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 02:45 PM
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Didn't anyone hear of the woman who rode Coast to Coast for Cancer?? Tracy Delp is her name, She started her journey in Washington State, and rode across the country it took 7 seasons to complete!!! It ended in Cape Henlopen, She covered 12 states! I read it and cried, i would love to join her on another ride in the future. She relied on the kindness and generosity of the public. You must read this article it's in Horse Force Monthly Feb 2013. It's a wonderful inspiration, and believe me, yes i'm married but i would love to ride across country and view everything the way our founding fathers had when settling the west. Keep dreaming big!! :-D
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 02:57 PM
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Yes it is crazy. Though there are a small handful of people who do things like this.

He's a bit corny and looks like the Tasmanian Devil training a horse but he's got guts, the number of miles he's covered on the types of horses he rides. Seeing what this dude does kinda makes me feel like a pansy LOL!

It helps a heck of a lot if you already have some experience living on the road without the benefit of a car. If not then simulating some scenarios with a bicycle would probably be good training, so that you can gain some experience with considerably less risk. There are about a million and a half things you have to know and twice as many that you won't be able to predict. You've got to be sharp and able to handle anything! But it is a cool dream. I've had the same one myself on occasion. :)

Last edited by Ian McDonald; 10-16-2013 at 02:59 PM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 03:03 PM
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I think it could be done, but it'll take some -serious- planning, mapping and more than one horse. Even if in the old days people were riding across the continent, you have to realize that they weren't abiding by horse-restricting laws, speed limits and asphalt roads dictating where they went. They could go pretty much wherever they felt their horse could take them and they didn't face the hardships of today's prices. They'd ride into a town, be able to find a livery, blacksmith, and an inn, hang out for a few days and leave again for the next town. In today's world, you'd be reduced to finding a local who'd be willing to short-term board your horse and checking into a Holiday Inn.

So I'd think the first logical thing to do to even -see- if this would be possible, via laws, regulations, human crap, would be to sit down with a map of the states and find routes that you would be able to take. Don't necessarily look for just road-side routes, look for maybe old trails that you can take or fields (for example, you can ride through the Pawnee Natl Grasslands from Colorado to Wyoming, never touching a road) that you can use to connect, etc. Really get into the nitty-gritty and do your research. Make a list of the states you want to ride through, look up their laws and regulations regarding people riding their horses on streets, search for boarding barns that you could contact for a short-term board of a few days (that'd require a phone conversation), whether or not the city near that boarding barn has amenities for the average tourist, etc. Be sure you also include vets, farriers, and a human doctor in your research so that you can tend to both your horse and yourself. Think of the worst possible situation and prepare for it. If you can find a horse-friendly route to take with all the amenities that you need that take you through the desired path - it could very well be possible, depending on your funding.

Then you'd have to start the other big part of this. Getting yourself a bomb-proof horse or two, a support system, and your physical condition. These guys are right, you're going to need someone who can follow you, or at least be on call and in your general area, if the worst happens. In the old days if you fell off and broke your leg, you either figured out a way to (barely) survive, or you died. In today's world, we're surrounded with technology that could save your life but wouldn't do you much good if you're in a black-zone. (where cell reception doesn't exist.) Figure out a system of communication, like say.. you have to call and check in with the trailer hauler at least once a day. If you don't call, they should worry and know what general area you'd be in so they can start searching for you. Etc.

Your body needs to be shaped up, toned up and prepared for long rides. Believe me when I tell you that your body would Not appreciate a sudden change from 0 to 8hrs in the saddle daily. You could start with lessons or buying a horse and starting riding in increasingly longer increments. This goes both ways for you and your horse. Your horse should be in the best possibly physical condition and, just like you, would need to become accustomed to long periods undersaddle with someone on his back. It'd take some time to find a really good packing horse like that, in my opinion. You'd need at least two of them (arranging to meet up and trade horses out at one of your destinations) so as to prevent too much stress from one horse. He'd need to be traffic proof, bomb proof, spook free, all that stuff, and a good packer. All of them would be.

You'd need to be proficient in first aid, human and equine, have some basic survival skills in case you ended up camping (shelter building, campfire skills, hunting small mammals) and you'd have to be relatively good at identifying wildlife, mammal, reptilian and of course, insects, so as to prevent getting bitten by something poisonous. You'd have to be able to understand, learn and accept the hunting season and laws of each state you were in, possibly needing a permit in each state or whatever, and you'd have to pack plenty of food (yours and the horses') and water for you both while keeping a good supply of simple camping gear, such as a sleeping bag, matches and a multi-tool (the rest can be found out in the wilderness.) You'd have to be comfortable with this notion of camping, as I'm certain there's not always going to be a road for you to ride on. You'd need to invest in good, high quality tack and clothing for you and your horse. Your tack would have to be specially fit and designed to work best with your horse and prevent at least some stress on his back, and you'd need good thermal clothes in case it were cold, and good cool clothes in case it were hot.

You need to be proficient at reading weather and knowing when a storm is brewing, whether it's a tornado-forming sort of storm or just a bad rainstorm. You need to know what the average climate of each state you're riding through is. (Does it drop to single digits each night? Soar during the day?) You need to strategically plan according to season and climate for each state and what you're comfortable riding in. Your horse would have to be a hardy sort of horse, like a Mustang, instead of something like a Thoroughbred. You HAVE to know your horse's daily limits.

You'd have to study and memorize your planned route, estimating how many days it would take to reach your destination and have a group of people waiting for your arrival. Your horse would be your first priority, getting him checked out by a vet, farrier, and into his boarding facility to rest. (I'd give him about a week before even packing out again). A doctor, a friend and a hotel for yourself, leaving yourself enough opportunity to replenish your supplies before packing out. Taking a week in each destination would be a great way for you to travel around (by Car) and be a tourist too. You need to be fair to your horses and know when they've reached their limit, setting up a way for them to get home without having to be ridden, as well as having your next "duck" set up so you can continue on your trip without too much a delay. You need to have an opt-out plan set in place for yourself if you decide you're done. You also need someone in tune with the current news, who can update you on anything happening with government (closing down natl parks), states (natural disasters) or your family (worst case scenario).

Lots of planning. I, personally, think it's a doable idea. You just need to be smart about it, do your research, and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Lol.
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