Hey, Am I being stupid? risky rides?
Hey, Am I being stupid?
I'm new to horse and I have been riding for under 3 years.
Ok, I try to ride ever day regardless of the weather or time of day or night.
Yesterday, I was out riding in the woods off the trails in about a foot of fresh snow tracking a moose. When we were on the trails we were cantering most of the time. My horses get bored on trails and prefer to explore the woods. I like it too.
Then last night I took my other horse out riding in the fields and around the pasture. Even with the cloud cover I could see ok with the fresh snow.
So, here is my questions, is this high risk? should I not be riding like this? and I ride alone most of the time.:wink:
If you have to ask yourself whether you're being stupid about your safety precautions, I would assume the answer is that there are things you can do to improve the odds.
It's winter in northern New England. There are precautions everybody should take. Tell somebody where you are going. Approx. times. Direction of travel.
A fall could mean freezing to death. There is an awful lot of ice under that snow this year. Saddle bags with emergency items? waterproof matches, blanket, a flare...
I'm a wimp when it comes to cold so I don't bother until the thaw. I've also been injured on the trail several miles from home as a teen. I got lucky and my horse stayed with me to remount but it was excruciating riding back and I pay to this day for being stupid that one time. Will you be so lucky? What will you do? Will somebody know to come looking when the horse returns alone?
Think it out.
I do tell someone I'm going out most of the time. I have saddle bags with emergency items, a hand gun, and a cell phone.
The great thing about riding in the winter is there is no bugs.
The only thing I would caution you on is riding in deepish snow when you don't know what's underneath it. I am off-trail much of the time, but when there is snow on the ground is one of the times I prefer to stay on-trail, just because of holes, logs, downed fences and such.
I always think back to mountain climbers in the snow, falling down and getting stuck in crevices because they don't know they are there with the snow covering them. :shock:
As long as someone knows that you're out, you should be fine. I know that a few times both myself and a friend have told both the BO and his mother to come search for us if neither of us answered our phones on the first call. Both our horses were reliable trail mounts and bush-whacked like no others at the barn. Very sure-footed, we both know the woods (not just the trails), we know the area around the woods on 3 sides, and both of us have an amazing sense of direction. My friend's horse wouldn't even try to run off if he would've fallen off, but mine was still working on standing, but would never book back to the barn. We regularly explored the woods for possible new trails, and we were always the ones to clear them out in the spring. We went both on horseback, and walked down on foot. We were actually caught in a -huge-, horrid thunderstorm while making our Pine Tree Path, and we had to sit down in the woods under the trees we hadn't whacked branches off to stay even relatively dry/warm. Kinda wished we had taken the horses so we could've ran back, but BO called while they were in the barn tacking up asking where we were since it was storming.
That's the good thing about letting people know that you're going down to the trails and to call if anything seemed bad/suspicious. People usually make sure everything is okay if you're 5 minutes late if you give them a time, because no one wants to feel guilty because they didn't call when you asked them to and you end up in a creek or caught up in a fence in the middle of the woods for hours.
I tend to go out alone on trails, because I enjoy being inthe woods and just listening to nature's sounds, not chatting with someone the whole way. I definitely go out alone now if at all possible because Lucky's training I put into her is gone, and I constantly make up excuses for when her new owner constantly wants to come out with me. I'd like to buy her when I get out of college and leave for a farm/ranch, I don't need her new owner hearing me spazz out with words against her about how she ruined all my training.(; I don't have an issue risking the possibility of me falling (improbable) and not having anyone to drag me up on their horse, get my horse for me, or to send for help. I can generally land just right so that I don't break or injure anything too badly, and I know my directions as to which way the roads are and where the different trails are at. I may not know them by name, but I can describe exactly which trail I'm on, or where I went off trail, about how far, and what has happened to me. I'm also very tolerant of the cold; I have thick blood, and I generally prefer around 50-55*F for shorts and t-shirt weather, so the 30s in jeans, boots, and a hoodie shouldn't be too difficult for me to get through. I usually have a utility knife, lighter, cell phone, and wallet (ID) on me when I ride out, so I can start a fire to stay warm, call for help, and I have my ID on me if some hiker just so happens to stumble upon me while I nap or something. :p
But, I definitely agree with the snow issue for off-trail. I know quite a bit of off-trail as to where holes, logs, fences, etc are, but I generally stick closer to the trails since I do sometimes get paranoid that for whatever reason the time I don't have a horse, I won't be able to navigate as I do while I'm on the horse. Nor do I want to be responsible for a broken leg of someone else's horse if I can do something to avoid higher risks of it. I don't run on the trails aside from very few spots because of that reason as well. Her new owner might have no issue running her over h*ll and back, but I'm not willing to risk that. :p
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I would just make sure that you carry your cell phone on your body and not in a saddle bag in the case that you and your horse get "separated."
I say any time you can spend horseback is time well-spent. Risky or not.
Make sure you wear blaze orange, there are so many tragic hunting accidents each year. You want to make sure hunters can see you, jingle bells are good too. Also like to add, make sure you tell some one where your going and when you'll be back, and if you don't come home by a certain time to get help. Sounds like your saddlebag is well set up too.
Standish isn't all that far from me. Does cell service even work all over there? I have next to none out where I am. If I'm lucky I have enough juice to get a text message out.
I pretty much stick to the trails. This area is peppered with old cellar holes and wells. I've also got snowmobile trails that go clear to Canada if I so desire. The pavement on the roads also stops just above my house. Could get lost without ever bushwhacking easily enough. The deer and moose use the snowmobile trails like their own.
I generally ride alone. Just nobody out here.
I've actually toyed with the idea of putting a couple small pens and run ins out back by the river for horse campers but I don't think I could tolerate yahoos at this point in my life. If something howls out back I prefer it to be 4 legged and furry.
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