Where can I go for unguided trail riding?
I have been riding in groups many times, but I would prefer to go alone. Being around other people just isn't my thing. I need space from humans to think. I live in Albany, NY but would be willing to travel up to 2 hours in any direction to find a place that fits my desire. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should go or where I can find information? Google's results aren't helpful at all.
Are you bringing your own horse, or looking for a place that "rents" trail horses?
There's a big difference - a lot of places, even those that will rent out a trail horse and let you go out on your own, may require you to go on some guided rides first so they can tell that you are competent enough to go out on your own and will not get yourself or the horse hurt. They also want to be sure they're not about to let someone take one of their horses out on trail and run it into the ground.
Not suggesting you would do such a thing. . .but sadly, there are people who would.
A lot of people show up even at guided trail barns, puff out their chests and call themselves "experienced riders," then it turns out they don't know one end of a horse from the other.
If you're just looking for places to ride your own horse, there are a number of horse trail directories online, such as www.horsetraildirectory.com, that provide descriptions of the different campgrounds and trails, the terrain, etc.
Thanks for the reply Jolly. I'm looking to find a place that would let me ride theirs, because I unfortunately cannot own my own. I would be more than willing to ride with someone a few times so they know I can ride well enough to handle things on my own for a couple hours. I am by no means "experienced" because I have only done group riding around 10 or so times. I would like to learn how to care for horses before and after riding as well. Which I'm sure they would be willing to teach a little. Is the link you gave just for trails where you bring your own horse? I'm having trouble finding a good directory to search what I'm looking for.
I honestly don't know of any trail places where you can go out completely alone without a guide. The liability issues simply aren't worth it.
No offense but with only 10 rides under your belt and lack of horse care experience I don't think you should ride out alone. You wouldn't know what to do if your horse got hurt, it doesn't sound like you can even tack up on your own, and you're definitely not going to be a skilled handler of things go bad.
I totally get that you don't care for the social side of rising - I often rises alone myself, but I don't think you realize the potential for danger either. Maybe consider taking some lessons? They can teach you about grooming, tacking and cooling down. Many places would also be happy to teach you how to take vitals and do simple wraps until help came. They will also educate you on the wildlife in your area and the appropriate way to respond to predators.
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I went to an unguided when I was little. But my mom knew the owners... I don't know of ANY now. Especially as someone with only '10 guided rides' under your belt, you might have a very hard time finding what you're looking for.
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We went in the Smoky Mountains while on vacation a while ago. It wasn't even fun! Those horses knew their jobs so well they walked the mountain trails alone and we were without a guide. They periodically checked on you, but even if you tried to guide the horses yourself they weren't budging from what they were taught. It just depends on what kind of place you can find. Maybe try finding a barn where you can take lessons and go trail riding on some of their horses around your area? I think that would be the best bet and maybe it could turn into some sort of lease. Good luck!
77ashes- Your post and someone's reply reminded me about something that seems to come to mind a lot.
Your 10 rides don't give you enough experience to ride alone,yet. When you are on those guided trail rides, keep this in mind:
-Those horses know what their job is
They ride the same trails every single day with the same horses and same guides
-They are always with their friends
Since most guided rides don't allow you to take a horse out on your own, the horses they have are usually surrounded by their friends and that creates a much better behaved, calm horse
-Assuming that the rides are the most relaxing, enjoyable experience you ever had can be a dangerous false sense of security
What I'm getting at is this... horses are completely unpredictable. It does not appear that way when you are on a guided trail ride. Riding a horse with others is quite a different than riding out by yourself. Not only will your horse likely be on a MUCH higher alert because it has to fend for itself without its friends, but if the wind blows the wrong way, or wildlife appear... it could be scary, or even deadly. Not to mention, horses learn to respect their handlers. If you go out and get on a horse that doesn't know you, and he starts to bolt or buck, it will be harder for you to pull him back to reality safely vs. if he knows and trusts you.This will all be learned with time as you learn how horses think/feel/learn.
There are riders on her who have owned horses for 10+ years and some who still won't ride out alone 1) because of the horses difference in behavior when by itself and 2) because of the danger that comes with not having anyone else around should it go wrong. 10 rides barely counts as a beginner. I think what you want to do is admirable and something you should set a goal for.
Continue to do trail rides, maybe even offer to help around one of the stables as a volunteer until you learn more. i'm sure the volunteers occasionally go out for rides together, that would be a great starting point.
There is so much to learn about horses, the things they're scared of (things that move,and things that dont) you have quite a road ahead of you before you'll be ready, but you can get there with dedication.
Here in NZ, we can plan and ride almost anywhere we like in the hills and mountains.. even on high country Farms and stations, we just ring the station manager and ask permission.. very rarely are we declinded and are then free to ride where ever with NO liablilty issue, if we fall off and hurt ourselves that our risk not theirs..
I am saddened to read how regulated your country is.. and I guess in time our country will follow suit but for now its totally free to travel over.
Who needs rules and regulations... not me...!
Canterbury- you are mistaken. Speedracer does not mean with your own horse, but rather with a rental horse that is owned by a private stable. I'm not sure about where you live, but here you have the option of paying a certain amount of money to 'ride' a horse for an hour or two with a guide and pack of other riders on extremely broke horses. You basically just play follow the leader around a few trails at a walk (SOMETIMES a trot) and head back.
If you have your own horse, there are thousands upon thousands of miles of trail, beach, mountain, and prairie to ride in. But only if, as I said- you own that horse. Sticking someone who claims to be an 'experienced rider' on your privately owned group trail horse, slapping them on the butt, and sending them off to do whatever they please is not only risky but down right stupid. It isnt just YOU that you are risking the life of, but also the horse that you're riding...THEIR horse. It could tear a ligament, break a leg, crash through a fence... No one does that anywhere that I'm aware of, except for maybe uninsured backyard 'trail riding' stables.
Who needs rules and regulations? Just about everyone. If I'm not mistaken, thats what keeps us from going out and having gun-fests wherever we want, killing eachother and creating general havoc. No need to put others at more risk than they can already find themselves.
Back on topic.
OP- as said before, we highly doubt that you will find somewhere that is like what you are requesting, and if you do- it is most likely not a good idea. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that you have to settle for nothing. At least in my area, we do have facilities that will take you on 'adventure' trail rides, where you ride out with just one other person- your guide. No other people who are paying for rides, just you, your horse, and someone to watch you just incase things get a bit messy. At the facility that I know if in my area, they let you ride to the extent of your ability (I have gone there and after passing a few 'tests' that the guide gave me, I was allowed to canter along the wider paths and even have a nice little gallop at one point) and its quite fun. Be warned that it IS rather expensive (and rightfully so) and you have to sign a wager, but its very fun and very relaxing. At this particular farm it costs $50 per hour, and you can ride anywhere from an hour to all day. The horses are well behaved and extremely well trained as well. If that interest you, shop around a bit and try to find a farm that has those services. You might be suprised at what you find.
If you can't find one...well, then I guess that gives you a reason to come to Katy, Texas! xD
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