So I want to trail ride
I have ridden English most of my horse life. I had to give up horses when I first got married because of money. I always vowed I would have more horses. I always thought that I would ride English and start with lessons...dressage and pick up some jumping again once I got in shape. Now that I am way older and way out of jumping shape I have realized that trail riding seems more my speed now. What I want to do is to be able to go state parks and different trails and ride. Other than a comfy saddle what do I need? What should I be doing with my horses to get them ready? What is a good distance to start at for them? I don't want them to get sore. Should I take them out on the road here? Any tips would be appreciated.
Oh just so you know I have a grade mare(front shoes because she toes in and is not level) a QH gelding (shoes all around can't go barefoot something about the back of his hoof i cant remember) and for my boys a pony who wont be doing anything soon because she has a foal at her side right now.
Well it depends how comfortable you are and how well their trained. I'd start in the pen making sure they listen to all you're aids. Then I'd ride around the yard, doing a walk, then trot, then if you're comfortable a lope. I'd make sure again that you have all control and that the horse trusts you and listens to all you're aids. If you're going to be riding alone I would start by just taking them out of the yard then go by the yard twice before actually returning home. It keeps them guessing where their going and then their not gunna try to run home so much.
It really depends on the horse to know how fast or slow these steps will take, don't rush them or you'll have a hot horse on the trail and thats no fun. Remember to relax and enjoy yourself!
Oh I started in a western saddle before English so it isn't foreign to me. We have a great saddle for my gelding that I spent months searching for. He is a hard fit. I just need to get a suitable one for my mare. She should be fairly easy. Thanks for the tips though :) My horses aren't western trained either. My mare was a recip mare until I got her and my gelding was a race horse (started in dressage off of the track)
The beauty of trail riding is that it come pretty naturally to most horses. An even a 10 mile leasurely ride is usually not a big deal for most horses.
The big deal for most arena horse when they show up on the trails is all the boogy men they've never seen before. So if you can work on gaining a horses trust. get them used to you asking for them to try and getting them to willing try, you wil be miles ahead. Also make sure you can get them to spook in place or at least give you a 1 rein stop 100% of the time when you ask for it. Your horse will spook the first few times out on a trail. They are seeing things they have never seen before. The trick is to not let them dump you or run away with you because of the spook. I'd be more worried about control than the horses condition.
Most horses will quickly become tourist. They seem to enjoy a trail ride.
just a note : You dont have to just ride western for trail riding, i ride english and have only ever trail ridden.....
but any way...........:D
I would suggest if you can, find someone who has trail riding experience, or has a horse that is used to being ridden out. Ask if you can take a ride with them. If you and your horses have never been out before then having someone experienced rideing with you can be a great confident booster for you and the horse your on.
If road riding, i would stay on the grass verge if there is one. If you can only ride on the road ( no grass verge ) stay far left but just off the edge as it will have loose stones and such sitting there.
Again i would suggest riding with someone experienced for the first few times.
Also a small kit of things that are good to take with you are:
- a hoofpick
- peice of twine ( incase something breaks and you need to tie it )
and some people ride out with a halter and lead incase they want to give the horse a munch on grass, or shoulr something happen to your bridle you will have that spare.
hope that helps some :D
Thanks that does help a lot! I don't have anyone to ride with except maybe my neighbor but her horse doesn't like to lead so I guess that defeats the purpose ;) I have taken them out before in a pasture near a road and on my road. Gelding never flinches and my mare is pretty good too. A jack rabbit popped up right in front of her and she just tensed up a little.
As far as scary things what should I be desinsitizing them to? They are good with plastic bags, we have 5 dogs... any other exercises as far as that goes?
There are a couple of "Despooking" videos on youtube. Clinton Anderson does a good one with a feed sack. Check them out.
Well.....as far as desesitizing...........as much things as you can think of.
I have had to ride past a fire engine before while road riding :lol: and i have had a car back fire while i rode past :?
the more common things you can encounter and may want to desensitize the horse to ......
cyclists, not just plastic bags but black bags, tarpolin as well. Puddles, small children, and if you are able to pigs, ( some horses are terrified of pigs which can be a big hassle if you have to ride past a paddock of them ) and purhaps motorbikes.
And for road riding there are many car hazards to watch out for too.
for instance, a couple :
As some cars slow down they dont go around , they kind of putter along behind you before they descide to go past. This usually made my horse uneasy, wondering what the heck they were doing.....dunno about yours but keep that in mind.
Another is people that hoon past but go around you with pleanty of room, they usually arnt to bad as they are gone before the horse really does any thing, but reving engines as they eccalerate may make the horse react.
And be aware there are some bad drivers who wont even slow or go around, they just drive past like normal.
Which is why just being very aware of traffic flow and the amount of room for you to ride saftly on. Take note of places with heaps of space were you can get off the road and out of the way if something comes up.
Another suggestion is to drive or walk on foot the route you wish to start riding, look for hazzards like holes, safe areas and just get familiar with it then take your horse for a walk there after if its suitable. :D
I would recommend that you should select the appropriate saddle according to your taste and ride with an experienced company. The distance of trail ride also depends entirely on you. So have lots of fun!!
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