Crossing downed trees safely - any suggestions?
I haven't had my new horse very long. He is coming 7 years old in the spring. The first time I rode him to try him was in a hilly wooded area with some downed trees and he crossed lower downed trees fairly well - quietly stepping over them.
We rode in our local park about 5 weeks ago and crossed a log that was little higher than his knees. All of the horses had some trouble crossing it. When he did go last time he crossed ok with his front legs and the jumped high and awkward with his back legs, twisting when he went nearly unseating me. It is at the bottom of a slight hill. On the way back that day he crossed much better.
We went to the same place today and horses had a time crossing it again, lots of refusing, getting almost stuck (some!). He refused. I tried getting off and leading him...he refused. Hubby got on and applied spurs - still refused. My cousin's hubby was surprised he refused and said he'd never seen this horse refuse (they have known and rode with him since he was 3). Barry finally got off of him and got him to cross leading him and again he jumped awkwardly and to the side. On the way back I asked him to cross and he refused. I walked him over and he did a little better. There is another shorter log in the park he crosses quietly and easily with no fuss.
Is it just practice he needs? Is it lack of balance? Any suggestions are appreciated! I wussed out and got off since I came off of him last week - one bruised leg in a week is enough!
Maybe he just remember how uncomfortable he was when he went over that log and did the "twist" move that you wrote about . I used to ride an older Arab mare who, due to arthritus in the hocks, could not step over logs. She had to JUMP over them. The momentum made it easier for her. She tended to jump straight up and over, so one had to be ready for it or they would get unseated. Maybe your horse will need to jump logs instead of stepping over. But, it's best if you can do both, at YOUR discretion.
Usually it's okay to just step over, if not you could probably find a way around? I know that when there's something blocking the trail too high to go over and too low to go under, I usually bushwack through the woods around it.
LOL it is in a kinda crazy place...the bayou is to one side so we aren't going for a dip and the other side drops off steeply into thick brush/trees/tangled stuff. The part we are riding on is actually a levee. We are supposed to go out there and clean that area up so we can ride a huge loop. Biscuit doesn't jump straight so til I can get him jumping straighter I think I'll get off!!!!
I can work on it in the area so I think that is the best thing to do!
oh okay! (hard to judge terrain without seeing it) I don't see any problem with asking him to step over though if you feel there's no real danger to the situation, practicing in the arena for jumping is a good idea as well. Good luck!
LOL it is hard to judge when you can't see. It is almost hard to tell you are on a levee because the brush is SO thick and high. I was riding out there today but in a different part. The canal to the bayou has levees on all sides it seems. It is a great place to ride where they have cut it - not so great where they haven't!
We ride some very rough areas with lots of blow downs. Some times we ride across the logs, Some times we get off and lead them around them, It just depends on the mountainside, the blowdowns etc.
Don't be afraid to get off and lead across a bad deadfall. Just stay out of the way so the horses doesn't land on you.
I'm also very cautious to watch for broken staubs sticking out of the logs. they can cut or tear a horses leg.
Here we got off because there were so many deadfalls
This is an extremely steep downhill. If we came to a deadfall on a downhill like this, I'd probably get off to help the horse cross the log
I expect my horses to cross logs like this with out hestitation
Ok...is this in hurricane country? LOL that is what a lot of our forests look like since Hurricane Rita and Ike ran through. The last picture showing a downed log is the kind he easily walks over. I rode him once at Ebenezer and he went over the few logs there we came to but this one is at the end of a little hill and is pretty high. My other horse would have went over it true but Biscuit goes side ways!!! Bless his heart.
I am going to set up little jump logs in the area and get him to walk/jump over them. He is a good boy and wants to please but he can also be more stubborn than any mule anyone could drag up!
Not hurricane country. Just beattle killed pines. A few yeas after the beattles kill the trees, they start falling over into a pick-up-stick type of maze. A good microburst or thunderstorm really lays them down.
The trail has been cleared here. But you can see the dead falll alongside the trail to get an idea of what work was involved.
These are all beattle killed trees. with in a year or two they will all be laying down.
The beattles kill the trees, then fire sweeps through the area, finishing off any surviving trees. The new growth starts. This area was burned by a fire. But you can imagine what this trail will look like after a strong wind.
We ride in areas that are also bad for blown down trees. We carry a hatchet/ax and a saw sometimes. Perhaps if this is a favorite trail you should plan on taking a saw or an ax and take care of that tree.
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