Long distance trail riding with older horse?
I currently have a 20 year old Belgian/quarter horse cross that I would like to do a long (as in a couple months) trail ride with. She is in excellent health but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as far as training and travel, or cautions, with doing a ride like this with her. It would most likely be a year or two before I embarked in such a journey and any help would be greatly appreciated.
How has she done on shorter trail rides? (20-40 miles) Belgians are heavy horses and aren't bred for endurance. (They aren't even bred to be ridden, really. NOT saying you CAN'T ride them, but it's not their first calling in life.) The same goes for SOME QHs; they are bred for short spurts of speed, but not long distance travel. I've found that drafty horses and heavy QHs are some of the worst horses for distance riding. Their tendancy to over heat is the biggest thing. I've also found they tie up more often, but it may just be a lack of conditioning on their owner's part combined with heavy muscle mass. Those poor QHs also get sore in their loins easily, etc.
As far as age goes, I don't see that as a major problem. I compete with horses that are around that age and get my butt kicked by them all the time. ;) I would put her on something for joints though, if you haven't already.
What is her current state of fitness? What do you do with her now?
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