How to prep a horse for a long trail ride?
I wasn't sure whether to put this in this section, or in training. Obviously, I picked here. Haha.
So I don't ride my horse all that much, and when I do it's mainly trail riding. My mom wants to go on a weekend trail ride adventure with me and two or three of the other girls that work for her (my mom tends to hire girls over boys do to pony rides just because girls seem more trusting... that, and most cowboys don't want anything to do with crazy, cute ponies). It wouldn't be as intense as actually camping, just a day of riding, sleep in a cabin while the horses have stalls, then more riding the next day.
I just wanted to know what I should do to prep Ginger for that kind of ride.
I rode her for five miles for my mom's birthday a year or so ago, and Ginger did great, acted like it was nothing. I'm not sure what the terrain is like where we're going. If you need any more information, just ask :D
You need to start riding her as much as possible, and increasing the distance each time.
You can't take a mostly out of work horse and make it work hard for 2 days and not expect problems.
I know someone who hadn't ridden her horse in months, and took him to a 3 day show. Horse developed laminitis, and foundered so badly he had to be euthed.
You wouldn't try and do a 2 day hike without prepping for it, would you? Same for horses.
Yes, and good for you for asking. Shows you have your horse's best interest in mind. :D
Take your horse out for some rides. If you can get out a couple of times a week and do a two hour ride, Your horse will be fine for the saturday ride. Or maybe a just an hour in the arena doing harder work.
It's just like marathon runners. They run 26.2 miles during their marathon race. But they don't run 26 miles every day in training.
The better training program would be to do some long slow miles. Go out and ride 5 miles at a brisk walk with some intermittant trots. You can do that in an hour. until the horse legs up a bit, avoid the sprints and full out gallops. As the horse legs up, you can add a longer/harder ride on saturday when you havve more time.
Horses are just like people. You can't be a couch potato and over night become an athelete. but even a coach potato can start out by walking around the block.
I worked with her for about an hour today, just walked on the lunge line with the saddle on, then walked with me in the saddle. I'm also in the process of getting her less herd bound, and even though there will be other horses with us on the trail, it's irritating when she doesn't want to leave her pasture mates.
But the barn for the barn board option is about five miles away from where the pasture board is, so I think my goal will be to be able to ride all the way to the barn, cool her down at the wash room, and have her trailered back. We made a big step today and went across the road, out of sight, and back to the round pen without indecent haha. So YAY!
Additionally, is there any sort of device like a pedometer that I can use to find out how many miles we go? It will help with training, too, so I can start out with a mile and go up from there. Or is there something else that you guys suggest that will do the same thing?
I use to have something to track how far a person would walk. Obviously it would work a bit different with a horse but I suppose it would work for the most part. It was a little strap that went around the ankle or arm. (Maybe I can find it.) It is very similar to the reflective straps I ordered for my horse.
However, if you can't seem to get something like that.. I would suggest timing how long you are going on these rides and note what you did during that time. I am trying to get my horse back in shape. All I have been doing is clocking his times and what he has been doing. I have also been noting temperatures because in my eyes that can really affect what happens.
I wonder if a normal pedometer would work if you strapped it to the breast collar. Hmmm...
I couldn't find how to edit my post but I found this.
I was looking for the one I use but couldn't find it. These might be better anyway.
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