Average trail ride length/distance? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 27 Old 05-14-2012, 10:11 PM
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It is not good for out of shape horses or out of shape people to do extremely long rides. An 8 hour ride would kill me. I think that anything over 7 or 8 miles is something that you need to build up to. Horses that are ridden in an arena may be in excellent shape and ready to go on long rides.

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post #12 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 01:44 AM
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During the week I'll ride out of the barn, those are generally 45min-1 hour depending on what I do. For the weekend it depends on what we have going on for how long we ride. I wont hook up to the trailer for anything less than two hours, just not worth it and we consider that a quick ride at the local park. Longer rides are in the 4-8 hour range and are worth a couple hour drive to get to.

How far you travel is dependent on you and your horse. I ran into a couple that were telling me of the trail they love to ride and it took them 4-5 hours. That got me excited as it was a place only 20 minutes away and right in my ball park. Since it was so close I drove up there in the car to take a look at trail maps and parking situation. Their favorite trail was 1.5 miles long so a 3 mile round trip! My horses wouldn't even break a sweat going full speed in that distance.

What to take:
-Full change of clothes, leave in your trailer/rig. Believe me there will be times you will want those to change into.
-Water, water, water and more water. Both in your saddle bags and in your rig, you'll be thirsty during and after a ride. Gatorade or such works nicely if you like that type of drink.
-Longer rides take something to snack on like trail mix, jerky, peanut butter crackers, etc. Stuff that packs a punch and travels well. Shorter rides you don't have to pack it with you but still a good idea to have it in your rig waiting for your return.
-Home made first aid kit. For your horses a maxi pad and tape make great bandages. Some people (men) shudder at the idea but it works. For you, bandages, motrin and aspirin. Motrin for swelling (falling off) and aspirin as a pain reliever. For both of you, neosporin or some bag balm in a zip lock baggie. Helps for those cuts.
-Fly spray for your horse, mosquito repellant for you.
-Twine or leather strips for repairs.
-Multi tool for repairs, can also double as your knife.
-Phone (keep it on your not your horse).
-I take along allergy medication, nothing ruins a ride more than a nasty sinus headache. If you are riding around the barn you already know what and when you'll be hit. Riding into strange areas at different elevations can get you hit hard.
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post #13 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thank you so much for the responses. There seems to be quite a bit of a range. I like the shorter rides for during the week but on the weekends when I have an entire day I would like to go on the longer rides. I am slowly gathering stuff that I would need for a longer ride, so thank you for the suggestions of things to bring with.
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post #14 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 10:12 AM
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I gauge by terrain more than miles.
A decently fit horse can w/t/c 4 miles in a hour or so, but I wouldn't expect them to climb up/down 4 miles of mountain trail so fast or easily.
Last weekend we took our fat mare out, 4 miles of easy road with only slight incline. We walked and slow jogged and it took us an hour and a half with several stops and training exercises along the way.
It's easy to get carried away out here, just my driveway is a 1/4 of a mile. I have to take into consideration the footing, the elevation, etc. so miles don't really count to me. Average long trail ride time is 4-8 hours, 2 for exercise and training, 1 hour for fiddlin/hours around on the farm. I usually just have a granola bar, knife, and a water for the 2 hour rides. BUT, I always pack sandwiches for anything longer, nothing boosts my energy more than a good turkey sandwich with mayo and cucumber. I don't know why.
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post #15 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
It is not good for out of shape horses or out of shape people to do extremely long rides. An 8 hour ride would kill me. I think that anything over 7 or 8 miles is something that you need to build up to. Horses that are ridden in an arena may be in excellent shape and ready to go on long rides.
A horse accustomed to riding in an arena may be in good condition for that sort of riding, but (again) it depends on the type of trail/terrain you plan on tackling.

I wouldn't suggest taking a horse that has only done arena work out on a trail with a lot of hills. There is much more required of a horse (and rider) in terms of balance, use of muscles and overall fitness that you just cannot duplicate in the soft, even ground of an arena.

That's like thinking you're in shape because you walk on a treadmill at the gym, then trying to hike the whole Appalachian Trail.

I've seen "trail" horses that have only ever done flat trails/roads, whose owners thought they were in great shape, break down when they tried to go out and do a longer ride that required them to do a lot of climbing, or scrambling through tricky footing, or crossing through deep water. The horse just wasn't in condition for that kind of work.

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post #16 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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We did do quite a bit of hills with uneven footing but we were taking it slow then. But the horses had barely broke a sweat so we wern't concerned with over working them. I definately take into consideration where we will be going, the temperature outside and when the last time she was worked before choosing where to go and for how long.

I think that the 2 and a half hours was perfect for my horse as she was just barely sweaty under the saddle and girth area but she was tired enough. I will probably stick to that time frame for a little while as she is still gaining muscle. She is definately a fiesty little Arab though and absolutely loves the trails and if the footing would allow she would most likely prefer to trot the entire trail.

Any more suggestions welcome, I am very new to this trail thing.
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post #17 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by poppy1356 View Post
Ok another question, how often do you do longer trail rides? Once a week for the longer ones then maybe some short arena work or a short trail ride during the week maybe?
Yes, our longer rides are always on the weekend - that is the only time we have time to go on those. Typically our longer rides also include quite a bit of rough terrain including steep inclines/declines. During the week we either work in the arena or go down the road that just meanders through the woods with a few rolling hills. The ones during the week usually only last an hour or so.

Never had a problem with our horses being overly tired or sore with this set-up. In fact the only time they were actually tired was on a 6 hour ride that included quite a few really steep inclines that they had to run in order to get up and the temperature climed well into the upper 90s. It had been cooler leading up to this day and it was quite a shock for humans and horses. Otherwise they handle it quite well.

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post #18 of 27 Old 05-15-2012, 12:55 PM
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Hmm, it's not uncommon for me to cover 15-20 miles in a day, but that usually isn't a leisurely trail ride at a walk. That's normally when I'm checking cattle and going everywhere at a trot/lope. If I'm just plodding along for the fun of it, I might cover 3-5 miles in a hour or so.

I usually don't take much with me. Living where I live, it's virtually impossible to get lost no matter how far you go, so GPS would be a waste of money. I sometimes take a cell phone...usually don't have service though. If I know where I'm going won't have a place for me to get a drink, I'll take a bottle of water. Everywhere I ride, I know exactly where the creeks are at and if they'll have water, I know where all the windmills are so finding water is not a problem at all. I usually do take a gun, especially in the summer time, so that I can kill any rattlers I come across or, God forbid, if my horse were to be fatally hurt and I couldn't get help for him.

As for the horse's eating, mine might get a break in the middle of the day to graze for 5 minutes or so if I have time. Normally I don't though, so I just make sure they get a good breakfast and a good dinner. Also, one thing I usually do when I finish at night is give them a few minutes in their pen/paddock before I feed them. I want them to get a good drink before they bury their face in the hay. Less chance of an impaction that way.
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post #19 of 27 Old 05-16-2012, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyGap View Post
BUT, I always pack sandwiches for anything longer, nothing boosts my energy more than a good turkey sandwich with mayo and cucumber. I don't know why.
Though I love a good turkey sandwich it's peanut butter and jelly for me on the trail. I don't want anything that can spoil quickly on a hot day and meats, mayo fall into that category.
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post #20 of 27 Old 05-16-2012, 01:01 AM
Green Broke
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Darrin, those were some good tips...especially about the change of clothing! My hubby's horse, Sarge, went over on him in January - they landed in mud and water. My husband was totally soaked and full of mud. They were 100 miles from home. He was able to wash off in one of the other rider's LQ trailer but he was stuck in the same clothes. Thank God it wasn't cold.

You never know what will happen out on a trail and it is best to be prepared for darn near anything!!

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