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!!
I learned that one the hard way, caught a cold for my troubles too.
Well our next trail ride is scheduled for Monday and we will definitely be bringing supplies with us this time. Luckily I wont be needing any spare clothes any time soon as none of us have a trailer so everything is walking from barn and I'm lucky enough to live very close to the barn, actually I could ride to my house, hehe, but I'm sure the apartment manager wouldn't see the humor in that.
Because I am riding 2 horses most of the time, and I work full time, when I trail ride one horse it is an hour. I have some pretty extreme trails as I live in an alpine region. One hill I go up & down is too steep for an average person to walk, so I figure an hour is plenty. If I have been schooling in the arena on my showhorse, he usually gets a 20 minute loop around the woods just to relax & cool off. Now if I am going to make a day of it with my husband, then we haul out to some cross country ski trails that go on for miles through the forest, hills and by lakes, that can take hours, just depends how much time we have. I am a big advocate that all horses, regardless of what discipline, should have regular out of the arena, mind clearing trail rides. For me, I have found it keeps them from getting ring sour.
Oh I wish we lived by mountains, we have some nice cliffs along the river but otherwise pretty flat . I think I would get terribly bored working in just an arena all the time not just the horse. I would love to do h/j but with her age that is out of the question, so dressage eventually but until then we are having fun going out on trails.
She absolutely loves being out of the arena and behaves perfectly off property. This trail thing is so fun, I cannot wait for Monday.
My wife always reminds me when I ask her to come join me for a short ride, "That I don't know what a short ride is"
Weekday evenings a ride is a couple of hours. If the horses are out of shape, We walk with some trotting, If they have been worked in the past few weeks, we up the speed and do more trotting.
I've done lots of Competitive Trail Rides were we rode 50 miles over the Sat/Sun. And I've done a few endurance rides where 50 miles in 5-6 hours was the norm. So a fit horse can cover a lot of ground in a day. I know the biologist I've talked to say it is very common for the wild Mustangs here in Utah to cover 20 miles every day as they search for food and water.
They hold a Outlaw endurance ride every fall in Southern Utah. They ride the old Outlaw trail and do 5 days of 50 miles each day for 250 miles total. If you ride the same horse for all 5 days, They call you an Outlaw, If you change horses on some days, They call you a pinkerton A throw back to the old detectives that chased the wild bunch. The point is that if the horse in in shape and you give it enough calories for energy. It can work multiple days in row . We work our horses pretty hard during the Elk hunts. But I usually give them every 3rd or 4th day off to recover.
I often ride into the mountain and remote areas of Utah and Wyoming. Since we have made the effort to get to some remote spot, we are going to ride all day. I allow the horses to graze anytime we stop. At lunch, I put on hobbles and let the freely graze while we eat lunch. It's not fair to ask the horse to travel 20 miles up and down mountains and not give them calories to do the work.
Horses hobbled at lunch
If you are going to start riding for longer distances you should learn some basics of taking your horse's biometrics. Learn how to take his Pulse and Respiration and know what are his normal vitals and when he is showing stress. Learn to check his hydration, a quick check of his capillary refill by pressing his gum tissue or a Skin Pinch, how fast does his juglar fill if you press on that. What are his gut sounds. And what are normal gut sounds. You should be able to know what state your horses is in and if he has become stressed.
I let my horses drink any chance they get. In the desert we don't always have running water. It is often water trapped in Indian Bathtubs in the rocks
I always have matches to start a fire. I keep a space blanket. Too many hikers have died from Hypothermia when a hot july afternoon turned into a violent thunderstorm and they got wet and the temps dropped. At least with a fire and reflective blanket you can stay warm. My cantle pack always has several granola bars, and hard tack candies, Things that keep forever with out spoiling and bottles of water. The farther that I will travel away from my truck, The more supplies I load into the cantle bag and the better chance I will have a jacket or slicker tied behind the cantle.
I also almost always carry a pistol. We have had to put horses down in the back country, miles from help. We hope that it rarely happens but when it does, a pistol makes rough job easier.
In the trailer I keep basic farrier tools to trim up a horse, basic horse first aid kit, to clean, numb and stitch up a cut.
Ooo those pictures are so pretty. Once my boyfriend gets a horse we will be able to trailer out to go on longer rides. She gets worked about 4-5 days a week right now but they aren't always hard rides, I'm usually sweaty way before she is.
I will be getting a gun this summer as around here we have a huge wolf problem where there has been reports of them taking livestock. I hope to never have to put down a horse out on the trail.
I think I will need more first aid supplies for me rather than the horse I seem to hurt myself on air. Currently icing a dislocated finger. But really I would love to eventually go on long rides. How old do you think a horse can be and still handle it? My Arab is 18 or 19 but was a broodmare for almost her entire life, she is just being trained and conditioned. She always wants to trot and never seems to tire.
I'm sure someone at my barn can show me how to take my horses pulse and all so I will ask. Also my dad took a mountain survival class for flying and made sure we all knew what to have with incase of emergency. Waterproof matches are good too. We have a ton of those space blankets haha. Posted via Mobile Device
I hope you never do have to put a horse down. But if something happens, it is better to be prepared. As far as the wolves. The few I've seen in the wild, were always running away, They never seemed to have the courage to confront humans.
I have a 18 year old Arab gelding that is still the best mover of all my horses.
When I did CTR, There was an 86 year old gentleman that rode a 26 year old that competed 50 miles every two weeks and that horse was a strong competitor. But each horse is an individual. Just watch and see how your horse does, As long as it is enjoying a willing to go forward on rides, She should be fine.
The sorrel on the right is my aged gelding and the Spotted Saddlehorse on the left is a friends 20 year horse. Both were leading all riders up this mountain at a recent Back Country Horseman trail ride