difficult/dangerous terrain - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: CA
Posts: 269
• Horses: 1
difficult/dangerous terrain

What do you do to prepare yourself and your horse for riding stretches of dangerous or difficult terrain?

I want to be able to ride my horse on a nearby trail soon, but I've been told there are narrow trails and steep cliffs along the way. My mare is quite sane and surefooted, but what can I do to prepare us for this trail? I don't want to be stupid and get us hurt, but I also refuse to live in fear of harder trails.

Ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
TrailDustMelody is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 06:41 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 553
• Horses: 0
Make sure your horse is physically conditioned and then trust her.
Oreos Girl is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
Posts: 6,182
• Horses: 5
Originally Posted by Oreos Girl View Post
Make sure your horse is physically conditioned and then trust her.
Posted via Mobile Device
smrobs likes this.
PaintHorseMares is offline  
post #4 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,153
• Horses: 24
Exactly. So long as she keeps her head while you're riding, whenever you come to a rough patch, just give her her head and let her go. Don't get a death grip on the reins with the idea that you can pull her up if she starts to fall. A horse on the trail needs the full range of motion in their neck to keep their balance so if you've got her mouth in a bind, she can't balance effectively. Don't try to micromanage her either. Just hang on and let her pick her way across the rough patches.

Horses won't fall down a steep hill on purpose and so long as you trust her to manage her own body, you'll be just fine.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
smrobs is offline  
post #5 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: CA
Posts: 269
• Horses: 1
That's what I figured.

I think we'll try to get some more rides in on the more "claustrophobic" trails to get the horses used to harder trails, then we'll think about tackling the cliffs. :)
TrailDustMelody is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 1,286
• Horses: 4
Be realistic in what you expect your horse to cross. There are places that I get off and lead the horse. Just to make it easier for the horse to cross a difficult section of trail. Slanting sheets of granite. lots of blow down trees etc. all require different actions.

Know what the footing is and how your horses shoes will react with it. Steel shoes slip on Granite, But seem to hold pretty well on sand stone. Aluminum shoes hold better on the granite but wear out much faster. Ice, snow, mud, mossy rocks in a river etc. Just anticipate how slippery it might be and whether the horse would do better with out a rider.

There are times and places to just get off and lead. Be careful that you don't get stepped on. Some horses may jump a creek that you are leading them across and land on you.

Some riders are comfortable riding across narrow rocky areas. Others get off and lead their horses. Nothing wrong with either choice. Do what you are comfortable with

If you get in steep, or challenging areas. Keep your horse slowed down, Make him think and pay attention to what he is doing
Painted Horse is offline  
post #7 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 09:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central Missouri
Posts: 463
• Horses: 1
Horses can go where you would not imagine they can go, BUT, they do it much better without a rider. Like Jon said, nothing wrong with walking if you question the trail at all. Much better to be save than OOPS, we just fell of the mountain. The more you ride the more difficult trails, the more you'll learn what you can and can not handle. Although going up is much easier for the rider, it is much more difficult for the horse.... Before you tackle some of those very steep trails, make sure your horse is conditioned for them, and most of all stay out of their mouth.

bbsmfg3 is offline  
post #8 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 10:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 444
• Horses: 1
I ride in an area with numerous deep canyons and the advice I offer is to keep your horse in shape and trust your horse. I ride 5 times a week or more in the deep sand of the cotton fields where I live and that keeps my mare in shape. I ride in places like the pics I see above and will be the first to tell you that you must work your way up to deep and steep. I remember the first time I took my mare to a steep and deep place and was so pleased and the past 5 yrs she has progressed. I see where someone else said stay out of her mouth and that is so true. Start out with trails that have small terrain changes and see how your horse does and keep progressing from there. Also remember it is okay to get off and walk across or down with your horse. I have seen some riders so afraid that they affect their horse and both end up in a bad predicament. Happy Trails
garlicbunny likes this.
womack29 is offline  
post #9 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 10:15 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Valley of the Sun
Posts: 2,923
• Horses: 3
Whatever body else said. Practice riding out alone in your area and work in the arena. Set up obstacles, get your horse thinking about where to they put their feet.
You need to trust your horse and they need to trust you. If you are going out with another horse, he needs to rely on you not the other horse. If you ask him to wait, your horse needs to wait. If you are leading he needs to follow not try to rush over you.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
flytobecat is offline  
post #10 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northern Nevada
Posts: 1,675
• Horses: 1
What I'd suggest: go hike it first, or at least a good part of it, so you know what you're getting into.
jamesqf is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Difficult difficult.. paintgirl96 Horse Training 7 03-10-2013 05:39 PM
Is he being Difficult? or needs training? RegTwist Horse Training 7 03-10-2013 03:56 AM
Riding terrain vs. pasture terrain LetAGrlShowU Trail Riding 14 07-17-2011 09:02 PM
a very difficult decision Magaidh General Off Topic Discussion 26 06-09-2011 09:39 AM
What kinds of terrain can horses handle? novice Horse Talk 7 03-04-2010 05:13 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome