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difficult/dangerous terrain

This is a discussion on difficult/dangerous terrain within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        09-10-2013, 09:32 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    How "secure" do you feel on your horse? How balanced are you, as a rider? If the horse stumbles, how do you react? Do you rely on your saddle/stirrups or reins for "balance" going up or down hills?

    Do you have independent hands, or do you "grasp" the reins (and horse's mouth) to rely on them for balance if there is a trip or stumble?

    How well does your horse listen to you when you're in a "tight spot?" Does she get nervous and hurried if the footing is bad, or will she pick her way through tricky spots?

    Just some things to consider.

    A horse doesn't want to fall off a cliff any more than you do, but when it's carrying a rider that rider can either be a help or a hinderance to the horse's balance.

    Is there anyone you know who knows the trails, and has a seasoned trail horse, who might be willing to go with you on that trail or at least tell you what to watch out for?
    garlicbunny, Corporal and FlyGap like this.
         
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        09-10-2013, 10:43 AM
      #12
    Started
    1) remember that any sane horse will have a VERY strong self preservation instinct. As long as you can stay on the horse and out of its way in a sticky situation, The horse will do its best to get safely out of the situation. If nothing else, this fact should increase your trust in your horse.

    2)stay out of the horses way. Imagine climbing a steep incline with uneven footing, wearing a moderately heavy pack. Now imagine the pack is moving around and trying to pull your head back. Its much easier for you to get the job done when the pack you are carrying is securely on, not interfering.

    3)evaluate your horse. Your horse should be in decent shape, reasonably sure footed, responsive to your aids and well broke. It should also have demonstrated the ability to think in scary situations. If your horse is clumsy, argues over every command or falls to pieces when something scares it, keep it at home.

    And most of all, have fun. Relax and enjoy. If you really are too uncomfortable with the trails, turn around and go home.
         
        09-10-2013, 01:11 PM
      #13
    Trained
    You've gotten good advice!

    When I get mine legged up and ready to go out I practice on dirt piles.
    Great way to figure out their balance and practice your own.

    I second, third, fourth, keeping out of their way when in a sticky situation. Just relax, go zen if you will. I also make sure my boots are loosely toed in the stirrups in case I have to bale. Give them their head, don't try to overcompensate with your balance, and remember to speak soft and encouraging words.
    I've seen some people start yelling and that only further frustrates a horse or cues them to try the obstacle faster.

    I've had some horses that were more surefooted than a mule, others that were out and out dangerous because they just didn't have it in them. It's never shameful to get off and walk something. Ha, I've even had horses help me keep my balance walking a stretch. Once Rick kept me from sliding off a steep embankment into a dry creek bed. I had decided the decline was too slippery and loose for him, he handled it fine, it was me that couldn't get a foothold in my boots!
    garlicbunny and Corporal like this.
         
        09-10-2013, 01:57 PM
      #14
    Trained
    Use your brain and be realistic. If the terrain looks too much like a goat should only use it, abandon the trail.
    Work your horse mounted in the MUD at home. You don't want him to panic bc there is a deep muddy area ahead with no way around it. You can just ground work and ride slowly, but horses that get scared in the mud tend to buck. 'O'\
    Ride with a breastplate and I recommend a crupper. My excellent mare tends to slide saddles forward, so that really helps keep in it one place. PLUS, you can tighten up enough to mount and hope that your horse holds his breath a little so it's a little loose and comfortable for the long haul bc they both keep your saddle from sliding underneath the horse.
    Get your horse in shape so he doesn't hate the work!
    NEVER ride alone and especially in places with difficult terrain.
    garlicbunny likes this.
         
        09-10-2013, 02:46 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BlueSpark    
    1) remember that any sane horse will have a VERY strong self preservation instinct. As long as you can stay on the horse and out of its way in a sticky situation, The horse will do its best to get safely out of the situation. If nothing else, this fact should increase your trust in your horse.
    Except that I would wonder whether the horse's self-preservation instinct doesn't include getting rid of the couple hundred pounds of excess baggage on her back
         
        09-10-2013, 11:44 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    NEVER ride alone and especially in places with difficult terrain.
    Whoops. I break this rule all the time. But then I've ridden my horses through some pretty nasty stuff and I trust them, So doing it alone isn't that big a deal to me. Now a green horse that I don't know how he will react. Yes I like having some company around to pick me up and brush me off.
    smrobs and phantomhorse13 like this.
         
        09-11-2013, 03:30 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
    Whoops. I break this rule all the time.
    I haven't broken it yet, with riding, mainly because my horse lives at my friend's place so we always go together, but I do break it for many other things some people say you should never do alone, like hiking, swimming, back-country skiing, and more. If I didn't do those things alone, I would hardly ever do them, because so few other people who do them. (I hardly ever see other people out doing them, once I get away from the few popular places.) And I wouldn't enjoy doing them nearly as much, because I'd probably be surrounded by a crowd of chattering humans
         

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