How steep is too steep?

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How steep is too steep?

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    04-26-2011, 03:15 PM
Question How steep is too steep?

When the hill is too steep to go up and when to go down? When a horse should be able to go down with a rider on and when should a rider walk beside?
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    04-26-2011, 05:32 PM
I live and ride the mountains of the west, So we have to go up and down some pretty steep mountainsides. Going up I try to zig and zag so it's not so much work on the horse. Often down hill, It's easier to go straight down and let the horse get his hind feet up under him to work.

Some of my decision is based on how much vegetation is on the ground that might tangle the horses legs and How muddy and slick the ground is.

Horses can't fly. So going off near verticle is not an option.
    04-26-2011, 05:49 PM
Looks like fun
    04-26-2011, 06:51 PM
If you look in the top-center of Painted's second pix you'll notice a couple of horses coming down a pretty steep slope. Looks like a pretty loose surface, too, which probablymakes it a bit more of a challenge.

Nice pix Painted!
    04-26-2011, 08:03 PM
Painted always has beautiful scenery pics. Envy...

I judge the hill by my comfort level, learned through experience. I find it's actually easier to ride up and down steep slopes than have the horse beside or behind me worrying that he might have to place his foot where I am in his way. When I was a kid, we rode up and down the ski-hill until the snow hit. Ours horses were in great shape!
    04-26-2011, 09:53 PM
And for those of us that don't live in the beautiful southwest, I ride a lot of logging trails, some are switchbacks. Here are a few pics.

This is halfway up looking up at the trail. It runs kind of up the left side of the two pics.

Same pic showing more of the hillside.

Looking down from same point. Switch in trail is about middle of pic.

Pic is of the hill that the trail goes up from the fork in the trail where going left takes you up the hill.

A little before the fork you see the waterfall. After going up the switchback trail, you can end up at the top of the waterfall.

Obviously some of these trails are condition dependent. I wont go up them in the winter or spring if it is too wet and muddy as I don't want to slip in the mud and end up at the bottom of the hill.
    04-26-2011, 10:14 PM
Looks like spectacular riding in the fall, Nokota!
    04-27-2011, 04:47 PM
We call our horses mountain goats because of the stuff we climb. There have been times when I was not sure we would make it all the way up or when I look over the side of a hill my heart starts to throb but my horses just sit down on their butts and slide right on down. We do have a Mule that we ride with quite often and it is said a Mule will not do anything to hurt itself so if we are unsure it is too steep when trail blazing we will see if the mule will do it. If the mule wont go then we know its too steep...
    04-27-2011, 05:07 PM
OOOH, Painted Horse I'm so jealous! What beautiful country to ride! I rarely get the chance to trail ride, but when I do IN is not very scenic...unless you have a love for cornfields lol!
    04-27-2011, 10:53 PM
Nokota, What kind of trees are those I bet Sailor is right, They probably are ablaze in color in the fall.

Here some photos from Elk hunting. We have to climb these hills. But we zip and zag our way up, We don't go straight up

I've told my hunting buddy, If he shoots another elk in this canyon, I'm not bringing him hunting any more.

Even hillside where we can zig-zag across the side hill we have to worry about slipping down the hill if it's muddy or snowy


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