NOT trail riding? EVER?! - Page 14

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NOT trail riding? EVER?!

This is a discussion on NOT trail riding? EVER?! within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    06-05-2013, 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
Sometimes we get hurt when that happens, sometimes we brush the dust off and laugh about it.
But you know, it isn't me getting hurt that I worry about, it's those dainty little horse legs. I mean, they're about as thick as my wrist, and still expected to support not only somewhere around 1000 lbs of horse, but an extra 200 lbs of me & tack?

I'm still gimpy from the ankle I sprained back in February - can't manage more than about a 5 mile hike on it - so I can't help but imagine what an unexpected hole, or a slip on pine needles, could do to those legs.
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    06-05-2013, 02:47 AM
Originally Posted by Dustbunny    
I look at those photos and realize what a petunia I am......
After I looked at them, I went and changed my drawers...
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    06-05-2013, 10:01 AM
Originally Posted by jamesqf    
But you know, it isn't me getting hurt that I worry about, it's those dainty little horse legs. I mean, they're about as thick as my wrist,
You need to go watch the mustangs ran across the desert. They cross some incredible rough stuff at speed and rarely miss a beat.

And when I think back of the nasty stuff I crossed on trail rides, that the horses hardly slowed down for.

Just trust your horse.
    06-05-2013, 10:59 AM
Trust a horse used to that country? Yes. Trust ANY horse in rough terrain? No thanks. I've seen Mia sprint unharmed across a field of 12-24" sharp boulders, but I've also watched her fall riderless in our arena - dry, level footing. At a canter, she used to stumble every few minutes...although she is getting much better and no longer tries to canter with her nose 3 inches off the ground.

Even Trooper, who grew up on a ranch in central Utah, has fallen chasing another horse (& while riderless). OTOH, I would trust our little BLM mustang pony. He takes care of himself at all times. I can't imagine him doing something stupid in the desert.

I've written before that someday I hope to tell people, "Mia is just a trail horse", and then secretly laugh because I'll be the only one who will know how hard it has been to turn her into one. Going down a small but steep grade last week, she finally tucked her hind legs under and did it at a slow walk...controlled. She was a PITA the last 15 minutes of our ride yesterday, but did a half dozen laps of cantering when we got back and stayed balanced & controlled the whole time. She hasn't stumbled at a canter once this week, which is a record for her.

It seems to me a good trail horse should be prized precisely because it is NOT something all horses are born knowing how to do. A horse who has spent almost all of her life in a corral doesn't know the same things as one that has lived loose. Lots of arena horses would need to learn how to move in rough terrain they have never seen before. And frankly, not all horses have the personality to be instant trail horses. The difference between Mia and Trooper is obvious in the picture below:

Yesterday, following Mia (who was on high alert for some unknown reason), my youngest shouted out, "Hey Dad! Have you considered medical marijuana? Maybe I can talk Trooper into sharing some of his stash!"

I'm lucky. I have ATV trails starting 1/4 mile from here. If I needed to trailer Mia somewhere for trail riding, she would be arena only for the rest of her life. It would simply take too much work to make her a trail horse. The lady who broke her says I'm about the only owner she knows stubborn enough to try - although she agrees it is good for Mia. But not all horses are born ready for the trail...and some folks have no desire to force them.
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    06-05-2013, 01:06 PM
LOVE those pictures, I'd love to go out with you. I DO trust my horse though- his job is to keep four feet between us and the ground at all times and mine is to decide which direction and how fast. At times, like when we unexpectedly sink up above his knees in muck, that means I drop the reins and let him hold up his end of the deal. In return, he's decided that it's MY problem to deal with all the lions and tigers and bears he used to imagine were lurking about. It wasn't a fast process, and I don't think I'd trust someone else's horse in the same way. Oddly enough, he's far braver when it's just the two of us than when we're riding in a group.
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    06-05-2013, 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
You need to go watch the mustangs ran across the desert. They cross some incredible rough stuff at speed and rarely miss a beat.
I do - there are a good few in the hills starting about a mile east of me, where I hike & bike a lot in the cooler months. Unfortunately, I also run across occasional horse bones or body parts...

Just trust your horse.
I do, but I think that trust should go both ways, so that I (in my ignorance) don't push her into something she's not capable of handling.
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    06-05-2013, 04:26 PM
A couple pictures of some local mustangs, with dog #1.
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File Type: jpg wh4.jpg (50.7 KB, 71 views)
    06-05-2013, 05:48 PM
I'd surprised if you didn't find a few bones scattered out there. Between the lack of water and poor feed, the rare but occasional cougar kill, the disrespectful and law breaking poachers, being chased by helicopters for annual round ups, Mustangs are not immortal. They occasionally die of old age.

I'd never ask my horse to canter across really nasty stuff. But I am often asking them to slow down. They always seem more than willing to go faster across terrain that I prefer them to walk and carefully look at.
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    06-05-2013, 08:38 PM
Yeah, I know that "walk, dammit" command. Seems like I spend a good part of every ride giving it to Miss "I wanna trot, trot, TROT!". And then there are the times, like this past weekend, when she decides to channel her inner steeplechaser. Remember this is the horse that, a year ago, was unwilling to step over a 1 foot wide slot creek in a meadow? Well, now it's jump over and go cantering for the next one.
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    06-05-2013, 11:27 PM
Yup! Like I wanna dance circles on side of ledge with cliffs below me.
And the horse always thinks they are getting left behind and need to speed up

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