09-30-2012, 10:59 PM
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Do you know how the horses you are riding are behaved? Do they not like to be in back or in front of other horses?
If you can, tie a green ribbon in the horses tail. In my experience, that will tell others either a green horse or rider and they should take more care around you. However, that doesn't always happen.
If you trailer the horses there, get there early to let the horses settle before the ride. Also, this will give you a chance to meet up with other riders to go in a group together.
Let all the yahoos go first and start the ride near the back. Usually there is less commotion in the back because all the yahoos are ahead of you. You don't have to be the very last riders, especially if the horse doesn't like the feeling of being left behind.
A three hour ride can be anywhere from 6 to 10 miles. Horses usually walk around 3 mph, on average. If you figure in any stopping or going faster, the distance can be shorter or longer. Another factor is the terrain. Easy terrain you can go faster and farther. Rough will be slower and shorter.
We go on a ride every August. It's 12 miles long and takes about 4 to 5 hours including a stop for lunch. It's pretty easy terrain and there are 300 to 500 riders. It can be quite hectic at times. Usually, someone does get hurt. Our horses like to be out front, so no matter where we start, we end up there by the end.
This weekend we went on another ride. It was only about 67 riders but was over rougher terrain. It lasted about 3 hours but was only 5.5 miles. We also had to stop and wait for the rest of the riders at times. It was a more pleasant ride but more challenging.
Try to stay relaxed during the ride. Don't let yourself tense up. It need be, get off and walk for a little bit. There should be guides to help if you need it if it's an organized ride. Just remember to have fun and enjoy it.
ETA: bring with on the ride something to drink like water in bottles and something to munch on like granola bars. If it's going to be warm, you could freeze a couple bottles to help keep others cold.
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