Wallaby, I just wanted to add my 2 cents about the age of your mare. I wouldn't be concerned about her age if you haven't noticed anything out of whack with her. My girlfriend did stuff like this all the time on her 25+ Arabian. The only time he started to slow down was when she couldn't get out to ride him often enough anymore. I totally expect my horses to cross whatever obstacles I give them. On one of my "trails" I have a piece of bedrock about 5 feet up that is almost as steep as your "/". We go up and down, wet and dry. They can't really jump it, they just scramble up and hitch down!
Thanks, that's kinda what I was thinking. I figure that I've known her for 3 1/2 years, which should be plenty to know her fairly well, and I know her better (and what she can handle) than anyone on the internet who's never met us.
I do appreciate the concern though!
As a consensus to her age, we don't ride down it, I do get off and we go around. I don't think it's fair to ask her to be that athletic before she's totally limbered up. But by the end of our ride, she's really warmed up and completely willing to do it. Of course, if she suddenly refuses to do it one day, I'm for sure not going to make her. She's generally very willing to try anything I ask her to do so when the day comes that she gets weird about it, I will definitely think twice about asking her to do things like that.
And, it's not like she's being worked to death or anything, I mean, we go for about two 2-3 miles walking journeys a week, she gets lunged at all gaits once a week and she has two 20 minute walking sessions a week teaching 2 little girls to ride. I feel like her life is currently pretty low impact but at the same time, she's being kept moving which has proved to be important in keeping her from getting stiff.
Also, down a 5ft sheet of bedrock?
I would be really scared. That's impressive.