Riding terrain vs. pasture terrain

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Riding terrain vs. pasture terrain

This is a discussion on Riding terrain vs. pasture terrain within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    07-13-2011, 04:40 PM
Riding terrain vs. pasture terrain

I am mixing two questions I've been struggling with- so bare with me.

I have been wanting to take my gelding on the trails behind my house but its a bit overgrown (not too bad) and hard to see whats under each step. It is uneven terrain- I know from ATV riding and walking it. It is flat, but has some grass pathes higher than others, has some weeds, and has a few dirt holes. Are some horses better at not falling and tripping than others?

The other question is, my landlord wants to fence in behind my house where there is a lot of grass. But like previously mentioned, its uneven terrain. She is not the most knowledgeable person. I see dangers for a horse tripping, getting stuck in a hole, or worse. I have done enough research to know we'd have to disc the whole thing, roll it out flat, and then reseed, fertilize, and then let it grow 6-12 months. Is it as dangerous as i'm imagining? I just think of how many people take their horses on mountanous and uneven terrain on trails, does this differ greatly?

Anyone have a suggestion for bringing this up kindly? Ultimately, she is trying to move a 1 stall barn with tack room and shelter to my property and fence in the entire back of the property. This includes trees, sloping trails, rock.etc. I would LOVE to have the barn that close to me, right now its roughly a one block walk to their 5 stall barn (all on property) so not too bad. I'd rather walk than harm my horses.

Can anyone help me with these questions?
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    07-13-2011, 05:02 PM
Don't worry about uneven terrain, horses deal with it quite naturally.

For your possible trail, right now you might not be able to see the ground to well but that will change as you wear in a trail. Add in a touch of brush clearing and enjoy your rides.

You don't have to do anything to your potential pasture but put up a fence. If there is plenty of acreage even poor pasture provides quite a bit of feed. As for holes and roughness, give a freshly worked field a couple years and you wont be able to tell much difference. Gophers dig their tunnels, dogs dig for gophers, wet holes become mud holes that dry into rough ground, etc, etc. Doesn't hurt to toss dirt in the worst holes as they develop but horses can see and avoid them.

Working the field and planting will give you a better quality pasture. The question is do you want to invest that time and money in a place you rent? It's not all that cheap and does take a year plus to stablilize the ground again. If the answer is yes, go for it. I would recommend not doing it all so your horse will have some pasture to screw around on, it can always be done the following year.
    07-13-2011, 06:14 PM
I guess it really depends on what type of trail riding you are talking about. If it is just walk/trot then I see no problems with uneven terrain. If I wanted to ride on a perfectly flat, cleared trail, I would be riding in my driveway. It just does not exist where I live.

As far as fencing in your field, unless you have money to burn, I would also suggest that you just fence in what you want. It would be great to have a nice flat field and if that is what you want and are willing to pay for it, then you should do it. I would not do it because I thought that uneven terrain would hurt my horse.

Maybe I am not getting your definition of uneven terrain. What makes you think that it is so dangerous? Is it rocky, really steep, tons of holes? My fields are far from flat and there are even a few rocky areas and I have never had any injuries.
    07-13-2011, 07:21 PM
I'll describe the area and you can tell me if im way off base...

Its not hilly, it just has ruts and higher bunches of grass in some places.. there are 2 large DIPS in the pasture, something you could have fun on an ATV with, but I don't know how safe it is for a horse. What about the trees? We have trails in the back of the property, but its like a forest. Couldnt the horse get hurt by branches sticking out, etc?
When looking up how to get a good flat, growing pasture there were so many posts about how unsafe uneven pastures were, that the horse would break a leg etc. Is this just paranoia?
    07-13-2011, 07:46 PM
It's just paranoia, horses live quite well out in the wild without man out there resurfacing the plains! Your pasture sounds just fine as is, all I would do is carefully walk it to make sure there is no old barbwire, rusty hunks of steel, etc out there they can get tangled in.

With the trees on the trail, depends on the trees. Old dead fir tree limbs can really stick in a horse while younger limbs can be easily pushed aside. Just get a saw and loppers then spend some quality time getting rid of the nuisance branches. Most trails get regular maintenance by those using them.
    07-14-2011, 03:38 PM
Rough trails are great; they are the best thing for teaching your horse to slow down, be careful, and look where he's going.

Darrin's given a lot of good advice, so I don't really need to say anything more.
    07-14-2011, 03:48 PM
Thank you, everyone. I love coming here and learning from more experienced horseman/woman.
    07-14-2011, 10:55 PM
Originally Posted by LetAGrlShowU    
I have been wanting to take my gelding on the trails behind my house but its a bit overgrown (not too bad) and hard to see whats under each step. It is uneven terrain- I know from ATV riding and walking it. It is flat, but has some grass pathes higher than others, has some weeds, and has a few dirt holes. Are some horses better at not falling and tripping than others?
I do most of my riding through the woods where there are no trails and our mares love it. It's keeps their minds and feet very busy, every ride is different, and it's never boring. My biggest advice...trust your horse. A good trail horse is great at maneuvering all kinds of obstacles and terrain while at the same time much better than we are at seeing and avoiding hazards.
    07-15-2011, 12:32 AM
My horses live in an incredibly rocky paddock/pasture, they do just fine. And when the rocks are covered with snow, they still do fine. They learn their terrain just like a person learns his house in the dark. I ride some very rough terrain, a horse is going to trip at some point, most will be just fine. If you are worried about the trail, wait to ride it when the grass dies and you should be able to find any "leg breakers" then go back and flag them. Good luck, have fun.
    07-15-2011, 09:56 PM
These wild mustangs got some flat land as they ran across the gravel road. That is about the flattest dirt they will see in a day. And they will deal with squirrel, parrie dog, badger holes at a dead run.

Our horse learn to watch their step and do just fine in rough terrain

And as you can see we don't hardly even pay attention to where they are stepping, We leave the driving to the horses while we sight see

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