Snakes on a Trail
   

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Snakes on a Trail

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  • Desensitizing a horse from snakes
  • Trail riding and snakes

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    06-03-2013, 08:44 AM
  #1
Foal
Snakes on a Trail

So this weekend while stopping by my SO's mother's house, I had the opportunity to save a life (I'm a fan of live and let live) from some scared and misinformed people. This guy was hanging out in their yard, probably eating the nice fat toads they had hopping around.

photo(15).jpg

He is a harmless black snake, with his biggest defense being a leaky bile out of his rear (gag) I scooped him up and brought him to the woods to carry on keeping the mouse population at bay.

But that got me thinking about trail riding, and how some horses have a complete FREAKOUT when they see a snake, or a shadow that looks like a snake, or think about the snake that was there six months ago. I ride with a friend who can't stand to see snakes in a picture, and God forbid he should see one on a trail (and this is a grown man lol)

How do your horses do when the slithery guys cross your paths?
How do you do when it happens?
What are some ways that you try and desensitize your horse to them (if you do at all)
Have you had any scary/close call situations involving snakes on a trail?
How do you deal with snakes at the barn, poisonous or otherwise?

I'm interested to hear in your experiences!
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    06-03-2013, 09:32 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Yeh I hate people that kill every one they can. Then cry about mice in the feed rooms or house.
     
    06-03-2013, 09:34 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
yeh I hate people that kill every one they can. Then cry about mice in the feed rooms or house.
I'm a firm believer that if you keep a tidy barn, you wont have mice, and subsequently wont have snakes that feed on mice! Keep your feed in sealed, air tight METAL containers (those little buggers will chew through plastic), keep feed buckets cleaned out, and sweep up all that loose hay!
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    06-03-2013, 10:01 AM
  #4
Weanling
It bugs me when people want to kill every snake they see. Black snakes are the best thing to have in a barn/farm when it comes to mouse control. . .much more efficient than our lazy, useless barn cat, anyway.

I've never had a horse that was spooky about snakes, BUT I also live in a part of the country where we don't have a lot of venomous or aggressive-type species. Most of the snakes we do see just want to get out of the way ASAP when a horse approaches.

Timber rattlesnakes are starting to make a comeback in some areas, and they were reintroduced in Brown County State Park (Indiana) several years ago so we've seen them while trail riding there a few times.

I'm not bothered by the fact they're there. . .part of being out in the woods is accepting that there are other things out there, and those things hunt and eat and you need to be aware of what can and cannot hurt you. Seems that a lot of people want to "get out in nature" but then they want to kill every "unpleasant" animal they come in contact with. Only thing I worry about in Brown County is that people do tend to be kind of stupid about wild animals, and it's only a matter of time before someone's dog or kid gets bitten by one of the rattlesnakes.

My SO has lived in the southeaster/southern states and said the horses down there were much more wary of snakes. Not sure if those of you who live in those states notice this as well?
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    06-03-2013, 10:09 AM
  #5
Trained
I kill rattlesnakes near my house. Others I let live. A long time ago, hiking in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, I heard a rattle. Couldn't figure out where it was coming from, until I looked down. I had a foot on either side of a rattlesnake. I jumped, landed about 20 feet away...and figured I owed rattlesnakes a little something. Being bitten by a rattlesnake off-trail in the days when there were no cell phones would have been pretty serious! Wouldn't be exactly fun now, come to think of it.

My horses don't freak at the sight of a snake, but they have no desire to investigate them either. I did run up a big vet bill a couple of years ago after my Border Collie decided to check one out...
     
    06-03-2013, 04:20 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
I kill rattlesnakes near my house. Others I let live. A long time ago, hiking in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, I heard a rattle. Couldn't figure out where it was coming from, until I looked down. I had a foot on either side of a rattlesnake. I jumped, landed about 20 feet away...and figured I owed rattlesnakes a little something. Being bitten by a rattlesnake off-trail in the days when there were no cell phones would have been pretty serious! Wouldn't be exactly fun now, come to think of it.

My horses don't freak at the sight of a snake, but they have no desire to investigate them either. I did run up a big vet bill a couple of years ago after my Border Collie decided to check one out...
Same here BSMS. It's it's in the yard or near by, and it's poisonous, it's history.

If it's in the forest, or wilderness area, and I can get around it, then I will.

Snakes gotta have a place to live too.
     
    06-03-2013, 04:28 PM
  #7
Green Broke
You train your horse to be afraid of snakes and look for them on the trail. I know this because I did that with my buckskin. I'm terrified of snakes, and after a bad experience with a rattler (bless the little guy that he didn't bite me or my horse), I started looking for them everywhere and hence trained my horse do the same.
Rationally, I know that they usually want to get away from me as much as I want to get away from them. So I try to remember that when I come up on them.
My other horse, never has had a bad experience with them and will walk right over a snake unless I tell her not too. Same with the baby.
     
    06-03-2013, 04:34 PM
  #8
Weanling
I'm not a fan of snakes, but I don't really mind them either, unless they're rattlesnakes or copperheads (which we have a lot of in my area) then they're history. But black snakes don't bother me to bad.
As far as the horses go, my old horse (he's mid/late 20s)just walks on by them. All of the trail horses I've been with did not get bothered by a snake, so far that is. :)
     
    06-03-2013, 04:55 PM
  #9
Weanling
Niblles has walked right over black snakes on the trail. I'm not sure if she hasn't seen them or just isn't afraid of them. I would kill a Copperhead or Rattlesnakenear the barn or house, but others are welcome. I am afraid of my dogs when they go on the trail with us - they seem toferret out everything, and I am afrai they will get bitten. I got a scare the other day when one of the dogs found something right by the barn. All I saw was a dark, heavy bodied snake, so I assumed it was poisonous. On closer inspectyion, it was a harmless Hog - nosed snake, but for a minute of two I was pretty worried!
     
    06-03-2013, 05:17 PM
  #10
Foal
I love boss and other harmless snakes, but would/dangerous snakes,I have no intention of going near them enough to kill them. How do you go about training a horse to watch for snakes? I have seen one out on the trail this season,a big fat copper head Charles up under a tree. We had a little baby Ray snake by the barn that was immediately killed because it looked like a CH, poor thing. I've heard that if you surround your barn with lime or mothballs, snakes wool stay away.my mom is OCD, and as a result, we have a super clean been, and not mice.
     

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