Very basic trail questions, thanks! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Very basic trail questions, thanks!

I have done plenty of very basic trail rides, but I now have my own horse and recently went on a 2 hour large group ride. It was fun, but I have a couple very basic questions. I ride English and my guy is a Quarter Horse.

1) carrying stuff: How do you carry basic survival stuff? I would want to have some water with me, my cell phone and a first aid kit. I have tried a fanny pack at home, but it is bouncy bouncy when I post. No fun. I'm wondering how you carry things you'd like to have on your body and not on the horse?

2) Trotting down hill. I know to do two point up hills and lean back down hills. Why does trotting down hill feel so umcomfortable? How do you do it correctly so you feel stable and solid?

3) A stream. Standing at a stream that horse does not want to walk through. He's probably going to jump. How do you position yourself so that when he does jump, you don't smack his back or mouth? I grabbed mane and I think I stood up a little, but I'm pretty sure I landed hard on his back when he landed. Ideas to make this move a little more graceful? We were in a group, so there was no getting a running start.

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post #2 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 03:50 PM
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Look at the endurance tack shops. Lots of endurance riders ride english saddles to reduce the weight. They have lots of bags to attach to their saddles for those 50 mile rides where they want to carry jackets, hoof boots, lunches etc
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 04:09 PM
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You can find saddle bags for english saddles, too. To jump on trail if you don't know how to jump, lean forward a bit, give your horse more rein, and grab onto some mane so you don't jerk the reins if you need to hold onto something.

Have fun, trail riding's a blast
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 04:22 PM
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I have a cell phone holder that attaches like a watch to my wrist. It takes a little getting used to but having a cell phone in your saddle bags isn't a smart move. If you get tossed, there goes your cell phone!

For other things, I would keep those in my saddle bags. They make some pretty awesome cantle bags these days for english saddles. I ride western so I have a pretty good assortment of bags...I think your options are a little more narrowed for english.

As far as stream jumping, I don't like it. I like a horse to walk calmly through the stream. Approach the stream and let the horse get a good look. When you feel him wanting to launch, turn his face to the left or right. Repeat this process until the horse touches the water with a foot. This can be awkward at first until the horse gets the idea that walking through water is part of his job. I don't like stream jumpers because you never really know when they are going to jump. My BO got knocked out on a ride because she was looking for a good spot to have her horse jump over and POP! There he went! Knocked her clean out with his neck.

I love trail riding! Good luck, be safe and have fun!
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 04:49 PM
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I agree with Corino.
This is a link to Stowaway bags -
I use their cantal bag made for a western saddle & love it. It has all kinds of pockets in it. You can easliy fit 3 water bottles & a pair old macs in it & still have room. They make them for english saddles too. I like them because they don't slide around or bounce.
I don't like jumping streams either because you never know what its like on the other side. For example the ground could be slippery or the mud really deep.
I always keep my cell phone on me.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 05:15 PM
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I don't like jumping streams either but generally on a horse who is afraid of water, you don't have a choice - it's jump or don't cross!

With latte when she is going to jump a stream I give her the reins, grab some mane and just try stay sitting in the saddle but go with the movement.

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post #7 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
I don't like jumping streams either but generally on a horse who is afraid of water, you don't have a choice - it's jump or don't cross!
I'd rather teach them to cross - even those afraid of water will learn. Otherwise you're eventually going to run into something too wide to jump! I've crossed rivers, usually not deeper than just above the knee and easy to wade through, but definitely too wide to jump over.

That said, my mare sometimes prefers to jump small creeks that have really deep banks, rather than step down, you know? I let her when it looks safe, or cross at a sharp angle (kind of walking along it a few strides even) where I think it's too mucky for a safe takeoff or landing.

I currently use a western saddle for trail riding, but am actually looking for a stock saddle instead - a Tucker if I can find one used!
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 06:10 PM
Green Broke
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Great responses already. Thought I'd add that when I rode english on the trail, I got a pad with build in saddle pockets and a few d rings.

The wrist cell phone holder is great, when I can remember to bring/wear it.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 06:42 PM
Green Broke
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I ride distance in an English saddle too and had similar troubles. I bought something similar to this: English Saddle Pads : AP Half Fleece Lining Saddle Pads with Pockets : Tack It worked excellently; I really like it.

Also, this English Cantle Saddlebag by Stowaway and this SNUG PAX ENGLISH POMMEL BAGS,english saddle bag,western saddle bag,endurance horse equipment,snug pack . I've had experience with both these and like them a lot.

2.) I don't like to trot down steep hills; it puts a lot of strain on their front legs. For shallowish hills, the only thing you can do is lean back and have light contact with the reins to keep the horse from going too much over the forehand. It's going to be uncomfortable whatever you do.

3.) I would attempt to train him to walk through water, but if you are on a group ride and have no time for training, grab mane and go into two point. Heels down, facing forwards, "folded over" yourself... Basicly, proper jumping form. Practice your two point and you'll be able to keep up. You probably just aren't strong enough yet.

Last edited by Brighteyes; 01-09-2011 at 06:45 PM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-09-2011, 06:59 PM
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Everything else has pretty much been addressed but for the second question, I do not like to trot down hill. It puts too much strain on the horses legs. Instead I slow to a walk and keep my weight slightly back and allow the horse to pick its way down without having to rush.
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