No Horse Sense - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: 30,000 miles is a long way on a horse. Will he make it?
All the way. 3 16.67%
Give up because of death or injury. 3 16.67%
Just give up because it is too difficult. 2 11.11%
Go half way then give up. 1 5.56%
Make it only a few day. 4 22.22%
What is the point of this poll? He will not even start. 5 27.78%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Posts: 2
• Horses: 0
No Horse Sense

Hello I am Eli and I am looking for advice and assistance. I am not only a greenhorn but also I am making plans to attempt to do something crazy. I hope to retire from the US Navy between August 2019 and May 2020, and go on a 30,000-mile horse ride beginning in Ridgecrest, California or maybe the mexico/california boarder; zig-zagging north and south through the lower 48 states on my way to Main going through each of the state capitals along the way. Similar to what George Beck did with Overland Westerns back in 1912-15. Then cross over to Canada and Zig-zagging North and south from New Brunswick to Alaska through each capital along the way. I would like to use only American Mustangs for this ride. I adopted two Mustangs from the BLM at the beginning of the year and I am attempting to train them. One is about three and the other is a yearling. The three-year-old is doing good. Well I am no trainer by any means so my good and yours may be different. The yearling I sill have not gotten the halter on. I can touch her most days just about every place with my hands from her chestnuts up to her ears. but once I have a rope or a halter in my hand that all changes. I am very ignorant at this point in time. Yes, I have done the math. Green + Green = black and blue and may cause broken bones. My Idea is to have two riding and two pack horses, alternating each daily. I am not sure if my two will be trained well enough for the journey but they are giving me a lot education right now that will help me later. I think? Is there any guidance you may have for me?
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post #2 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 03:36 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southern California
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No, but it sounds like a grand adventure.
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post #3 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado
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I suggest you contact others who have done this to get the real deal. Not the 30 minute movie version with pretty sunsets and miles of quiet solitude with just you and a couple of horses.

I'm not a fan. It's a brutal journey, many horses have died or had to be put down from exhaustion and injury. They have starved, walked their hooves down to blood, been hit by passing vehicles, succumbed to heat stroke, died of colic from stress and inconsistent food, water and rest along the way. It's a human folly and the horses always pay.
After the ride, any survivors often have permanent injury and a painful quality of life they didn't ask for and would never choose for themselves.

You need to be honest with yourself about why you are doing this. What are you looking for, what do you need from this?

And why Mustangs? Their life in the wild was difficult. The round up and capture process is both physically and emotionally damaging. You have to work years to gain their trust. Then you are going to take that trust and send them on a journey that does nothing to enhance their experience with humans.

If you need to make the trip to prove something to yourself, ride a bike or go it on foot. But please, from a Mustang owner, don't do this to them.
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post #4 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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30,000 horse, totally a foot

In my gut I say no way riding and packing your alternates, period.
Riding and having a following trailer to rest your other 3 animals, yes.
So one day of riding and 3 off and everyone gets those trailer rides...
A network of specialists of farrier, vet and plentiful food available throughout the extensive journey...maybe.
Start planning now and maybe 5 years from now you might be ready to start the first 30 days of journey...
Just keeping the horses sound and in good weight with that much pounding of pavement {even walking} is a huge endeavor...
The expenses alone would be astronomical...
The logistics...beyond my fathoming.


The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 05:00 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
Posts: 3,917
• Horses: 3
A long-distance ride like this is one dream I've always had. That being said, the logistics are huge, so you'll want to start with some much smaller adventures first--- say, a 2-3 day wagon train trail ride, then a few pack trips into the mountains, then perhaps a ride across one state.... there is a lot more to it than you'd think. The logistics of keeping yourself and your horses healthy and safe is huge, and it will be astronomically expensive, even if you can get by with just a few horses.

Might I suggest breaking this up into several years' worth of rides, doing one area of the country or a few states each year? Then you can plan your trip for the time of year when the weather is most hospitable to yourself and your horses, and your horses are in the daily stress of new places and changing food for a couple of months at a time, rather than for several years straight. You will want a 'ground team' to help you--- find places to camp, get supplies, smooth ruffled feathers, do your publicity/social media if you choose, find stabling/camp sites, track down a vet/farrier when needed, etc. Having a small living quarters trailer waiting for you a few nights a week so you can sleep off the ground will be a godsend... sleeping on the ground or in a tent when it's hot or raining 24/7 gets old real quick. I'd also suggest switching out your horses rather than having all of them do the entire journey. Perhaps ride one and pack one for a week. Then switch one out for a new, fresh horse. Then a few days later, the other. Having your ground crew able to hopscotch ahead with your trailer and spare horses will make your journey so much safer and more pleasant for you and the horses.

I'm not saying you can't do it--- I'm saying you may need to scale down a bit to start. Your US portion may be doable. Your Canadian/Alaskan portion may not be. Do you have any idea of the country you'll be covering?? I would also question the state capital idea....most state capitals are crowded, urban areas that are in no way safe for horses. I would certainly not stress my horses with cities if doing a long distance ride. Countryside and rural areas are bad enough with the risk of being hit by a careless or malevolent driver. Cities would be far worse.

Last edited by SilverMaple; 06-26-2018 at 05:05 PM.
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post #6 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Posts: 2
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Thank you for your insight and opinion. I am still in the planning process for this journey. My intentions are to have a small herd of four mustangs two for riding and two for pack alternating each daily every five days taking a two-day rest. And every five weeks taking a week rest. I am planning a few weekend rides to make to work the horses and myself up to being prepared for longer and longer rides. And will the knowledge that I am gaining from people like you both negative and positive. I will be able to assess the needs of the horses and then myself to be prepared for what may happen. I am thinking this will take around eight to ten years to complete. This will not be a race for me. I have chosen mustangs because they have bread themselves to be survivors and great endurance horses. They have the instincts and strength that will be needed for this adventure that we will be taking. Everyone has their own opinion and through those opinions that we all like to voice knowledge is gained. I understand that I am going to have a lot of logistical issues to sort out. Right now I am the whole team. Support would be great but I am sure I will get it along the way but for now I am on my own. You are right those cities I will want to keep clear of for the most part but I would like to keep it is some prospective as like George Beck and the Overland westerns did. Please keep your thoughts coming.
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post #7 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 6,250
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Do one all day ride and get back to us . . .

Short horse lover
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post #8 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 12,076
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"In Boise George was invited to ride in the show put on that night by the traveling 101 Wild West Show. He did so on Pinto, the Morab originally chosen to be the packhorse but fast becoming George’s favorite mount. Already the Westerners’ original horses were showing signs of fatigue and saddle sores. The riders quickly learned if they were to go on they needed to swap horses with the local populace if and when the chance arose, a business fraught with monetary peril.

“The rancher was a nice guy but no dummy and I figured he’d want some scratch, seein’ as our two animals seemed headed for the glue factory instead of the rest of the state capitals. The first deal was open and shut, horse for horse, and we gave the fellow $10 to boot. The second deal was for a horse for Charles. The fellow wanted $25 besides his horse, but I had a rush of brains, and told him he was getting a real bargain because our horse was famous, ridden by one of the Overland Westerners. ‘Why he’s a show piece and you can have barrels of fun showin’ off.’ That got him and we walked away with his nag,” Beck recalled. “I didn’t mention sore feet, tender bellies or sore backs, just said he was a show horse maybe risin’ six or seven years...

...They reached Sacramento, their 48th and last state capital on May 24, 1915. They had been in the saddle for three years and one month, a record 1127 days of that time spent riding. They had gone through 17 horses on the 20,352 mile trip....
Pinto was the only mount used during the journey who had managed to complete the entire grueling trip."

Civilization would make it tougher now. Mustangs...1.5 of my 3 horses are mustangs. Mustangs vary greatly depending on what got loose in that area. My full BLM mustang is 13 hands and not suited for heavy riding. The half-mustang has the tenderest feet of the group. They may be a bit more cautious by nature, but they aren't super-horses.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #9 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 07:14 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
Posts: 3,917
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You would be better served looking for a very particular type of horse or mustang. Just because it's a mustang does not mean it is suitable for your journey. There are some mustangs out there that would likely do very well for long-distance riding, and some simply will not. Many have very poor conformation and like people, some are smarter than others. It's a myth that mustangs are tougher and sounder than other horses-- some are, and some aren't. There are some nice mustangs out there, and some that aren't worth a dime.

Case in point-- an ex-boyfriend of mine got a mustang at an adoption event 4 or 5 years ago. She was a yearling filly who is relatively well-put-together as far as mustangs go, and he had high hopes for her. She's cute as a button and very sweet. But, she is not sound without shoes. She would not have lived had she been left on the range. Her feet are a nice size and look good, but she's tenderfooted on everything. Out of the 14 horses he has, two of the mustangs are the only ones who need shoes year-round. This little mare is stout and sturdy, but that's also an issue-- her back is so short that he can't find a saddle to fit her comfortably where he'd feel comfortable riding her a lot. So, she goes out here and there for an hour or two to check calves, and that's about it. She's cute, but she's the most worthless horse on the place in terms of usefulness. His teen daughter tried using her for barrels, but she's slow. She's not typey enough for rail classes, so she now rides one of his rope horses for barrels and bought her own filly to train for pleasure. She's good about most things in life, but she will not cross a railroad track or an expansion joint on a bridge for anything, and she refuses to walk under low-hanging trees, trailer awnings, etc. and she is inherently spooky in new places. Any one of his 13 other horses, a motley crew of quarter horses, paints, a couple of off-track Thoroughbreds, a draft cross, and the four other mustangs would all be much more suitable for a long distance adventure than would Fiona. Just because she's a mustang does not mean she has the toughness and skillset to do well.
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post #10 of 52 Old 06-26-2018, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 8,582
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Please save the lives of several U.S. horses, do yourself a favor and Google " Horseback riding in Mongolia". On the Steppes. There are several websites but my IPad refuses to link them.

That is some of the roughest riding in the world on the toughest horses in the world.

You have zero knowledge of the care and keeping of a horse which includes knowing how to care for the hooves you want to carry you 30,000 miles.

You can save up your money and head for Mongolia where the dream you envision can come very close to being 100% fulfilled -- except you won't have to worry a whole lot about the horses and you sure won't have to worry about civilization negatively interfering:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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