Organized trail rides - a few questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Organized trail rides - a few questions

I've had my new horse about 6 weeks and so far everything is going great - I'm still quite smitten with her, and we're figuring each other out. I'm taking things one step at a time.

I've never been on a trail ride - one of the big group rides (have been on short 'rental' rides over the years of course....). My mare has been on many in her life though, and I expect her to be fine. I'm considering taking her on one with several women from the barn where I'm currently boarding. It happens to be starting only a few miles from the barn, and will be on dirt roads. Will probably be 2 or 3 hours, then break for lunch, then another 2 hours. My guess is around 50 horse/rider teams but I'm not sure. So anyway, not rigorous and it seems like a great confidence building 'next step'.

I could ask my new barn friends these questions, but I try to 'spread around' my queries so I'm not tiresome!

So, I know horses basically eat constantly... so how is a 5 or 6 hour (or more) trail ride handled? Are there grazing stops... do you bring snacks for them.... at lunch, will they provide places to tie up? Is hay usually available? And same questions for water.... I know I've heard that not having constant access to food can lead to colic, but I also realize that working horses throughout history don't get to eat constantly all day!

Thanks
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I've had my new horse about 6 weeks and so far everything is going great - I'm still quite smitten with her, and we're figuring each other out. I'm taking things one step at a time.

I've never been on a trail ride - one of the big group rides (have been on short 'rental' rides over the years of course....). My mare has been on many in her life though, and I expect her to be fine. I'm considering taking her on one with several women from the barn where I'm currently boarding. It happens to be starting only a few miles from the barn, and will be on dirt roads. Will probably be 2 or 3 hours, then break for lunch, then another 2 hours. My guess is around 50 horse/rider teams but I'm not sure. So anyway, not rigorous and it seems like a great confidence building 'next step'.

I could ask my new barn friends these questions, but I try to 'spread around' my queries so I'm not tiresome!

So, I know horses basically eat constantly... so how is a 5 or 6 hour (or more) trail ride handled? Are there grazing stops... do you bring snacks for them.... at lunch, will they provide places to tie up? Is hay usually available? And same questions for water.... I know I've heard that not having constant access to food can lead to colic, but I also realize that working horses throughout history don't get to eat constantly all day!

Thanks
assuming your horse is in condition for a 5 hour ride I would make sure he has plenty of hay and water before you start. Too hard to take food with you unless lunch break is at trailer. Then he could get hay and water. If it is a hot day or strenuous ride I would want him to have water. Usually a stream or something. If not a hot day and easy ride he should be ok with out water
Not sure of your age and riding buddies but when I was younger I avoided organized rides of any size. So many careless riders that can cause injury to others.
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 12:56 PM
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I used to organize and ride in a lot of big trail rides some upwards of 200 people. Usually feed/hay is unnecessary, and depending on conditions so is water. I usually would tuck an apple or a couple of carrots in my lunch to give to my horse for a snack that wasn't dry.
Have fun, take lots of pictures, and share!
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
Not sure of your age and riding buddies but when I was younger I avoided organized rides of any size. So many careless riders that can cause injury to others.
Good point - I'm 53 and have only been riding a few years. I've depended heavily on this board for advice on this crazy mid-life adventure!

People seem to enjoy this particular ride, and with it so close to 'home' plus on roads rather than remote trails, it seemed like a good starter. I think it's intended to be an easy early spring ride... understanding everyone is coming off the slow season and we all probably aren't in prime condition! But again, I've never been on one so it might be crazier than I'm ready for. Seems to appeal to an older crowd, though...

My heart's not set on it. Just considering. Appealing as kind of a milestone on my journey.

Last edited by Folly; 03-09-2016 at 01:02 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 01:07 PM
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I have also become NO FAN of organized rides due to too many people coming out dressed for a Western Horseman photo shoot with the common sense and riding ability of Daffy Duck.

That said, as a lifetime trail rider and someone who is used to 20-30 mile rides:

1. Tell your co-riders even though your horse is supposed to be a seasoned, well mannered trail horse, she is new to you. Therefore would they all keep a reasonable distance from her butt, in case she is a kicker.

A lot of horses have no tolerance for another horse riding up on their butt plus is rude and lack-of-common-sense riding on the part of that rider.

If you need to pass another horse & rider, holler "coming thru!" And they should have the courtesy & common sense to move over.

Notice I used the phrase "common sense" a lot

2. Most long hour rides have stops at creeks for the horses to drink. Let your horse drink from a moving body of water, that you don't see a lot of scum buildup, like ponds tend to get.

When I lived in SoCal's Low Desert and rode the rock hills, several hours at a time, I taught my horses to drink from sport water bottles.

2.1. I might also pack a small grooming brush to brush the horse down on the days they work up a sweat. Maybe a couple of paper towels to wipe the sweat of the nether areas.

3. I always brought a hay bag to tie at the trailer. That is the ONLY time my horses ever needed hay. It was more like gum chewing for them, they didn't really need the food.

3.1. Along with the hay bag, I carried water from home (I had a 30 gallon water tank I had built for myself) and two water pails; one for the horse to drink water, the other to put a capful of Absorbine in a five gallon bucket of water and wipe the sweaty yukkies off my horse, especially legs, shoulders, hips. To me, that is more of a job-well-done reward than food.

If it was warm enough when I got home, I hosed the horse down anyway and cut him loose without feeding him. They do NOT need grained as soon as they get home, hay is ok, feed pan feed is not, IMHO.

4. If I am gone long enough to pack a NON-SPOILING sandwich for myself, or the ride sponsor is providing a lunch, I will carry a zip bag of chopped carrots and apples for my horse - not because the horse needs something, just to make me feel better, lol

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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post #6 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
Tell your co-riders your horse is new to you. Therefore would they all keep a reasonable distance from her butt, in case she is a kicker -- rude and lack-of-common-sense riding on the part of that rider.
My first trail ride was a disaster, and I was the guy with the horse crowding the horse in front. In my case it wasn't lack of common sense, just incompetence. My horse was terrified, I was nervous, and I had no idea how to control him. I was a wreck by the end and I'm sure I ruined the ride for at least one other person.

That was before I ever heard of Clinton Anderson. On my second trail ride my horse had new-found confidence in me, and I was able to control his speed, and we practiced riding all the way out in front and all the way at the end of the group. By the time we got to the end of the ride, everyone was strung out over more than a mile, and I was riding in the middle with no horses in sight in front or behind me.

So beware of the person who is in over his head. And if you aren't too frustrated with him, have pity.

The only other advice I would have is make sure there is a no dogs policy.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Reiter View Post
My first trail ride was a disaster, and I was the guy with the horse crowding the horse in front. In my case it wasn't lack of common sense, just incompetence. My horse was terrified, I was nervous, and I had no idea how to control him. I was a wreck by the end and I'm sure I ruined the ride for at least one other person.

That was before I ever heard of Clinton Anderson. On my second trail ride my horse had new-found confidence in me, and I was able to control his speed, and we practiced riding all the way out in front and all the way at the end of the group. By the time we got to the end of the ride, everyone was strung out over more than a mile, and I was riding in the middle with no horses in sight in front or behind me.

So beware of the person who is in over his head. And if you aren't too frustrated with him, have pity.

The only other advice I would have is make sure there is a no dogs policy.


Great advice and insight, and most have covered what I would have shared. But, the above sentence (bolded) is a good thing to ask about and brought back a memory I'd like to share.

The riding club I belong to (and ride with on occasion, and have hosted several) often allow dogs to join us. While, one ride an obnoxious spaniel kept jumping out at Walka and while he handled it okay, it was starting to get to me.

The owner was just a head of me so I said in a very loud voice, "Just want to thank you for letting me use your dog to condition Walka. Usually he'll stomp them if they get close enough, but so far I've been able to hold him back."

The owner quickly called the dog to her and kept it by her side with treats and all manner of bribes. I don't think she much enjoyed the rest of the ride! (insert evil laugh here)

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 #8 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
I have also become NO FAN of organized rides due to too many people coming out dressed for a Western Horseman photo shoot with the common sense and riding ability of Daffy Duck.

That said, as a lifetime trail rider and someone who is used to 20-30 mile rides:

1. Tell your co-riders even though your horse is supposed to be a seasoned, well mannered trail horse, she is new to you. Therefore would they all keep a reasonable distance from her butt, in case she is a kicker.

A lot of horses have no tolerance for another horse riding up on their butt plus is rude and lack-of-common-sense riding on the part of that rider.
Tie a red ribbon in her tail near the top, that's the universal sign that your horse is a kicker. Better safe than sorry on a horse you are not sure of, even more important when in a crowd that's large and you've never been with. Besides that, darn near any horse will eventually kick if pressed hard enough by an obnoxious rider/horse combo riding up your hind end.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 08:11 PM
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I once took my kicking horse (NOT the doll face in my avatar) on a big ride and put a big red ribbon in his tail.

A lady dressed for a Western Horseman photo shoot laughingly asked me if that was his Christmas ribbon; she honestly had no clue what the ribbon meant.

I did tell her that big ribbon was for a big kicker and I wasn't nice about it; better she hear my mouth than to have my horse connect with hers.

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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post #10 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 08:42 PM
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I've done a few of those rides. Mainly ended up riding with my friends but to be honest I went for the wild bonfire parties afterwards.
Nowadays I leave my horse at home & just show up for the parties.
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