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you and the trail...

Why trail riding...
Horses are born for trail riding. Not all of them though, eg. I would not want to ride a Bronco on the trail, but except for the extremes on both ends of the breeding spectrum, from the Fallabella to the Shirehorse,  you will find that your average horse, loves and is best suited to trail ride.  When men started to use horses, it was to get from A to B. Only much later we started to demand that they dance Polka in the sand square or jump over obstacles and chase cows or race barrels.

The physical Aspects

But even then, we still need to consider a couple of things before we take our horse on the Long-Ride.

Horses need 5-7 years to physically fully mature. This means their joints and bone structure are only capable of handling your weight over a longer time period, if they are fully matured. Riding 100 mls on a 4-year-old is not going to kill it instantly, but later on in life, it will show the effect of being abused when it was to young. The same is true generally about the weight your horse can carry. If your horse weighs 800 lbs, it can handle 200 lbs. of rider, saddle, and Bags if it is fit, not overweight and well-trained.  And this only, if you are a good rider, that will still be actively riding even after 6 or 8 hours in the saddle and if you get off your horse at least 20 min. every two hours. We recommend horses for trail rides to be between 6 and 20 years old and best about 14-15 hands with a short back and comfortable gait.

The mental Aspects

Depending on the breed of horse you have, trail riding will take its toll on the horse's mental health, if too much is demanded of him too fast. Taking a former free-range horse, into a busy town center can create havoc, on the other hand, taking a high-strung stable horse into the bush the first time,  can be nerve-racking for both, the horse and the rider. Horses need to learn to drink different water,  eat different hay and herbs, stay calm in difficult situations, and rest, even when the coyotes are howling.

Your Horses Skills

Horses need to be able to cross a creek or a bridge and stand still tied up. It needs to be calm among other horses and most important, to respect you as its leader. That means it respects your personal space and is trusting you. it can be led and tied without problem and is used to ride in an unknown group of horses as well as away from the group without hesitation and without being physically coerced to move all the time.

The Riders Skills

You need to be able to handle your horse, alone or in a group in all gaits. We do not plan on spooking your horse, but if it does you are the one responsible for handling it. So prepare. You need to be able to ride your horse at any given speed,

Conditioning your horse

Your horse  is to be conditioned for a ride. If its just a garden ornament, you need to give it time to get back in shape, by riding it for 10 to 15 mls a day without luggage, before you demand 25 mls with a lot of weight.
Your horse is in good condition if
you can jog or trott for 20 min. in flat terrain and the horse's TPR is back to double its norm after 5 minutes. Find out about your horses vital signs and TPR.

Your own fitness

You need to be fair to your horse. If you want it to carry you for hours on end, at least you need to ride it, and not be dead weight. Even after 5 or 6 hours. And you need to be able to get off and on your horse, without needing an elevator. If your horse is very tall, we can help you get up there.

Necessary information

We need to know if your horse has special abilities like kicking or biting. A red ribbon in its tail will help.
Don't be afraid to let us know
if you or your horse has special needs or Allergies. Let someone know, where to find your medication if need be. We will be riding single file most of the time, and only double up if the trail permits.

Hoof Protection for Your Horse

Your horse needs some sort of hoof protection, if we are on trail for more than one day. Talk to your farrier, of hoof care specialist if you are not sure. We recommend you shoe your horse with Duplo composites green for summer.

Equipment

Make sure you use tested and tried equipment when you go on a long trail. This is not the time to test your new pad or saddle. Your saddle needs to fit your horse perfectly and your butt as well. Make sure you use a back chinc, that way you don't have to girth to hard.  Use a breast collar and a tail strap if needed. Use a blanket underneath your pad, if your bags are touching the skin of your horse. Do not ride with a heavy backpack. Heavy stuff needs to be in your horn bags, volume and light stuff in your saddlebags and raingear etc. in your cantle roll.

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