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View Full Version : 10 of 60 min. Walk, leading horse, for a rest.



MoseyAlong
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:50 AM
I read this in a quote from a Cavalry Manual, I think.
Also at least one western painting shows this (Remington?Russel?).
Correspondingly, a John Wayne Cavalry movie shows this.

Now, I have never seen, heard, read etc. of this being done
on trail rides or other challenging excursions, with the possible
exception of the Long Riders Guild stories.

So, do any of you do this to rest horses on a regular basis?

I do realize, you dismount for some problem areas, but that
is not the same. I also know that various kinds of Endurance
competitions force you to rest horses until their vital signs return
to a safe range. Close, maybe better, but not quite the same.

To me, the concept is: rest the horse before he gets tired.
Would leading your horse make him think that: trouble is ahead.
Or, would the horse become impatient with the delay and think
"What a Putz this rider is," and want to proceed to the next
shade and water?
Could you walk that much? In those boots?

Guilherme
Jun. 30, 2010, 08:37 AM
The British Cavalry used a "clock system" where the rider mounted at time 00 and rode for 40 min., with half the time at the intermediate gait, the rest at the walk. Periodically, there would be short times at the gallop. At time 40 the rider dismounted and marched for 10 min. Then 10 min. of rest, grazing the horse if possible. Then remount at 00 and do it all again.

The U.S. Cavalry also used regular breaks, but was not quite to strict. But regular marching and resting breaks were used.

It's also of interst that an NCO had a watch and a log noting the time spent at each gait and marching and resting. In open country this was a form of "dead reconing" navigation.

This system allows a unit to cover a fairly long distance, day after day, and have enough horse left at any given time for a fight. The standard daily distance was expected to be 25-35 miles per day, depending upon terrain.

Forced marches were also used in emergencies, but a field commanded had to carefully consider how hard he could push wthout suffering unaccepable losses among horses.

We follow this system on trail rides. It eases the burden on the horse and allows the human to "walk out" the kinks that maintining a riding position can induce (such as sore knees). We've never had a horse overheat or suffer a sore back or come up lame on a ride due to fatigue or exhaustion. We've also never lamed a rider. :)

G.

Cartfall
Jun. 30, 2010, 08:50 PM
I use this method, perhaps not so strict on time, but I find that getting off and leading the horse helps me as well. Once I walk, my muscles and joints stretch and relax as well.

As I am riding more than I have in several year (have been primarily a driver in several disciplines, now doing some competitive trail driving) I find about once an hour I do get off and walk maybe 5 or 6 minutes. A usual ride for me is maybe 2 to 3 hours of easy riding--flat walk mostly on a TWH.

Beverley
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:49 PM
I don't necessarily watch the clock, but yes, I give horses regular breaks on an all day trail ride- we stop occasionally for bathroom breaks and etc- I'll get off the horse while others are getting organized and let it graze. On long steep climbs out here in the mountains it is customary to stop and let them recover a bit though not necessarily dismounted.

When foxhunting, if there's a check, especially after a long hard gallop, I'll get off, give the horse's back and my joints a break.

I can't say I routinely make leading the horse part of the drill, but when doing trail maintenance I'll often get off, lead the horse while I'm pruning/ picking up trash/ whatever- I've never known a horse to equate being led with 'trouble ahead.'

BigHorseLittleHorse
Jul. 1, 2010, 09:24 AM
I can't say I routinely make leading the horse part of the drill, but when doing trail maintenance I'll often get off, lead the horse while I'm pruning/ picking up trash/ whatever- I've never known a horse to equate being led with 'trouble ahead.'

Exactly - your horse will only associate leading with "trouble ahead" if that's been its experience in the past. When I get off, it's for trail maintenance, to give him and me a break, to open a gate with sagging hinges that needs to be dragged open and shut, etc. Yesterday, he stood quietly for half an hour while I picked wild raspberries :)

Halcyon Days
Jul. 1, 2010, 12:04 PM
I ride endurance and it feels GREAT to get off and walk here and there! If I have to get off and open a gate I'll just walk a bit, or if there's a long rocky downhill, or after a potty stop, into vetchecks, etc.

AJHorsey
Jul. 1, 2010, 12:46 PM
I have made a habbit of getting off my horse for super steep hills when muddy or whenever we are heading into base camp at an endurance or competitive. My guys seem to appreciate the break and being able to find his own balance up the mud- slide areas. (Up normal dry hills, I stay on, but try to get him to take a break at the top.) Going into base camp he gets harder to handle getting near "home" and other horses, so this is just easier for both of us, as he has perfect ground manners and respect. I don't generally get off of him otherwise, but rather do some nice, head-bobbing loose rein walk for breaks. (He's hard to get back onto, so avoid it when I can!)

pnalley
Jul. 1, 2010, 05:00 PM
We stop to rest the horses frequently after a long hill to let them catch their breath. My husband will get off & lead his horse to stretch out the kinks occasionally. I don't make a habit of leading, but I will on occasion. It sounds like a very good practice.

Trakehner
Jul. 2, 2010, 07:50 AM
It gives the horse a break, especially his back. Just picture all the brats at horse shows who use their poor horses for a grandstand seat, sitting on their backs for hours.

I'll also get off my horse 200 yards or so from the barn, loosen his girth and walk him back. Walking a bit does my joints good, and the pressure is slowly taken off his back with less potential swelling problems.

Of course, if you're too fat or old to not be able to get on your horse if you get off...perhaps you need a shorter horse? The horse shouldn't pay the price for your weaknesses.

jeano
Jul. 8, 2010, 09:52 AM
"...Of course, if you're too fat or old to not be able to get on your horse if you get off...perhaps you need a shorter horse? The horse shouldn't pay the price for your weaknesses."

Guilty as charged...I do get off for bathroom breaks on long rides, but otherwise stay mounted unless I drop something or have to adjust tack. Horses are already 15 hands at most. I can see 14 hand horses in my future...

I do often lead the horse to the barn from a tenth or two of a mile out, usually as a reward for work well done.

I once attempted to tail a horse up a real steep long hill in OH. Being practically dragged face first cured me of that. I let them stop and blow when they need to and give them frequent grazing breaks. So far no sore backs and no 'tude about being tacked up or caught for a ride so it must be working.

katarine
Jul. 8, 2010, 12:05 PM
To me, the concept is: rest the horse before he gets tired.
Would leading your horse make him think that: trouble is ahead.
Or, would the horse become impatient with the delay and think
"What a Putz this rider is," and want to proceed to the next
shade and water?
Could you walk that much? In those boots?

I don't get off to get through most hairy deals, so the horse would have no reason to equate me on the ground with trouble. I did ride a particularly hairy section of a mtn trail recently with my R foot loose of the stirrup- if my mare had stepped off she was a goner- I wanted a chance to get free of her if that happened. She's youngish and still learning where her feet are some days.

I do dismount to walk and stretch my legs on multi hour rides, not all of them, but some. The more climb/fall there is the less I do this, seems like. It's the long boring stuff that I'll hop off and walk or jog to stretch. I wear footwear that's conducive to such options (lace up Georgia boots).

Impatient horses need a lesson in manners and who's in charge. My most forward TWH will dog walk behind me if told to do so.

cowboymom
Jul. 8, 2010, 03:24 PM
We just did a lot of mountain miles last weekend (60) and I did end up walking some of them. If my horse perceived trouble ahead when I got off to walk then he was psychic b/c that is exactly what we ended up with but we didn't know it at the time.

Our horses are usually impatient when we walk though-they can walk faster than we can and they would rather go at the quicker pace. They are usually well-behaved about it but we have one stinker that isn't. Walking for us is rare-with a pack string it just runs smoother if everyone is going about the same speed. We do plenty of rest breaks though, for the horses and for us. Sometimes we get off, sometimes we don't. <shrug>

It does feel good to walk sometimes-I did about five miles in my roper boots on Tuesday, through creeks, rocks and steep downhill trails. Boots didn't bother me a bit but they are well broke in.

MoseyAlong
Jul. 9, 2010, 07:21 PM
Our horses are usually impatient when we walk though-they can walk faster than we can and they would rather go at the quicker pace. They are usually well-behaved about it but we have one stinker that isn't.
...

It does feel good to walk sometimes-I did about five miles in my roper boots on Tuesday, through creeks, rocks and steep downhill trails. Boots didn't bother me a bit but they are well broke in.

With very limited experience, a dozen farm/ranch horses, all of them
naturally walked faster than I walked. So I guess many of you are,
intentionally or not, training your horse for an extra gait: a human
speed walk.

cowboymom
Jul. 9, 2010, 09:06 PM
Well if I'm leading them from one end of the pasture to the other I have no problem keeping them at a human walking pace but when we're trying to cover 15 miles in the mountains and get somewhere it's a little silly to slow them to an human speed when the whole reason we're out there is to take advantage of the horse speed.

I can't imagine what my husband would say if I asked him to slow the pack string down to my walking pace so they can practice their human speed gear! :eek::lol:

When I walked last weekend I just had him and the pack string go ahead-we caught up on breaks.