Dressage Trail Riders, do you have any trail riding solutions?
Hello my fellow dressage trail riders!
I'm a typical dressage rider (if there is a such thing) and have gotten more into trail riding over the last several years because my young horse really loves it and it's a great stress reliever for her. I've always gone trail riding a little bit, but now I'm doing it a lot more and for longer-like up to 4 hours or so. It's been great conditioning for my horse and she seems to just get happier the longer we go!
My questions are:
1. Do you have a pair of trail riding pants or a seat saver that actually works? My butt was feeling a bit sore after a few hours in the park last weekend. Someone suggested that I try underwear that is made for biking-has anyone tried this and maybe have a link to where I can find some?
2. Leg protection: The "hard-core" trail riders that I have befriended don't wrap their horses legs because they worry about the heat. Obviously that's not really a problem right now (I live in Minnesota), but does anyone have suggestions of some kind of boot that is very breathable? My horse is a big moving warmblood who spends more time clobbering her own legs with her giant feet than not.
3. Bridle. I don't want to spend a ton of money here, but I noticed that my beast had some foam under her bridle the last time we went riding. Any good trail riding/endurance bridles I can sub in? I'm looking for something that is super cheap as I'm not really sure I will be doing this forever.
1. Sheepskin seat savers are awesome, but any saver will alter the for of the saddle for you.
2. Either quit worrying about it, or spring for vented cross country boots. Honestly I wouldn't leave any boot on for that long.
3. Go shop at www.actionridertack.com and pick yourself out a schmaltzy biothane in your color of choice.
1. Sheepskin all the way. Love it! Super comfy, cool in the summer and warm in the winter!!!
2. I do use leg protection because there are tons of cacti where I live, especially on the edges of the trails, and I don't want the needles getting in my horse's legs. I use Classic Equine Legacy boots because they're thick enough to keep out the cactus needles and have little perforations to supposedly make them breathable. I still worry that they're hot though, so I'll be reading other people's suggestions on here too!
3. I don't know if your concern is heat buildup on your horse's face or the leather getting foamy? Either way I doubt is a huge deal, but if you're hankering for a trail bridle, I second www.actionridertack.com for a cool biothane one. You can also get the sheepskin seat covers there.
I find my butt only gets sore if I walk too long. If I keep changing gaits and trot and canter I can go for four hours without getting a sore butt. If I'm mostly walking an hour gives me a tender tush.
I don't use anything, but anything neoprene is going to hold some heat. If you aren't riding for hours on end in really hot weather and it makes you feel better, I'd go ahead and put some SMBs on her and call it good.
Wintec biothane bridle. Cheap and easy to hose off.
I personally like the gel seat savers, but they ARE more pricey. Or, ha-ha-ha, spring for a Steubben Imperator AP saddle (there are used ones). It has foam between the seat and panel layers. Mine is 25+ years old, has held up beautifully, and I find it very comfortable for trail riding.
Boots...eh...I've done long rides (though not on current horse who is being a bit of PITA about trail riding, but we're working on it). I generally use the lightest weight regular splint boots I can find, vented if possible. Never had any particular issues with my old horse, and after he had a suspensory injury I DID use non-vented boots with the suspensory strap. After longer ride, I would hose off, dry, then apply Mineral Ice.
After moaning about the discomfort of my Stubben jumping saddle (my Passier dressage saddle is pretty comfy for trails, but I like to jump at the Moss Foundation), I remembered a seat saver someone left in my tack room years ago. It is a Toklat synthetic, I washed it and put it on the Stubben and Oh what a difference! I can't imagine how that would affect the fit of the saddle as the fleece is only on top and a strap goes through the gullet.
Anyway, hope this helps. I go bootless as my horse doesn't interfere.
Well- trail/ endurance rider here who dabbles (and works) in dressage.
1. Sheepskin- if you're hours in the saddle it's what you want. You do NOT want something synthetic. It doesn't really alter the fit of your saddle that much. For my dressage saddle that I occasionally use for trails, I also have sheepskin stirrup leather covers that are awesome!
2. No boots- seriously if your horse can't go without them then maybe it's better not to do much trail riding. I ride through some ROUGH stuff- sharp rocks, green brier tangles, deep creeks, deep mud and have no problems with cuts or scrapes. If I have poly shoes on my one mare, I will put bell boots on her but that's it.
3. Biothane and beta are your friends- easy to clean- just hose em off and I've never had a rub from either. They also stay soft and supple no matter what the temp is
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