Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You're responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it--details of personal disputes may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums' policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it's understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users' profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses -- Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it's related to a horse for sale, regardless of who's selling it, it doesn't belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions -- Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services -- Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products -- While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements -- Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be "bumped" excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues -- Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators' discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the �alert� button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your �Ignore� list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you'd rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user's membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 5/9/18)
See more
See less

First Trail Ride Advice

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    First Trail Ride Advice

    Hello All!

    I have decided to take my OTTB dressage show horse out on his first trail ride since we're not doing show outings at the moment. I've been wanting to do it for a while but never quite got around to it. But I'm very green when it comes to trail riding off-property.

    He has hacked in my hay field and in the woods. He also hacks along the gravel road (until we get to cows because they're terrifying). I used to board him at a barn that had very beginner friendly trails (only one very minor water crossing) and he seemed to love the days we went out and explored.

    I've done a few trail rides when I was younger with friends and family and I'm very comfortable riding outside of an arena.

    I have an experienced friend going and she will be riding my other horse. He's a Rocky Mountain Horse who is very experienced with trails (as in traveled around the Midwest to multiple states for trail riding). I purchased him last fall and he's proven to be very steady, smart, and slow to react. I'm hoping his calm demeanor will give my other guy confidence.

    Anyway, I'm planning on just a half-day trip--haul out in the morning, ride for a couple hours, then haul home. I'm so used to making packing lists for shows and overnight stays with stalls that I'm feeling a bit lost as to what I'll need for a trail ride. Obviously I need tack and grooming supplies, hay, etc., but is there anything you all recommend for trails that I may not think about?

    Or anything else I should know before our first adventure? Tips and tricks for a somewhat spooky, inexperienced trail horse?

    Thanks!

    #2
    Just walk. No speed. If he needs to stop and stare, let him sit on the edge of his comfort zone until he gets up courage. Don't push but don't let him turn around or back off. He needs to learn you will see him through things and that he won't be punished for being afraid. If he does start to melt down its fine to get off and handwalk keeping yourself between him and scary object.

    Stay alert and scan for things ahead and around. Especially hikers or children or dog walkers messing around in the bush beside the trail, bikes and motor vehicles in the distance, and big signage or rubbish on the trail. Also large boulders that look like a crouching bear spook many horses!

    Go somewhere you've already been with Mr Rocky McCool so you know the trail, if possible.

    Comment


      #3

      Besides the obvious, don't forget bug spray! (and fly spray) And sunscreen. There is actually bug spray/sunscreen combo you can buy, blew my mind.

      Also have a halter you can keep under your bridle (or in a saddle bag) in case you need to tie up to eat or whatever. If you are bringing a small saddle bag for me water is a must along with a hoof pick.

      Check if your trail is on this neat app I found, it keeps my husband and I from getting lost, lol. It's called AllTrails.

      As for keeping a spooky horse interested, disengaging the hindquarters always helps me, leg yielding a bit if there is room. Make sure you go on a trail that one of you is familiar with. And if it's your friend, does she have the same standard of 'easy trail' as you do? I had someone show me a trail that THEY thought was easy, but me not so much.

      Have a great time!
      https://www.etsy.com/shop/LamBamWoodworking

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
        Just walk. No speed. If he needs to stop and stare, let him sit on the edge of his comfort zone until he gets up courage. Don't push but don't let him turn around or back off. He needs to learn you will see him through things and that he won't be punished for being afraid. If he does start to melt down its fine to get off and handwalk keeping yourself between him and scary object.

        Stay alert and scan for things ahead and around. Especially hikers or children or dog walkers messing around in the bush beside the trail, bikes and motor vehicles in the distance, and big signage or rubbish on the trail. Also large boulders that look like a crouching bear spook many horses!

        Go somewhere you've already been with Mr Rocky McCool so you know the trail, if possible.
        We are definitely just going to walk. The goal is relaxing and fun for everyone.

        The trail I picked is very quiet, especially during the week so I'm hoping to avoid a ton of traffic (but I'm sure there will at least be some).

        Thanks for the advice. We're definitely a stop and stare team when things are scary (I learned that this winter with the cows if I tried to kick him forward he'd freak out more so I'd just sit there on a loose rein and praise him for a few steps forward at a time).

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Lv2rid3 View Post
          Besides the obvious, don't forget bug spray! (and fly spray) And sunscreen. There is actually bug spray/sunscreen combo you can buy, blew my mind.

          Also have a halter you can keep under your bridle (or in a saddle bag) in case you need to tie up to eat or whatever. If you are bringing a small saddle bag for me water is a must along with a hoof pick.

          Check if your trail is on this neat app I found, it keeps my husband and I from getting lost, lol. It's called AllTrails.

          As for keeping a spooky horse interested, disengaging the hindquarters always helps me, leg yielding a bit if there is room. Make sure you go on a trail that one of you is familiar with. And if it's your friend, does she have the same standard of 'easy trail' as you do? I had someone show me a trail that THEY thought was easy, but me not so much.

          Have a great time!
          Dang, I'll have to look into the combo. I coat myself in sunscreen and bug spray when I mow our yard...that would be so helpful on a lot of occasions. Also things I wouldn't have thought about, so good call!

          It's the first trail she took her 4-year old on and is supposed to be gently rolling hills and a couple of shallow creek crossings. Very quiet and secluded as well, so hopefully not too many people and dogs (leashes are required but you know people don't always listen to that).

          Do you think a saddle bag is a necessity? I definitely don't have anything like that for my dressage saddle. Supposedly this loop should take us 3 hours (and it's actually two loops so we can bail early if something were to go wrong before halfway through).

          Comment


            #6
            Are you hauling out to the trail? If so, bring a manure fork and pick up any manure your horse deposits in the parking area and take it home with you. Practice Leave No Trace principles. Have fun!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post

              Dang, I'll have to look into the combo. I coat myself in sunscreen and bug spray when I mow our yard...that would be so helpful on a lot of occasions. Also things I wouldn't have thought about, so good call!

              It's the first trail she took her 4-year old on and is supposed to be gently rolling hills and a couple of shallow creek crossings. Very quiet and secluded as well, so hopefully not too many people and dogs (leashes are required but you know people don't always listen to that).

              Do you think a saddle bag is a necessity? I definitely don't have anything like that for my dressage saddle. Supposedly this loop should take us 3 hours (and it's actually two loops so we can bail early if something were to go wrong before halfway through).
              Right?! The one I saw was made by Bull Frog.
              That trail sounds perfect! As for the saddle bag, that's up to you, when I trail I go western so I have lots of rings For that short of a ride you will probably be fine!
              https://www.etsy.com/shop/LamBamWoodworking

              Comment


                #8
                I always have a saddle bag. In it I have a first aid kit, a clean dish towel, disposable diaper, Advil, a whistle, water, some snacks, some baling twine (ask me about the time the bit fell off of my bridle and I fixed it with baling twine!), a hoof pick, bug spray and towelettes, a note pad and pen (in case you need to leave a message). Even for a three hour ride. And I always have a halter under the bridle. We ride in pretty rugged areas as well as easy, supposedly risk-free trails. You never know what might happen, and experience has shown it's better to have too much than miss some key piece of equipment.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I clip this to the front D-ring of my english saddle: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Easy...ge-ECSSEB.html
                  It's big enough for a water bottle, granola bar, some treats, hoof pick, and my keys, (and my phone but not advocating that - best practice is to have your phone on your person) with some room to spare.
                  http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I am going to chime in to say that I think a 3 hour ride is really long for a horse's first ride. I think you should do one loop and call it a day. No more than 90 minutes. Make it simple, make it easy. Bring some yummy hay and a flat-backed water bucket to hang for him to chill at the trailer when you are done. You and your friend should bring a snack/lunch. Sponge him off and make him nice and comfy after the short 90 minute ride. Everyone have their snack and then load up and go home. Next time, do the exact same trail again. Easy, peasy. Then the next time (3rd ride), add a bit more, either distance or trotting. Small, successful rides. Don't wear him out mentally. Better to be finished with him still feeling fresh and relaxed vs. exhausted and sweaty.

                    To put this into perspective ... you wouldn't go this long for dressage or jumping, right? When you introduce something new, don't you just do a little bit to give your horse a feeling of success and call it quits? Then next time, you repeat, and horse feels confident. The third time a little more, etc.

                    Have fun! I am so envious. I lost my beloved Rocky Road last October to sudden onset Cushings/Laminitis/IR. He was one in a million and was very much the easy-going, no-big-deal trail horse that helped any other horse know for sure that THIS is not a big deal. Sounds like your other horse might be this type. Priceless!

                    SCM1959

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I was also going to note that a three hour ride is pretty long for a first time. You want the whole experience to be easy, I can see three hours being a bit too mentally taxing, and your horse not being happy about that! I think people underestimate trail riding and all the mental stimulation on the horse, and the attention that the rider needs to be paying as well.

                      That being said, I don't go on any ride without a small bag (my dressage saddle has rings, but you can get d-savers and a front bag) with a few necessary thing. My horse carries some string (emergency replace something), handkerchief (pressure bandage) and a folding hoof pick. I carry a knife, my phone and water, because you never know!

                      I hope you have a great time, report back!
                      "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty

                      http://trails-and-trials-with-major.blogspot.com/

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        The trail does have a couple of spots for us to loop back and make it shorter. I'll definitely take that into consideration and pay attention to how he's handling things. If he seems at all tired or stressed we will definitely keep it short and sweet. I admit I was mostly thinking of his physical fitness and not his mental fitness for the "new" since he's seemed to enjoy our mini trail rides in the past. Good things to think about! I'll also see if my friend has a saddle bag of some sort that we can use.

                        And I always wanted a Rocky when I was a kid (admittedly just for their color/looks) so when I was moving my show horse to our property and he needed a friend I figured I might as well live out the childhood dream!

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          We went this weekend! It was super quiet and most everything went to plan. Not one spook, just several side-eyes at scary rocks and logs/stumps.

                          We did get lost for a little while, so we hand-walked for the end of it to make sure that things weren't too much, but he was still bright eyed at the end and wanted to play in the creek when I was trying to sponge him off, so I call it a success! We will definitely be going out again this summer.

                          PS, I used a running belt with two water bottles as my "saddle bag" and it worked great.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Training Cupid View Post
                            I clip this to the front D-ring of my english saddle: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Easy...ge-ECSSEB.html
                            It's big enough for a water bottle, granola bar, some treats, hoof pick, and my keys, (and my phone but not advocating that - best practice is to have your phone on your person) with some room to spare.
                            Keys should stay on your person as well. Put your fob on a clip so you don't have to take the whole ring of jinglies with you.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post
                              We went this weekend! It was super quiet and most everything went to plan. Not one spook, just several side-eyes at scary rocks and logs/stumps.

                              We did get lost for a little while, so we hand-walked for the end of it to make sure that things weren't too much, but he was still bright eyed at the end and wanted to play in the creek when I was trying to sponge him off, so I call it a success! We will definitely be going out again this summer.

                              PS, I used a running belt with two water bottles as my "saddle bag" and it worked great.
                              Awesome! Sounds like an excellent and fun first outing!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I always take horn saddle bags with a small first aid kit and water. I leave the halter on under bridle and take some hay string or something else to make makeshift lead rope. My first aid kit is roll of gauze, roll of vetrap, duct tape, tweezers, benadryl, saline eye flush, maxi pad (great wound covering), benadryl, aleve, shoe strings (a LOT of tack, equipment can be hodge podged together with sturdy leather laces). It sounds like a lot but it all fits into a small 3 x 5 makeup bag I had. I tuck that into the saddle bag along with bottle of water and snack if needed. I also have one of those plier multi tools and a pocket knife. It was a $6 cheap one from Aldi's. Not the nice leatherman tools that I covet. This can double as a hoof pick if needed.

                                Also, my horses wear halters or leather neck collars with my contact information and an emergency contact. I always wear a road ID. I started with the leather neck collars with ID after some neighboring horses escaped and owners couldn't be found. I had just moved to area and had zero idea who they belonged to. I ordered the neck collars from The Tack Shack of Ocala and everyone wears them 24/7 except for shows.

                                When I ride out on the trails, I usually go MILES from home so it's nice to have enough equipment to fix most things enough to at least make it home. I always wear a helmet and if hunting season or going to be on sides of roads, I wear an orange reflective vest. I live in the south so I usually have the horses in cashel quiet ride fly masks or at least ear bonnets to keep those nasty yellow biting flies off ears. The ear bonnets came from Ear Me Now and are orange/reflective so also helps with visibility.

                                Also, I make sure all my horses know how to pony and be ponied off of. Luckily, I have never had to use any of these safety precautions but I think it makes me go out with a more confident mindset.

                                Have a great ride! I LOVE trail riding. It's such a fun change from arena work and I think the horses really enjoy it too.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post
                                  We went this weekend! It was super quiet and most everything went to plan. Not one spook, just several side-eyes at scary rocks and logs/stumps.

                                  We did get lost for a little while, so we hand-walked for the end of it to make sure that things weren't too much, but he was still bright eyed at the end and wanted to play in the creek when I was trying to sponge him off, so I call it a success! We will definitely be going out again this summer.

                                  PS, I used a running belt with two water bottles as my "saddle bag" and it worked great.
                                  YAY! So glad!
                                  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LamBamWoodworking

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Great start!

                                    Something I discovered this spring - my horse is much more forward out of the ring and tends to get going too fast, loses balance, and loses focus on me. I don't want to be constantly holding him back (especially when riding with pokey horses) and circles are frequently not practical or possible. I tried the forward/back exercise I use in the ring - go forward a few strides, then come back a few strides (I use 3-4 strides usually, but the key is to get a response before changing otherwise the horse just blows off the one he doesn't want to do). My horse maintained his balance much better, and was much more attentive, as well as keeping a steadier pace.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                                      Keys should stay on your person as well. Put your fob on a clip so you don't have to take the whole ring of jinglies with you.
                                      I actually always leave my keys hidden with the trailer. This way I can't lose them on the trail. I always let the other person know where they are. I try to hide them in not obvious places. My favorite was the cover for my spare tire. Sometimes I will hide it in the manager bag under the hay. Or under the front chest bar where the manager bag clips. Somewhere that most people don't think to look.
                                      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

                                        I actually always leave my keys hidden with the trailer. This way I can't lose them on the trail. I always let the other person know where they are. I try to hide them in not obvious places. My favorite was the cover for my spare tire. Sometimes I will hide it in the manager bag under the hay. Or under the front chest bar where the manager bag clips. Somewhere that most people don't think to look.
                                        Not a bad idea! I can easily separate mine, so I'm carrying just a tiny fob while the bigger ring (that can still start the vehicle, god forbid I lose my fob) are in the trailer somewhere.

                                        Just don't put them on the horse! I guess that's what I was trying to say.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X