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Good Sense, Self Defense and Safety on the Trails

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  • #41
    Where I ride it's rare to see anyone walking or hiking around. However, when I do, I immediately pick up a trot and say hello as I pass them by.
    Ride Mustangs - An American Original!


    • #42
      I agree about the statistics being skewed, but it proves that people ARE being attacked. I don't think it is a high percentage, but each victim is one too many!

      For the whip, it is easily defended against. Scot reminded us that ex-cons don't get to do much in prison, but one thing they practice is fighting. Also, if he grabs the whip, it is something he can use to pull you closer. Or if he ducks, you could miss and hit your horse.

      There are also problems with relying on a gun for protection. One: when do you shoot them? They can reach and pull you out of the saddle so fast you won't have much time to grab it. Are you going to shoot when he approaches you? How do you know his intentions at that point justify the use of a gun? Are you going to aim a gun at every hiker you see? AND, if you drop it, you have given the attacker a weapon.

      Scot went over ways to avoid having the reins jerked out of your hands, how to hold on if somebody pulls you from behind. Also, he goes over how to identify a potential predator. If somebody asks to pet your horse, you hold up your hand and say "STOP! Don't come any closer." If he asks why, you say anything, such as "My horse bites!" Predators are likely to keep asking you questions to get you to pause to think. So keep talking (or stay silent) rather than answer questions--don't take time to think, say anything, and move away!

      I've got two daughters who want to ride with me. I plan to watch the video and go over trail safety with them. I'd rather they have a half-formed plan in the event of an attack rather than have to think one up at the time.
      "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


      • #43
        It helps to have a mean horse! if you have one. But, all but one are cream in the puff. Good point about the whip; no weapons are superior to mind. So, I better watch the tape if it is captioned. Thanks for your pointers.
        Will get a dream horse!
        More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting


        • #44
          I'm really glad I ran across this thread. I plan to do some solo trail riding this coming season and the thought never occurred to me of getting targeted while on a horse.

          The 10-foot rule goes in my book immediately, it sure seems like a great avoidance.

          But I have to ask... even if someone grabbed my horse's reins, it would seem a good kick would send 1100 lbs. of animal and hooves flying into them!

          As for Mace, there are three forms of delivery--spray, mist and stream. The stream requires a little better aim but is least vulnerable to blow-back. May not work for all circumstances, but it sure seems worth having along.


          • #45
            I hope you guys don't mind my frequent responses, but since I just attended the self-defense clinic, my memory is fresh.

            One thing, Scot didn't say 6 out of 10, he just said that between 6 and 10 people at every clinic--there were quite a few people just at the horse expo who attended. I'm sure it is a VERY low percentage of people who are attacked, but it does happen.

            Okay, if somebody grabs your reins and you try to kick, it stiffens your leg. These guys are used to fighting so they'd be looking for a kick. He grabs your leg and pushes you off the other side of the horse. If you keep your leg relaxed, he can push and you don't go off. That gives you time to move your horse.

            If you are going to turn your horse, he recommends turning it away from the attackher. That way, even if he hangs on to you, he eventually gets bumped by the horse's hip and gest flung away. Keep turning until he has to let go, then move off down the trail at a reasonable clip (don't gallop unless you have a lot of control of your horse).

            If you plan to run an attacker over, all he has to do is grab the reins to stop your horse. It's even worse if he gets the bit.

            The problem with mace is that wind may carry it into your horse's eyes. If you don't know how your horse reacts, you have to be careful. And things happen so fast, you almost have to have it ready right fromt the beginning. Also, not every person is affected by mace. I had a dog come right up to me to bite while I was jogging, and the mace/pepper spray did NOTHING. It can't hurt to have it along though, because you never know what situation might occur.

            I tried to watch the DVD last night, but it was flawed. I'll have to send it back and ask for another one. I don't really expect to be attacked out on the trail, but I'd much prefer to have some idea of how to handle a confrontation if it ever does aris.
            "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


            • #46
              Prieta, pedestrians on the trail don't HAVE to know your horses are cream puffs. They'll believe what you tell them. I've told people all sorts of nonsense about my horses to keep them from asking to pet (or ride!) my horses. It helps that my current trail horse used to race--I can tell them he's a crazy race horse and I can't be sure what he'll do (he's actually a sweetheart).
              "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


              • #47
                I usually do not tell anyone that my horses are cream puffs for purely selfish reason! also, I do not trust people coming in to pet horses. I recall an incident that got me really upset with the staff for not taking care of my client. Once, the staff took a class out on a field trip to a local stable. My client required 24 hours supervision otherwise, he'd either hurt himself or the others. Well, his staff left him alone who then went under a horse to pull that "thing that was sticking out of his belly"! I shudder at the memory of this and am very thankful that this horse did not do anything.
                Will get a dream horse!
                More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting


                • #48
                  Originally posted by WindChsr:
                  I ride alone every weekend and alot of it is in very secluded areas...... Also I was wondering what measures you guys take against dogs running loose as this is a constant issue with my trail riding.
                  I ride by myself a lot, 75% of the time, on my rural neighborhood roads and a nearby state park. I do make it a point to carry my cell phone, on my body verses hooked on the saddle, nowdays. Usually I can get a signal. I'm trying to get better about carrying a whistle, that would be a back up to the cell phone to signal "help". You and I and others who ride alone owe it to our family and loved ones to take these simple precautions.

                  Regarding dogs. Just today my daughter and I rode around our rural neighborhood on a route we don't usually take. We came across many new obnoxious dogs looking for something to do on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, like chase horses on the road.

                  I ride hunt seat, daughter rides rodeo and she had her "over-under" on her saddle horn and I asked her to give it to me. An over-under is 4'-5' length of stiffish rope which is hooked on the saddle horn and used in place of crop during racing events. As each new set of dogs ran barking towards us I trotted my mare directly towards them swinging this short piece of rope and fussing at them. Kept threatning to "catch" one and drag it's sorry hiney to the pound if it got out on the road. Anyway, I liked having the over under instead of short stick to ward off dogs. In the past I have carried a pocket full of rocks to throw and hit the various dogs. I want encounters with my little red mare to be very painful to dogs and hopefully they'll remember to leave me alone. However, my mare is bombproof so a swinging rope and "yippie-ki-yi-yeah" attack didn't faze her at all so this style might not work for everyone.


                  • #49
                    Just a reminder, no matter how strong you think you are it is fairly easy for most men to grab your leg and pull you off that horse before you know what has happened! I like the 10 foot rule but how about 15'. It also sounds like a great idea to teach your horse to spin that butt around from a simple leg que. However non horsemen don't know to be afraid of that butt. I know this from all the folks on bikes who insist on going around my horses rear end TO BE SAFE and not in front of him. Our trail footing is so soft I can't hear them coming and turned around yesterday to find two bikes tailgaiting my horse and they laughed at me when I explained to them that that was a good way to die.
                    I hate that we have to have this thread but was thrilled to read that everyone was taking it seriously.I love to ride alone but if I can't relax it's not much fun. I do like to ride with my big dog and he is protective of me and his horse.


                    • #50
                      SLW, you sound like a fun person to go trail riding with!

                      I've found that barking at dogs actually helps delay them while I get my horse collected and either turned toward them or out of range. I know it sounds silly, but it surprises them enough that they pause or stop in confusion. Since I did it so much on horseback, when a dog came after me while I was toe-clipped into a bike (he was hiding behind the bushes), I barked at him and he stopped about a foot away from my hamstring. I'd have been shredded if not for that gut reaction. After that, I always passed on the other side of street in case the sneaky bugger was behind the same bush.

                      I LIKE the idea of a whistle. It alerts anybody who may be nearby, too.
                      "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                      • #51
                        Oh yes, the whistle is to summon help- perhaps you've fallen off your horse and you can't walk. It would also assist in a "creep-alert" situation. However, as with sleigh bells & horses, it's probably a good idea to introduce the horse to bell being blown from it's back.

                        A neighbor who runs cattle (500 head) a mile from me has a vee-eee-eee-ry clever and bored aussie dog. When that canine sees a horse coming down the road he sneaks into the tin whistle (the metal under the road gully) and hides. At just the momment you have passed him he darts out from under and behind barking and giving chase. Once I can ride my horses by that silly dog I call them "road broke".

                        Another darling neighbor, a now 82 year old WW2 veteran, decorates his yard at Christmas with all sorts of 4' high plywood Christmas theme cutouts, candy cane poles, blinking light thingy's and general overdone wonderfully country special stuff. All of us who have purchased a horse since the previous Christmas live for Thanksgiving weekend when Frank sets out his "loot". Then we hook up and do the "ride by Franks" because if you can ride your horse by Franks in December it is damn near road broke!! Bonus points if you ride by Franks in December on a loose rein!!


                        • #52
                          LOL SLW, that's great...our training ground is a neighbor's farm, complete with braying donkeys, grunting/squealing pigs, bleating goats, barking/charging Great Danes/Rotties, cats that don't move until you're on them, gobbling turkeys, and what is that noise that peacocks make? That and having them jump off a fence and spread their feathers usually makes a horse or two completely lose it for a few seconds. It's great fun! I have thanked the owner for providing us with such a great training experience.


                          • #53
                            I didn't make it in time to see the Self defense seminar on Saturday, but i did catch the bareback riding one Scott did on Sunday. I didn't realize how short he was ! I'm very interested in seeing his DVD, do you know if he will be at the Pennsylvania horse expo ?
                            Ride a draft- it makes your butt look smaller !


                            • #54
                              And did you see at the expo that there was one booth (cicky's maybe) that was selling a long strip of sleigh bells ? I meant to go back and pick one up for when we go trail riding. I'm sure my horse will appreciate that alot more than my wonderful singing to scare off deer !
                              Ride a draft- it makes your butt look smaller !


                              • #55
                                SLW--What a hoot! We have our own takeoff on Frank's down the road with the paintball arena in the neighbor's yard. They have all kinds of barriers and stuff set up at all kinds of angles. Verrrry interesting.

                                AngelCat--Your post reminded me of the time over the summer when I took our new critter on his first big group trail ride. I knew this little horse was a definite keeper when I pulled him off the trailer at the campsite where he was met immediately by a giant draft mule bray. He just kind of looked at the mule as if to say, "Hmm, that was interesting" and went about his business. Now bicycles on the other hand are another matter completely!


                                • #56
                                  PLEASE NEVER EVER USE MASE OR PEPPER SPRAY
                                  while riding or off your horse with your horse
                                  close by. WHY? the over spray can affect your
                                  horse wich can result in loss of control of horse making a bad situation even worse.
                                  Just so you know, I have deliberately maced my horse (I am a cop and there are times when I may have to use my OC (another form of the stuff) while mounted). Strangely enough, he could not have cared less. I sprayed him directly in the face- from nose to eye. He sneezed once and that was the end of it as far as he was concerned. (I didn't get off as lucky, I had to smell the stuff for the rest of the shift!)

                                  I know quite a few other horses that have also been OC'ed. Not a one has done more than sneeze a couple of times.

                                  FWIW, the foam is, IMHO, the way to go. It sticks to the assailant, and, at least temporarily, blinds them (if your aim is good), even if the actual pepper in it doesn't affect them. The drawback to it is they can wipe it off and fling it back, but I have never had that happen. The spray is easier to control than the mist, but you have to be able to aim.


                                  • #57
                                    huh? uh no...I will never spray mace on my horses. Once someone sprayed mace on my dog, my poor dear spent her time trying to clean it off by rubbing on the grasss. enuff said. If you are saying that mace does not bother horses, then I'd like to see a research article stating that horses do not get bothered by mace at all due to the differences in physiology. It'd be an interesting read.
                                    Will get a dream horse!
                                    More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting


                                    • #58
                                      Can't say there is a scientific article. Never said there was. Just stated my personal experience, as well as the experience others that I know have had. CS, OC and regular mace have not affected any horse that I know of, that have been sprayed.


                                      • #59
                                        Hi I'm a new member here. My 17 year old daughter and I ride out a lot by ourselves in the deep woods in our area. Most areas that we ride have very spotty if any cell phone coverage. Twice we have come upon and been approached by men on the trail that I would classify as *strange* or threatening looking. Both times we were able to see them from a distance and were on high alert when passing them. My first instinct would be to kick someone who grabbed at me or my horse. I'm pretty frightened to think of what could happen if someone managed to unseat me and drag me off. I am ordering the DVD and will share it with my friends.
                                        Thanks for bringing this to people's attention, hopefully no one will ever need this information.
                                        There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something,
                                        even when you ain't a thing..... Will Rogers


                                        • #60
                                          Posse977, Scot Hansen only had anecdotal info on how horses react to mace. He said he called around to mounted police forces. One place told him they'd put their best rider on on of their horses and sprayed it with mace. He asked what happened, and they said, "He got bucked off!"

                                          Since I'm not willing to spray my horses, and I've limited success with it against dogs, it's not something I'll carry. However, I will get a whistle (and try it at home, first, so my horse doesn't try to run out from under me).

                                          So far I haven't gotten a knife, either. I'm a terrible proctrastinator!

                                          Welcome Dusty!! I liked the DVD. Unfortunately, mine stopped playing halfway through--it looks like a computer error when they laid it down. You might be better off with the video. I've got to send my DVD back and ask for another copy. But there's the procratination problem I've got...
                                          "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."