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Night Time Trail Rides

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  • Night Time Trail Rides

    If you get the chance, do it! Last night was our first night ride. The moon was full, the sky was clear and the trails were lit and bright by the moon. We were a little nervous, but the horses didn't care weather it was day or night. they just went about the trail. The seemed to have been seeing just fine, it was us that missed a few "ducks" of the tree branches. It was beautiful, invigorating and simply one of the best rides of my life. I've already marked my calendar for the next full moon 12/31. Can't wait to ride a moonlit ride again!
    Kim
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA
    http://www.GallopingGrape.com

  • #2
    I don't ride in the dark most of the year. But during hunting season, I ride ALOT in the dark. Of Course during October/November the days are shorter, so we have more opportunity. We always seem to be getting up early enough to ride the horses to where ever we are hunting, And we stay and hunt until the sun goes down and ride back to camp in the dark. Often times we leave home after work and drive over to where we hunt, unload and tack up and ride up the canyon to where our tent is pitched. Again all in the dark.

    This past September I was helping some friends with a Moose hunt. My friends son, shot a moose and came back to get his dad and me to help. We left camp at 5pm to go retrieve his moose. Arriving at the kill site just as it got dark around 7:30. By time we got the moose butchered and loaded on the horses it was 9:30 pm and pitch black. No moon, no stars. It was black. We were on a trail that I'd never seen other than the ride up it a couple of hours earlier. Since I had loaded the moose onto the other two horses, my friends had to walk out and I rode my gelding and lead the other two horses.

    I couldn't see a thing. So I just let my horse have his head and did my best to not get brushed off by low hanging branches. The horses retraced their route right back to the truck. I was amazed that they were able to find and stay on the trail. It was not that well defined. So I know they have much much better night vision than me. they were so comfortable in heading back to the trailer they just moved right out, my friends on foot couldn't keep up. We got back to the truck a little after 11:00pm. I had a new respect for their night vision.

    Comment


    • #3
      We are surrounded by wheat fields, so when they are cut you can see everything on a full moon and the footing is really consistent. I've done it twice so far. Once with one other friend and my dog, and another time it was with five others. When riding with my dog we stumbled upon a coyote and the two actually played together for about ten minutes! I don't know if I would be comfortable on wooded trails at night though, even though the horses know what they are doing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Been a few years back but one of the most wonderful rides I ever had was on a cold January night. Full moon, stars all ablaze, and one foot plus of soft, loose snow! Just the dog, horse and me. (On farm lanes that I knew well so that we didn't step on/into something under the snow.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by GallopingGrape View Post
          If you get the chance, do it! Last night was our first night ride. The moon was full, the sky was clear and the trails were lit and bright by the moon. We were a little nervous, but the horses didn't care weather it was day or night. they just went about the trail. The seemed to have been seeing just fine, it was us that missed a few "ducks" of the tree branches. It was beautiful, invigorating and simply one of the best rides of my life. I've already marked my calendar for the next full moon 12/31. Can't wait to ride a moonlit ride again!
          My friend and I did the same thing the other night, under a full moon. It was grand... I'm telling ya, there's nothing better for your soul after a long day at work than to get on your horse and go for a spin in the dark. What fun! Marking my calendar too...
          Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

          Comment


          • #6
            Back when we were boarders we used to do a moonlight trail ride a few times a month. We were all working so late back then (our ambitious 20's & 30's) and in winter it was the only way we could get weekday rides in. My crazy OTTB was always much calmer at night. Everything was so peaceful. Snow covered moonlight rides were extra special. I think that may be the one thing I miss about boarding. Special rides with good friends. A friend had an old TB that could find his way through anything, no matter how dark. He was our leader. Wow, time has just flown. It's got to be 7 or 8 years since we did a moonlight ride...
            "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
            <>< I.I.

            Comment


            • #7
              Once the moon was so very bright I feared "moonburn"...
              "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh my, it's been so many years since I did a moonlight ride! One of my favorite trail riding experiences ever was one brisk & chilly (for Florida) New Years Eve, when a big group of us at the barn did a midnight trail ride to ring in the new year. Came back and had hot chocolate waiting for us at the little 4-H / dining hall near the barn, too. Those were some good times!
                The Western Adventures of Loki, a Florida Swampdog in Los Angeles

                Comment


                • #9
                  http://www.farmersalmanac.com/astronomy/
                  on this site you can see the moon phase.....
                  and find the moonrise and set times.
                  Bright light riding at night is usually a few days on either side of the full moon .... timing the moons place --- positioned in the sky overhead -- can be a week of fun.
                  Many years ago, I convinced a bunch of *cowardly* friends to go out ... it had just snowed..... and the appalachian trail is right behind my farm ... so, into the woods we went, with the trail brilliantly lit -- enough snow on the trail it was perfect footing!!
                  they were hooked!!
                  next we rode the Gettysburg battlefields and thats pretty awesome riding the memorial field --- ghosts anyone?
                  My daughter and I rode 2 nights ago....(its been raining since) and rode right through sunset into the rest of the night --- great for the soul.
                  There is a whole other world that exists at night... owls. watch those skunks!! in the summer... the night birds sing, crickets, tree frogs... but this time of year.... we just listen to the silence.
                  IN GOD WE TRUST
                  OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.
                  http://www.horseville.com/php/search...=1&ssid=057680

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is a state park about an hour or so from here called Shawnee, with one trail that is apparently popular for night rides during a full moon. It winds along the top of a hill, but the trail itself is nice and wide and smooth (I think it also functions as a park fire road, or used to). I've never done it, but would love to go some time.

                    Otherwise, I've done some after-dark riding, though it was more by accident when I lost track of time. Fortunately, it was a trail I already knew well and I wasn't too far from home anyway. Still, it's amazing how much more eerie everything is out there at night. Lots of fun, though!
                    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree, whole-heartedly!!! One my fondest rides was bareback, in the moonlight!! Sounds like something you might read in a romance novel!!! LOL!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used to ride a lot at night. Loved it.

                        Bri is gone now, but my memories with her are very dear to my heart.

                        Here are a couple of things I wrote after a few midnight rides.....

                        AH, had a wonderful ride last night. Went out to toss Bri a bit more hay about 9:30, the moonlight was glistening off the snow, and Bri was siloueted against the white backdrop of the snow covered field. I stood there a moment then went back in to quietly put on my mountain horse winter pants. Not quiet enough, Tara raises her head, and slowly hauls her ebony body out of her bean bag bed. "Go for a trail ride with us?" I whisper. The tail beats a furious reply. Out we head into the frigid night air. Grabbed Bri's halter and two pieces of baling twine for reins. The three of us walked together through the field to the trails where I stood on a stump and swung my leg over this great old mare's pumpkin colored back. Oh she was ready. Trotting without a sound through the woods along the silver threads of trails, snow enveloping us as we plow through drift upon drift, Tara bounding along behind us. Breaking through the silvery woods out to the ocean of white meadow. Bri breaks into a canter, then stops, head up, looking across toward the pond. There, three deer stand like lawn statues, then in a flurry of activity, dash off and disappear deep into the woods. Bri begins snorting and prancing, then sails across the field, snow cascading all about us, our wake the only disturbance on this ocean of white. As we pass in back of a neighbor's barn, her young Arab snuffles a hello, and Bri arches her neck and strutts her stuff with a big lofty trot and murmuring to me. Into the silvery silence of the woods once again, her soft breathing and Taras tags jingling, the only sounds. As we come to our field Bri leaps forward and we race to the top of the knoll, then stand there and survey our little domain. I take it all in and feel blessed.


                        A good ride with my wonderful girls.



                        A moonlit ride by MissBri

                        There's moonlight dancing o're snow covered ground
                        Enticing me out for a late night 'go round'
                        Donning jacket, some gloves, and a wool hat
                        I sneak out the backdoor, silent as a cat.

                        Emerging outside in the brisk winter air
                        A soft nicker of welcome from my sweet mare
                        She's chestnut and furry, a right jolly old girl
                        Oh, my pretty pony is always up for a whirl

                        With two hay strings attached to the halter for reins
                        she knows what we're doing, no need to explain
                        As we ease open the gate and head for the stump
                        I slide onto her back and pat her round rump

                        Into the forest so silent and still,
                        Are you ready to go for a wild winter's thrill?
                        The trails are all silver, with shadows in blue
                        Dark pines like sentinels, watching us two

                        Threading the woods on these ribbons of snow
                        Twisting and winding to the meadow we go
                        Prancing and jigging then tossing her mane
                        We dash away over the sparklingly plain

                        Her hoof beats fall silent in this white ocean expanse
                        Moving faster and faster, as fast as we chance
                        Wind tingles my cheeks, my heart's pounding away
                        Skimming over the snow, whichever which way

                        She brakes to a trot, sending snow all about
                        Her breath plumes of white as she exhales it out
                        Arching her neck and pricking her ears
                        Dancing and prancing, shedding her years

                        Back into the woods so silent and deep
                        no sounds mar the silence, all are asleep
                        the moon and the stars are our beacons of light
                        as we head back for home, its nearing midnight

                        I slide off her back and remove all restraints
                        then toss her some hay so I'll hear no complaints.
                        A pat and a hug plus a hard rub of the head
                        then it's back in the house and quick off to bed.
                        Bridal Sweet 05/28/1983 to 01/23/2008


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          LOVE riding at night. IT is so exhilarating! Zig zaggy trails at a trot is really fun. You can't see a thing, but the horse sure can. Gotta trust your horse.

                          My last venture was with my gal pal. In the very late of the evening late last summer we rode bareback 2 of her horses. She rode her old paso mare, and I rode her older Peruvian mare.

                          We went right across the road and rode in the corn field. We had such a blast. We laughed so hard, if I hadn't been sitting astride a horse bareback I would have pee'd in my pants we were laughing so hard. She said the same thing. Both of us had tears streaming down our faces, and snotty noses from laughing SO hard. Those horses were scared to go into the corn, but we made them. And they are now corn field broke, and laugh and screaming broke. I guess they thought it was a wall, and didn't want to go in. We first followed a short zig zaggy 4 wheeler trail, yes in the corn field, then we hit a row of corn and went gaiting and flying down a row. I thought we would never get to the end. I did have my gps on, and we went a couple miles. In the end it was dark and that made it more fun, because only the horses knew where to go. Gaiting is THE way to go in a corn field, and bareback too. No corn gets hung up on your legs.

                          However . . . due to the size of our horses we got our knees hit with the corn cobs. And some of the corn stalks with the corn would get inbetween our leg and the horse, and it would almost pull us off. We were gaiting pretty fast, kinda like a trot. My friend is tall and was on a 13H horse, me I am short and was riding a 14H horse. Both of our knees had huge bruises on them the next day. Neither of us could wear shorts, it looked very odd that we had such bruises on our knees - if you know what I mean.

                          She had surgery the next day to have an ovary removed, and the doctors and nurses and her all laughed at her knees.

                          We will do more mischievous corn field riding at night/late evening again. We are going to either put carpet on our knees tied on with hay twine, or get the styro-foam knee pads from Home Depot.

                          Oh what fun it was. And we are both in our late 40's. There will be a next time.

                          No corn or horse was harmed. But our knees were black as ever for days!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Back in the day I used to go horse camping at Tar Hollow in SE OH and would end up on the trail after dark either accidentally or deliberately. Tar Hollow is very far away from any light pollution, so its flashlight, moonlight or starlight after sunset. Once I calculated a moonlit ride but the moon didnt rise when I thought it would so we were riding in almost pitchblack darkness. Horses and I knew the trails fairly well. Came to a long and dangerous stretch downhill (think a rock stair-case, very steep) and I went down first on my mare, who I knew might try to break into a run at the foot of the hill or otherwise try something foolish. especially if she was left alone at the top of the stairs. I had been on this trail once with a whole slew of horses and watched a big nervous gaited beast racking in place on the edge of the cliff with rocks spinning out from under his hoofs threatening to cause a landslide. I mean STEEP. Caution was indicated.

                            I was riding with a friend who was a total novice. She was on my wonderful pony-sized appy gelding who was the consumate babysitter, very surefooted and very level-headed. I told friend, I am going down first because if we send you first and Ruby tries to rush we could end up in your lap--you'll be safe on Patchy. Ruby went down nicely and I called to my friend to let Patch come on. I could hear him tiptoe-ing very carefully down the trail--literally I could not see my hand in front of my face. I asked my friend, "Is there anyone or anything on this planet that you think you trust as much as you are trusting that horse right now?" She thought for a moment, answered, "Probably not."

                            GGrape. thanks for reminding me of that moonless ride. I will try to get out after dark sometime soon!

                            That full moon coming up will, of course, be a blue moon!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The boarding stable I was at when I was high school had a 1/2 track. Riding after dark with great footing was just wonderful. The moon shine turns everything silver.

                              The gals that I ride with now (years later) are always up for a moonlite ride. In the winter we fill our flasks with a little Hot Dam and let the horses drive home
                              "Looked bigger when I couldn't see him."~ Jayne Cobb

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I love riding at night under the moon. I used to do it with my first horse moon or not. With my second I used to ride in the outdoor ring with no lights - learned a lot of feel from that. In his later years we used to spend many winter evenings out under the moon.

                                One of my most treasured memories of my first horse is of a very cold moonlight ride in the middle of winter.

                                I find the best light comes in the week before the full moon and then a couple of days afterwards. After that the light starts to go as the moon rises later and is lower in the sky at my riding time.

                                Many of my fellow boarders over the years have thought me completely crazy to ride outside in the dark!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Last winter at my old barn, two friends and I headed out just as the sun was going down. The trails had plenty of pine tree cover, so once night fall hit, it was pretty dark. But luckily our way was lit by a full moon, and we were far enough from the city that the stars could be seen.
                                  On our way home, it began to snow. Nice big fluffy snow flakes. The snow was already up to our horses knees, and the big flakes covered their manes and ears.
                                  It was gorgeous.
                                  Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.

                                  FOREVER

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MissBri View Post
                                    I used to ride a lot at night. Loved it.

                                    Bri is gone now, but my memories with her are very dear to my heart...

                                    A moonlit ride by MissBri

                                    There's moonlight dancing o're snow covered ground
                                    Enticing me out for a late night 'go round'
                                    Donning jacket, some gloves, and a wool hat
                                    I sneak out the backdoor, silent as a cat.

                                    Emerging outside in the brisk winter air
                                    A soft nicker of welcome from my sweet mare
                                    She's chestnut and furry, a right jolly old girl
                                    Oh, my pretty pony is always up for a whirl

                                    With two hay strings attached to the halter for reins
                                    she knows what we're doing, no need to explain
                                    As we ease open the gate and head for the stump
                                    I slide onto her back and pat her round rump

                                    Into the forest so silent and still,
                                    Are you ready to go for a wild winter's thrill?
                                    The trails are all silver, with shadows in blue
                                    Dark pines like sentinels, watching us two

                                    Threading the woods on these ribbons of snow
                                    Twisting and winding to the meadow we go
                                    Prancing and jigging then tossing her mane
                                    We dash away over the sparklingly plain

                                    Her hoof beats fall silent in this white ocean expanse
                                    Moving faster and faster, as fast as we chance
                                    Wind tingles my cheeks, my heart's pounding away
                                    Skimming over the snow, whichever which way

                                    She brakes to a trot, sending snow all about
                                    Her breath plumes of white as she exhales it out
                                    Arching her neck and pricking her ears
                                    Dancing and prancing, shedding her years

                                    Back into the woods so silent and deep
                                    no sounds mar the silence, all are asleep
                                    the moon and the stars are our beacons of light
                                    as we head back for home, its nearing midnight

                                    I slide off her back and remove all restraints
                                    then toss her some hay so I'll hear no complaints.
                                    A pat and a hug plus a hard rub of the head
                                    then it's back in the house and quick off to bed.
                                    Beautiful. Do you mind if I use it in my blog, credited to MissBri and linked back to this post?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You can actually credit it to my real name..... I'll pm you
                                      Bridal Sweet 05/28/1983 to 01/23/2008


                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My friend and I rode the other night as well, I do love the timlyness(?) of the treads

                                        It was her first time out and we had a blast!!! You could see everything and it was even a little cloudy. The horses were great didnt seem to mind that it was dark. Next time Im going to try and get the others to go with us. Soooo much fun!!

                                        Comment

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