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Is walking the same as walking ? Hear me out ...

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  • Is walking the same as walking ? Hear me out ...

    Yes, may sound like the dumbest title ever but I’ve been thinking about this ! I recently posted about my new horse who’s an older former advanced eventer. All the tips on his care centered around keeping him in steady but low impact work ...

    Obviously hacking out is the best way to do that. I’m very lucky as I have him at home and my neighbor allows me to hack on their 65 acres of farm land. The biggest issue is I’m alone. I don’t have boarders, super close neighbors and my husband isn’t home from work until 11. I’m nervous about going out on my fairly quirky horse and something stupid happening and me laying in an empty field bleeding from my ears until 11:30pm.

    I have the “ride with me” app and a RoadID bracelet but I just don’t want to risk it.

    Would it be as beneficial if I literally walked along side of him ? He could still trample me or something stupid but it’s much less risk. I’m not exactly the pinnacle of physical fitness either so it would do me some good too.

    The other option is just walking or lunging in my sand ring.

    Thiughts ?
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    I would say walking next to your horse as opposed to on him are only different in terms of the speed at which you would be moving along...unless you are a very fast walker. Sure it would give him some exercise, but not as much as with you in the saddle.

    I totally get the riding alone thing and your concerns. My horse also has his moments when out hacking. When I'm in doubt, on any given day, about his state of mind, we do just go for a hand walk before I mount. I actually prefer to be on him versus next to him since his spooks are rather fantastic and I don't want him to land on me.

    I'm pretty sure they make a watch or app that actually can alert a designated person if no motion is detected for a certain period of time. That would solve you're not being found until 11:30 problem.
    "Do what you can't do"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
      Yes, may sound like the dumbest title ever but I’ve been thinking about this ! I recently posted about my new horse who’s an older former advanced eventer. All the tips on his care centered around keeping him in steady but low impact work ...

      Obviously hacking out is the best way to do that. I’m very lucky as I have him at home and my neighbor allows me to hack on their 65 acres of farm land. The biggest issue is I’m alone. I don’t have boarders, super close neighbors and my husband isn’t home from work until 11. I’m nervous about going out on my fairly quirky horse and something stupid happening and me laying in an empty field bleeding from my ears until 11:30pm.

      I have the “ride with me” app and a RoadID bracelet but I just don’t want to risk it.

      Would it be as beneficial if I literally walked along side of him ? He could still trample me or something stupid but it’s much less risk. I’m not exactly the pinnacle of physical fitness either so it would do me some good too.

      The other option is just walking or lunging in my sand ring.

      Thiughts ?
      I hear you on all this . . . but my initial thought (as I'm sometimes in the same boat wrt to hacking/no one around) is, what about a neck strap? I ride with one all of the time and on certain days, I might hack on the buckle, but with one hand on the neckstrap as well just in case, and it has saved me from falling off many a time. They really are helpful. The one I ride is 17.1 and I'm 45 so not too keen to hit the hard ground in winter, ya know?

      That said, I do hack/ride alone, but I take precautions. And you might find that if you stick to a familiar route that becomes routine with your horse after some repetitions, rather than going on hacking adventures, he'll become as predictable as your route. I definitely do this, and it helps keep naughty-pony-brain-giant-beast calmer when hacking alone -- it's as familiar as the riding ring, eventually!

      Comment


      • #4
        Agree that to achieve the usefulness, you would definitely need to be power walking. I would also say horse would need to be walked in side reins or some such in order to maximize the effort. You could also long line.

        When I have ridden alone (and this is spoken as the person who has had several really bad riding accidents but fortunately those were when riding with others) I always call my designated person as I'm about to mount, let them know exactly where I'm going, what time I would be back and then follow-up with a call when I have returned to the barn. I did this for years with my Dad. It forced me to have a plan and stick to the plan. And that worked great because I did keep a journal just as Jimmy suggests.
        One thing you can give and still keep is your word.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think it's going to do as much for his fitness as yours, but it's better than nothing, especially since I'm sure i's pretty hilly. I can't remember if you have another horse you could pony him from? The RoadID app is a good life alert type thing, and I think is free. In the ring, I would maybe try longlining instead of lungeing, and definitely progressively add in lots of caveletti.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hacking under saddle is best, but I do think there is value in hand walking, too. TB yearlings are conditioned for sales by hand walking and work on a eurocizer walking machine, and you'd be surprised how much muscle and fitness they achieve without a rider. It must be an active, working walk...no grazing or dawdling. If you have a quiet, trustworthy horse, ponying is also good exercise.

            ​​​​I Hack alone 99% of the time, with greenbroke babies and fresh OTTBs. I insist on walking on the buckle as much as possible; a loose rein allows them to stretch, take in surroundings, and develop self confidence. Keeping a tight rein can make a tense horse worse, bottling up energy until it explodes. On a "high" horse, I might do some lateral work, halt and stand on long rein, small circles, etc to engage mentally and give a productive outlet for the Need To Move horse.

            “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
            ? Albert Einstein

            ~AJ~

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
              I don't think it's going to do as much for his fitness as yours, but it's better than nothing, especially since I'm sure i's pretty hilly. I can't remember if you have another horse you could pony him from? The RoadID app is a good life alert type thing, and I think is free. In the ring, I would maybe try longlining instead of lungeing, and definitely progressively add in lots of caveletti.
              It’s actually really flat unless I go to Fair Hill, which I can’t do after work because it’ll be dark.

              I have a really sweet calm older appy that I could either pony off of or the opposite just so Music has company. I don’t know how Music is close to other horses so I wouldn’t want my appy to get kicked or anything though.

              My other option is just riding him in one of the pastures. It’s fenced and he’s used to it but wouldn’t be much more exciting than the sand ring.

              I ttoally get what people are saying about pace , especially since he’s 17.2 and I’m 5”2. My little legs can’t keep up !
              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

              Comment


              • #8
                As someone above mentioned - there are multiple platforms available to alert anyone you please should you stop moving for a period of time (of your choosing). That would be more effective than if you weren't riding alone, and someone was only alerted by your horse arriving to the barn without you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Boring is fine-- ideally you want to be riding on a variety of terrain and in a bigger space that doesn't require lots of tight turns.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Honestly, if my younger guy hasn't been out for awhile sometimes I'll give him 1 or 2 ace tabs. It's not very much and it just takes the edge off--and the tabs seem to give a more mellow effect than injecting. My vet says 1 tab is almost a "holistic" dose, but it does seem to help. Not suggesting this every ride, but maybe try it a time or 2 so that he becomes more familiar with his route and you gain more confidence.

                    I would discuss with my vet first of course.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do quite a lot of walking in hand with my horse - he was re-started with a lot of natural horsemanship (the good stuff) and that trainer does a huge amount on foot with them. I walk him out with a rope halter & extra long lead and I walk alongside but also send him out on circles around me, over obstacles (anything from cross country jumps to natural ditches or banks) and do a few NH exercises.

                      I really enjoy our walks together - I get some (much needed) exercise, it keeps him tuned up on the ground, allows me to see him moving and is a nice way for us to spend some time together. Plus it's a fast way to get a gentle workout in without having to get him especially clean. FWIW I'd never done any NH stuff before I got him

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I get this - I do. Most of my friends with horses at home have the exact same problem. I have this problem, except I have nosy, retired neighbors who see everything I do outside of my barn, and I only have 16 acres to get in trouble. I think what you need is confidence that you can hang with him if there is a misstep. I would say ride him, but make your outside-the-ring forays gradual. Walk around the outside of your ring to start. Then when that feels comfortable and familiar, extend the outside ring walks to up and down the driveway. Then as you and he become much more familiar with the same sights and the same walking pattern, and your strength progresses, wait for a day when you have time, it's light, it's not dinner time, the footing is good, not windy, etc. When you are confident, it will seem fun. When you are not sure, you'll be apprehensive. The day that apprehension is simply forgotten is the day your confidence has returned. JMO.
                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One of the greatest experiences with a horse is 'hiking' (sounds better than 'walking') with your horse, both of you with your feet on the ground. Teaching your horse to match your pace without constant correction (not always easy by do-able), and to keep a safe space no matter what the terrain is doing. You are both at eye level with each other, and it is so different from riding. He checks with you with eye contact, and you the same with him.

                          I have hiked miles with my horse over terrain after I had surgery and was allowed to exercise, but not ride, for several months (surgeon said "if you fall off I don't think I can fix that"), and again when the horse had some issues that allowed him to exercise but no riding for a time. In addition to everything else I think it helped him to have a more settled attitude.

                          It's one of the coolest things I've ever done, and sometimes I set aside time to have another hike with my horse.

                          And ... it's not like it's a lifetime decision. You can try it and see how you feel about it, then decide how much more you'd like to do. Have a general plan each time, specific things to do, plus some opportunities for spontaneity along the way.

                          Enjoy your horse, your way! Doesn't matter what anyone thinks as long as you and your horse are satisfied.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When my horse was layer up I'd jog beside my mounted sister. By jog, I mean walk a lot interperspered with short jogs.
                            we ended up covering a fair bit of ground (because you do that when you're constantly talking).
                            Walking/hiking/semi jogging is perfectly fine but many riders disapprove -I don't know why.
                            Do your own thing, it's your horse, in the end.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A lot of endurance riders hike and/or jog with their horses. I do it, esp with babies because it gets them used being alone and trusting your judgement instead of just wanting to follow other horses
                              "You'll never see yourself in the mirror with your eyes closed"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm right there with you. Ride every day alone, horses at home. Over the last 10 years or so, I started a number of ottbs from home, alone, and I did as retread mentioned. Baby steps. I don't have much to hack on my property, I actually have to ride across the street to my generous neighbor who lets me hack there. It is mostly woods, but that's what I did. A little more each time I wanted to hack out.
                                “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”
                                Frederick Douglass

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Have you considered the road ID app or a similar app that sends out safety notifications?

                                  https://www.roadid.com/pages/road-id-app
                                  https://www.kitestring.io
                                  https://safelet.com/us/

                                  A safety app, hit air vest, neck strap, and you'll likely be much safer in the tack than on the ground. Of course, the apps can also be useful if you are on the ground.

                                  Personally, my comfortable sustained walk over rolling terrain with my stumpy legs is only 2.6-2.8 miles per hour. While better than nothing, I'd much rather allow a horse to do a big loose walk under saddle than a more restricted walk in hand. If you're a fast walker it may be more beneficial.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I figure I'm more vulnerable on the ground, so I'd prefer to be mounted. I've done a lot of riding alone, and I understand your concerns about that. If you can, send a text to DH/friend when you go out, and say "If you don't hear from me in 1 hour, call the cavalry". Then you have to remember to text again when you are done!

                                    When I was rehabbing my big horse, we walked on the city horse trails which was INFINITELY better than walking in an arena. I couldn't have done a year of rehab in an arena UGH! I ponied him a lot from another horse, but they'd snipe and that was often more trouble than it was worth, so I gave that up in favor of going solo. I wasn't allowed hills or deep footing. Check those fields before you go into them! I also adjusted his feed in a major way during the lay up. I didn't need a bomb underneath me.
                                    -- Member of the COTH Appendix QH clique and the dressage-saddle-thigh-block-hating clique.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                                      The other option is just walking or lunging in my sand ring.
                                      If you feel that staying in the ring might be a safer option then maybe you could start there, and then if he was calm enough go out the gate, but stick closer to the ring instead of ranging out over 65 acres?


                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                                        My other option is just riding him in one of the pastures. It’s fenced and he’s used to it but wouldn’t be much more exciting than the sand ring.
                                        From your post, you are scared of riding your horse at a pace higher than a walk in your sand ring, I doubt that what you need is exciting places to ride.

                                        You need to gain confidence first.
                                        A controlled environment is the place to start.

                                        If I were you, I wouldn’t go on a hike with this horse until I was confident enough of its reactions and my abilities to fully control it if it loses its mind.

                                        Get to know and trust your horse first.
                                        It might be boring but there is no point in getting hurt or more scared.

                                        Start the work in the sand ring and the fenced pasture.

                                        A little drug can also do wonders on both the horse and yourself when you’ll feel ready to explore those 65 acres on your own.


                                        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                        Originally posted by LauraKY
                                        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                        HORSING mobile training app

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