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Headlamps for riding?

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  • Headlamps for riding?

    Anyone use headlamps for riding out in the field/on the trail?

    I'm currently boarding at a place that does not have an indoor or an outdoor so most riding will be in the hay field or on the trail. With the sun going down by 5pm, any evening rides will be in the dark.

    I've also got a couple of dogs to walk and am thinking the headlamp would work there too.

    So...headlamps for riding? Yay/Nay? Any favorite brands if you use one?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    Energizer has LED headlamps that are sold in many stores here here but the low-end ones they sell do not put out much light so they won't be too useful to you. It's the high-end ones that you want and those cost around $30 or more. You'll want to invest in some 15-minute rechargeable batteries as the usage on those headlamps is only a few hours at most.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


    • #3
      actually, you really DON'T want a very bright headlamp- go to your local camping supply store and buy a good waterproof headlamp that has a red light option. One of these will run for many hours off a single battery and will suit your needs perfectly.
      From my vast experience in stumbling around in the dark, if you go out in the dark wearing a bright headlamp, it will destroy not only your night vision, but will mess up your horse's and dog's night vision. None of you will be able to see anything but the tiny area lit up by your bright headlamp.
      If you instead go out with your red head-light, all of you will rapidly night-adapt your eyes, and your horse especially will be able to see just fine- horses have incredibly good night vision, and dogs can see pretty well in the dark. You can aim the red light at critical areas and you'll be able to see well enough to keep from walking into trees and so forth, especially if you trust that your horse can see perfectly well.
      If your dogs are going to be off leash, I suggest you put some red light-up collars on them so you can see where they are.
      Red light doesn't affect your night vision.


      • #4
        What wendy said; only wear a white light if you're willing to render your horse blind. I've done a lot of riding in the dark and usually your eyes will adjust and if you're on a familiar or safe trail your horse will do just fine. I also have found that if you're outside while it's getting dark and don't turn on a light you will be able to see much much longer. I can't count how many times we've ridden into and out of the wilderness in the dark and one night we deliberately rode from 11 PM to 4 AM to get to hunting camp by a certain date. Never used a light ever, never had a problem. Friend of ours had a bad wreck riding in the near dark with headlamps on-his colt stepped right off the trail and rolled; in retrospect Friend thinks that the colt's vision was impaired by his headlamp.

        I think the red light can be ok but we tend to just not use any. Sometimes we've had headlamps with green light when we're camping and when we water the horses or bring them in off their pickets we've used the green light and the horses seem comfortable with it.
        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


        • #5
          I can't imagine they will illuminate the ground from 8+ feet away. Plus you're stuck riding with your head pointed down. If you pick you eyes up to look somewhere else, the light beam's going to swing that way too. Might be a bit bewildering to the horse, I think they'd prefer to just plonk along in the dark. My horses successfully walk around 20+ acre fields all night long.
          (that said, if you felt like McGuyvering this, maybe you could rig something to attach to a breastcollar instead of your head)


          • #6

            We JUST had a thread on this - see this one for more results!

            I am going to pick up a headlamp this weekend. But, I plan on using mine in an arena, which does have some residual light from a nearby flood light. I plan on getting a bright one (as I will only use it when in the saddle, not when facing my horse).
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


            • Original Poster

              Thanks all. Thanks Appsolute for the link. Missed that.

              I will be riding (for now) in a hay field or on the trail in the dark if I do this so I want to have something that makes sense. I'm not afraid of MacGuyvering things either. We shall see. Will check out some of the recommendations. I don't know how long I'll be at this place but in the meantime, would like another option besides spending my whole daylight time driving to and from just to make it during daylight for a ride.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                Thanks all. Thanks Appsolute for the link. Missed that.

                I will be riding (for now) in a hay field or on the trail in the dark if I do this so I want to have something that makes sense. I'm not afraid of MacGuyvering things either. We shall see. Will check out some of the recommendations. I don't know how long I'll be at this place but in the meantime, would like another option besides spending my whole daylight time driving to and from just to make it during daylight for a ride.
                I've done many hundreds of hours night riding (trails) and you are far better off to avoid a light. Unless it is a new moon, it does not take much to be able to see. Your horse will also be far less likely to spook at boogie men...but seriously, you will do your horse a disservice by using a lamp. I have ridden when it is so dark that I can not see if a branch is going to poke me in the eye but the horse is still ok. That is not fun but basically that is all you have to worry about for yourself, the eye poking..the horse can take care of the rest if they are a decent trail horse and you are riding on a trial that you are familiar with.