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riding at night!

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  • riding at night!

    So, my barn is having a moonlight ride / hayride / bonfire this coming Saturday. They invited all the folks who want to ride in the moonlight ride to do a test run of riding at night tonight, and so I showed up for it.

    It was warm (60 ish) and cloudy, so mostly no moon. We left at 7:30, so it was quite completely dark. We rode for an hour and 10 minutes at a steady walk around the farms fields, woods, adjoining park property, and even 4 different water crossings, one belly deep on the horses! In the dark. Did I mention it was dark?

    I have never done this before -- hacked a decent amount, but not when I couldn't see! You could see fine in the field margins, but the woods were really dark. And Katy. Was. A. Rock STAR. There were 6 horses and 2 noisy dogs and most of the deer in Howard Co. MD.

    I hope the moon is out on Saturday, when we expect a bigger group.

    Anyway, I'm still giggling. My horse was so good, even though the hilly trails in the woods were a bit nerve-wracking.

    The BO said that horses see 7x better than we do in the dark. I can completely believe it after this ride!

    Boy do I <3 my horse!
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


  • #2
    Lori, she is a total Rock Star.

    What a fun night! I love that kind of stuff.... my old barn used to do hayrides and moonlight rides every fall, it was a blast!!

    Hope you guys have fun this weekend, be sure to snap some pics!
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

    Comment


    • #3
      Cool! Sounds like lots of fun!

      As if Katy Bug would be anything but a total rock star?

      Comment


      • #4
        sounds like a blast. Horses have great night vision ... not so us frail humans ...

        Comment


        • #5
          oh maybe i could do one of these at my barn


          hmmmmm

          Comment


          • #6
            Horses can see quite well in the dark, as I learned when I used my for search and rescue. We would be out well after sundown on some searches, sometimes until around midnight.

            We used to tie a chemical lightstick to the front ring on their breastcollars as a way to put a little light on the ground in front of them. I think that was more for the riders' benefit than for the horses.

            FWIW it's not nearly so much fun riding in the dark fog when the horse can't see as well... even my long-striding OTTB picked his way along very slowly and carefully, where normally he loved to move along on the trails.

            Comment


            • #7
              "Riding in the dark" is what I do several times a week. REAL work (dressage schools, conditioning sets), not just walking.
              Janet

              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

              Comment


              • #8
                Horse have excellent night vision. Remember, they are a prey animal so they need to be able to run at all hours.

                There is nothing more startling than having a black horse gallop at you through the trees on a moonless night!

                I used to ride my old eventer out at night without lights on a regular basis. It is a great experience! I'm glad you had and will have fun!

                Reed

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Riding around the field margins, it was quite easy to see reasonably well, once my eyes adjusted. But the trails through the woods were more mentally challenging for me -- was afraid of getting my legs whacked on trees.

                  It ended up being an excellent water school for us too -- Katy doesn't love water, and she crossed all of the streams, even the 2 that were a bit deeper and trappier, completely willingly.

                  The light stick thought did actually occur to me.
                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I ride at night after work now that the sun is down by 7 or so. The ring is lit, but only about half of it, so there is a lot of passing from quite bright light to darkness. I don't know how well my horse can see (he certainly uses it as an excuse to spook) but I find going to light-dark-light-dark quite hard on my eyes so I feel like I can't see at all. Very frustrating. It's going to be a long winter.

                    A trail ride in total darkness, however, does sound fun.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      isn't it an awesome feeling?

                      horses see well at night. they just don't adjust v. quickly between light and dark (for example walking out of a lit indoor into the dark night).
                      http://www.eponashoe.com/
                      TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        CM -- I think that horses do struggle w/ going back and forth between bright light and no light. (Heck, I can't do it either -- once got in a fender bender coming out of an underground garage, because at the top of the ramp out, the daylight was so bright I couldn't see the car in front of me. )

                        Would you be able to put some of those solar yard lights around the edge of your ring, just to mitigate the extreme contrast between the lighted and unlighted parts of the ring?
                        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sounds like a lot of fun
                          And this Fall weather is just perfect for it.

                          I keep meaning to ride on a moonlit night - just like that Old Horsewoman poem "And ride the old bay gelding across the moonlit meadow..."

                          I've read somewhere that a bright moonlit night is like dusk to a horse's eyes.

                          My one night-ride experience was not planned.
                          I took a novice rider out on trails and by the time we turned back it was getting dark quickly
                          For her sake I just acted like it was A-OK to be riding down trails in the pitch-black and fortunately my horse knew his way back.
                          He must have had some night vision because I couldn't see my hand in front of my face or on the reins, but he never hesitated.
                          I have never been happier to see a streetlight...
                          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                          • #14
                            I used to ride in the dark with a good moon several times/week. I really should go back to that.

                            I did go on some moonlight trail rides. One thing that helps in the woods is a cavers helmet - a hard hat with a light on top of it. Apparently they're also used for hunting at night (according to the guys who wore them, anyway). When we went riding they would use the lights to lead the way and then if there was a rough part of the trail, they would stop, shine the light on it and let all the other horses pass. It seemed to work well.
                            Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                            Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I ride in the dark all the time -- I work long, unpredictable hours, so I get up at 4:30 to ride before work. There are no lights, but the arena footing is much lighter than the grass outside it so I can usually feel my way around. It all goes fine except when horse tries one of his bucking fits -- for some reason it is much more disorienting when you can't see where you are.

                              He makes up for it in other ways, though. He's a love to catch in the dark -- I just yell his name and he comes cantering up from wherever he's grazing. Bless him.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Classic Melody View Post
                                I ride at night after work now that the sun is down by 7 or so. The ring is lit, but only about half of it, so there is a lot of passing from quite bright light to darkness. I don't know how well my horse can see (he certainly uses it as an excuse to spook) but I find going to light-dark-light-dark quite hard on my eyes so I feel like I can't see at all. Very frustrating. It's going to be a long winter.

                                A trail ride in total darkness, however, does sound fun.
                                Horses see bettter than we do in the dark.. but I have always been told that the horse's eye is much slower to adapt from light to dark and vice versa. So the "half-lit" ring is probably even more frustrating for the horsethatn for you.
                                Janet

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Horses can see as well at night as they can in the day Atleast thats what the newest study out says. Glad you had a good time and have a blast Saturday, sounds like fun!!
                                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The first time I rode at night was on a riding vacation in Central America. We rode to a nearby village for beers and dinner. By the time we mounted up to go home (after three beers! oy!) it was pitch black. I couldn't see a thing, but the horses seemed to know the way home. I remember walking through a field and seeing these weird lumpy shapes on the ground. Then realized they were sleeping cows! It was very unnerving at the time, but fun in retrospect!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I actually took HRH Avery out all by his lonesome for a moonlight ride a couple months ago. The moon was SO bright and the air SO cool I just couldn't resist! He was great about letting me mount from a chair propped up on the front porch, LOL. He thought it was pretty entertaining to go exploring in the moonlight, and never put a foot wrong. I was VERY pleased with him.
                                      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I liked the running deer in the dark.....

                                        The dogs along with us were great for keeping us from startling the deer.

                                        Sleeping cows!! (ha ha ha)
                                        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

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