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When you trail ride....

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  • #21
    I do a lot of trotting, cantering, and galloping, as well as lateral movements when trail riding, but thats my job. My boss really stresses that its our job to make sure that the horses we train can and will do everything, and be calm about it. We're lucky enough that our conditions are rarely limiting, and we have access to a lot of great fields. I too get bored just walking, so I spend a lot of time long trotting and loping, except on my own horse who is still pretty green.

    As for the question about riding a fast walking/gaited horse with slower horses, my general rule of thumb is to match the faster paced horse. Now if the slower horse is really green, or has a green rider, then the slower horse dictates the pace.


    • Original Poster

      I think horses generally walk at a pace that is comfortable to them and my girl is usually faster than everyone else. I would not feel comfortable asking a bunch of other folks to speed up their horses (most folks I ride with have stock type horses vs. I have a long legged long strided TB). And some folks have older horses who just want to mosey. Sometimes I get Angel to walk a little more slowly or I just ride ahead and then wait for people. I also do lateral work and other "arena" work on the trail when the conditions are appropriate (e.g. not whilst transcending a trail consisting of granite boulders. Off to do a big "Toys for Tots" fundraising ride in a few hours!!! (unless rain cancels).


      • #23
        "Walking only" gets painfully dull, even if you mix it up with exercises and rugged terrain. Even the greenies can usually do some trot work without being too obnoxious.


        • #24
          Originally posted by mvp View Post
          Oh, and horses have ruined hiking and nature for me. It's an affront to have anyone suggest that I'd like walking around outside on my own legs. That's what horses are for.
          I'm the same way. I did a trail ride in the Canadian Rockies this fall. We passed lots of hikers trudging up the mountain and all I could think was "Why would anyone *walk* up here when you could ride a horse?"
          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
          that's even remotely true."

          Homer Simpson


          • #25
            I used to trail ride on roads and tracks and went at all 3 gaits where appropriate.

            Now, my trail riding is just around the yard, outside the school and we walk. If I do more than that I slip back into schooling and that's not the purpose of being 'out'. It's too let down and relax.
            Ride like you mean it.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
              I'm the same way. I did a trail ride in the Canadian Rockies this fall. We passed lots of hikers trudging up the mountain and all I could think was "Why would anyone *walk* up here when you could ride a horse?"
              Because it burns calories, is great for out bodies and minds, and makes us a better athletic partner for our horse? I enjoy both riding my horse and hiking. Also there are trails/routes that a horse would not be able to traverse (such as a granite boulder field). Some things though, such as crossing 3 foot deep streams are more easily done on horseback!!!


              • #27
                It depends on who I'm with. My trail buddy and I always ride at the pace comfortable with the least experienced person in the group. When it's just the two of us, we will let the horses go for a good gallop in some spots but if we go out with some less experienced/nervous riders, we go at the pace they are most comfortable with.


                • #28
                  I have tried "just walk" rides with my horse and he HATES it. He will walk just fine out on the trail if he knows I'm going to let him go-go-go. I really like riding alone because he likes to go, he's a Paso, and is faster at the walk than any of my trail riding buddies' horses, most of whom are interested mainly in doddering along slowly.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                    Because it burns calories, is great for out bodies and minds, and makes us a better athletic partner for our horse?
                    I did eat a ginormous piece of chocolate cake when we took a break at the turnaround point, so I'm sure I would have benefited from doing a bit of the trip on two legs rather than four.
                    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                    that's even remotely true."

                    Homer Simpson


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      I'd rather die than do a walking only trail ride. I find it hard on the hips to grind along at the walk ad nauseum.

                      And it raises financial/existential questions: I paid how much for this day of walking on 4 legs rather than 2? What, at bottom, was the horse-cum-mode-of-transportation for? Damn, it I can't do something better on the back of a horse than I can on my own legs, then I need my head examined.

                      Oh, and horses have ruined hiking and nature for me. It's an affront to have anyone suggest that I'd like walking around outside on my own legs. That's what horses are for.
                      Well, you'd hate riding around here then.... Most of them are definitely WALKING trails.... Too dangerous to do anything else! But trust me, you don't get bored (unless you find riding along looking at a 2000 ft drop just off the trail boring...me it tends to keep me awake!).

                      But on appropriate trails, I like to trot and canter too. My main riding buddy doesn't so I get bored on some rides with her. The forest roads are usually a great place to move out a bit but she doesn't like to do it... But another buddy is a speed demon, so I can get me fill.....
                      Turn off the computer and go ride!


                      • #31
                        I go as fast as the footing and terrain allow.
                        Life is short. Ride your best horse first.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by kewpalace View Post
                          That's my 1/2 Arab mare as well; she has totally spoiled me, LOL. Very alert & always knows what's going on. My little QH filly, not so much, but she has her good points too!.
                          I ride quarter horses, and the gait just depends on the horse and circumstances. Probably trot mostly.

                          But I have noticed that some horses are very keenly aware of the distant presence of others, people, animals, etc. My border collie is usually with me, and some horses learn to watch the dog. If the dog scents something and wheels around, the horse will look to see what it is. Amazing what they learn.


                          • #33
                            Often trail rides are social events for us. Often we will walk an entire 20 mile trail ride. Who is in a hurry....no worries, great horses and good friends.


                            • #34
                              I walk mostly, but it also doesn't help that my trail riding buddy is mounted on a western pleasure horse. Her horse lopes about as fast as my horse walks. When I am alone I will trot some.
                              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                              The Blog


                              • #35
                                The trails around here always have plenty of spots where a trot or canter can be easily taken. So I take them, and I ride with like minded people. And I usually don't pass up a good opportunity for a gallop.

                                Walking for 20 miles? No thanks.


                                • #36
                                  When I introduce a new horse to trails, I primarily walk the first ride or two. I just want them to get a chance to look around, see that nothing will eat them, and settle in.

                                  After they're doing well, I add in trot/jog and canter/lope to our trail time.
                                  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


                                  • #37
                                    W/T/C and, with my retired gelding, run like hell if we wanted to. I'm not sure my lazy mare could run like hell if a bear was chasing her. She's a sweet ride, though.
                                    "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


                                    • #38
                                      We do so many things! We trail ride our show horses along with some trail-only horses. I walk, jog, long trot, lope, hand gallop, pivot, turn on the forehand sidepass, etc. I want my horses broke to my cues where ever we are. Plus, it's a great way to get a show horse to really stretch his legs and get some reach in his stride. I also use the trails to get the show horses fit--ride one, pony another.

                                      It's also dependent upon who I'm riding with. Not all the horses can do those things or handle their "buddy" horse loping away, and I don't want to make a dangerous situation.


                                      • #39
                                        At trainer's barn, I ride a small Standardbred while she rides her TWH. Standardbred has one of the fastest walks in the barn, but she still needs to trot occasionally to keep up with the TWH, who of course looks like she's barely doing anything while covering huge amounts of ground. Trainer plans on us doing more trotting and some cantering on the trail this winter, since we don't have an indoor and the outdoor has lost it's footing. Packed snow on the trail has great footing for our barefoot horses.

                                        "Closer to home horses" that I started riding this fall are a pair of 20 year old Arabians who are totally herd bound to one another, and haven't been ridden in a while. I wasn't sure of their fitness level, and am riding alone, so most of the fall was just getting to know them at walk/trot (only trotting while going "away" from the barn since I'm trying to work on the herd bound issues). Did one short "celebratory" canter on the gelding towards the end of the fall one day when I'd just gotten some really good news and things were going really well with him on the trail. It felt great! Will be doing more of it once I've had time to condition them with some long slow distances in the spring. Plan on taking him out on Friday, but will be walking only now that winter has fully set in and he's a woolly mammoth, otherwise I'll spend more time trying to dry him out after than I will riding him.
                                        At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
                                        (Author Unknown)


                                        • #40
                                          depends on the horse my arab is VERY surefooted he was trying to trot through an old cornfield! i dont even think i could walk through it myself. but he had absolutely no problem with it at all of coarse i didnt let him trot but if you know the trial and you know your horse you can do it. my pony on the other hand the one in my picture he would trip just walking so there was no was i wouls lope on a trail