Trail

It is extremely important that your horse respects your space. Any number of situations could arise: the horse moves toward you and steps on your foot or clips your heel, or you go to halter or bridle him and he pulls his head away or pushes it toward you, causing you to lose your balance.

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It would be better to base heart rate recovery tests in endurance competitions on each individual horse’s resting heart rate, according to the authors of a recent study. Veterinary check points (vet gates) are set up at various points along the route of an endurance race, to ensure that each horse is fit to continue the competition.

Stan Walchuk Jr, Feeding horses on Trail, trail riding, alfalfa-grass cubes

Trail riders are regularly faced with feeding choices on the trail. Whether feed is needed, what to feed, and when to feed are some of the questions we face. There are no blanket answers to these questions; the horse, the available feed, the time of year, and the length of the trip are some of the many factors that affect feeding decisions.

Stan Walchuk Jr, horse trail riding, make horse shoe stick horse trail, Diamond Toed horseshoe, Heeled horseshoe

As each riding season winds down I find myself reflecting on the ups and downs of the past season and make a short list of issues and concerns that need to be addressed. Each season the problem of horseshoes falling off prematurely ranks high on that list. Trail riders regularly describe their frustration with shoes that fall off after several days or even several hours of use. We can put a man on the moon but it seems that we can’t keep shoes on our trail horse’s feet!

stan walchuk, Trail Riding Horse Camping Trekking, the lone trail rider, riding horses alone

We trail riders experience the contradiction: we live in the modern world but experience the solitude and loneness of a trail ride. And this quiet time spent with ourselves in the hugeness and solitude of the outdoors affects us differently, in ways that are unique to each of us.

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When it comes to personal gear for the trail rider, there is nothing more personal than the saddle. You probably have opinions about what you like to see in a saddle, and if you have been riding for several years, your experience has likely shifted those opinions somewhat.

Stan Walchuk Jr, horse trail riding, horse trail Guiding, horse trail riding schooling

Career opportunities exist for horse guides, wranglers, and owner-operators through guest ranches, hourly trail rides, pack trip holidays, hunting guides, and outfitting. The job descriptions vary with the type of operation and so do the qualifications that these businesses look for in their staff. Everyone agreed that individuals who succeed in the areas of horse wrangling and guiding are self-motivated.

Stan Walchuk Jr, Four More Trail Knots, trail riding rope knot, trail riding tips, trail riding safety, Bowline, horse trail riding, tying horse trail knots

If knots are not tied properly they can get you into trouble by coming undone at the worst moments, or by not doing what you expect them to do. Sometimes we blame the knot but usually it is the person who tied it.

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What is it and how can it help horses and riders? Riders train horses to act in ways they deem positive, whether it’s jumping a jump, walking down a trail, or performing movements in an arena. But to train horses effectively and safely, riders, trainers, and coaches must understand how they learn and react. Over the past 15 years, equine scientists have researched the learning theory of horses — how horses process, retain knowledge, and learn. Equitation science applies this evidence-based learning theory of horses to horse training, and explains horse behaviour based on horses being horses – without attributing human emotions, ways of thinking, or behaviour, to them. It’s a burgeoning field that is changing the way many riders and trainers think and act.

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At 16 years of age I quit normal school and entered the school of hard knocks. (Don’t get any ideas kids, I have two degrees now). That August found me on a small dirt road that wound its way through central Yukon. A semi-load of horses had made its way up from a horse sale in Saskatchewan and the cowboys I was with had spent the last few days breaking and shoeing them. (In those days “breaking” was an accurate term). We saddled up, packed up, and hit the trail for some high mountain passes and a base camp at a remote lake. If I’d known what was in store for me, I probably would have walked. The outfitter gave me a sturdy palomino mare with pretty, round eyes and the devil in her heart. I’ve had an aversion to blondes ever since.

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