Trail

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3 Rules to Maximize Time Off - Periods of downtime come as realistic parts of horse ownership, although how a rider uses these stretches of poor weather or busy schedules contributes profoundly to a horse’s long-term soundness and performance. Recent data from biomechanics researchers and veterinary schools shows that large vacillations in fitness can be detrimental to overall health, particularly for horses past their mid-teen years. Most notably, periods of lesser activity lasting over a month can weaken deep postural muscles and supporting soft tissue.

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There is nothing quite like heading out for a hack on an invigoratingly clear winter’s day with a horse eager to power through the snow. Riding through the winter is not only fun – it benefits your equine partner by keeping him physically and mentally fit year-round.

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The horses were tired and hungry, and we needed to find them good feed. We had travelled all day in the alpine, over shale ridges and snow patches, through meadows that were just greening up, and finally over a pass between two rocky promontories. Route finding had gone well, but the last trail — dropping 1000 feet down into a pass — eluded us. We ended up in the bottom of a bowl above 400 foot cliffs, taking the brunt of a nasty wind.

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If you have been riding for some time, chances are you have come across a mount that challenged you. Or maybe he scared you. Perhaps the horse forced you to face that very difficult question: Is this the wrong horse for me… or is it just me? What can you do when fear cripples your riding experience?

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As many equestrians take to the roads, keeping themselves and their horses safe while sharing road space with cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles is a key concern. Increasing development and traffic volume in rural areas have made road riding a necessity for some riders.

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Etiquette and safety are closely related, in many cases, a lack of one creates a breach of the other. Poor etiquette typically leads to unsafe situations, while good etiquette paves the trail for a safe riding experience. It is the right and responsibility of every trail user to ensure their own safety and expect safe practices from other trail users.

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The most basic instincts of the horse are related to its survival as a prey animal. First and most obvious is the fear instinct, commonly referred to the fight-or-flight instinct. Second is the herd instinct, the inborn desire to be inside the nucleus of the group, and the instinctive understanding of herd hierarchy, dominance, and how to fit in. Third is the horse’s acute awareness and sensitivity to their surroundings, including other horses and people.

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Manitoba Horse Council