Trail

Stan Walchuk Jr, joyful horse trail riding, joy trail riding, equine trail riding, love of horse riding

Every year I receive phone calls and emails from past guests and friends recalling the moments of their trail rides. Like a record, the memories of joyful times play back again and again, buoying them through difficult and less memorable times, or reminding them that dreams are sometimes real.

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There is estimated to be one injury for each 2.5 hours of sport riding, including racing and cross country, and only one injury for every 100 hours of trail or pleasure riding. Let’s look at some practices that will help our relationships with our horses at home.

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Horses can be herd-bound, barn sour, pullers, hard to catch, frightened, or aggressive. This article is the first of a two part series that will look at common problems with using horses at home, including barn sour and herd-bound horses, and some ideas for safe riding near the home front.

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.

Stan Walchuk Jr, four trail knots, 4 trail knots, horse trail knots, horse trail riding, reef knot, tail tying knot, equine trial riding knots

Trail knots remind me of the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a hole in a dyke to prevent the whole dam from busting: a little thing that if not done, or not done right, can release a flood of trouble. If I had a dollar for each time I turned around and a horse was walking off dragging its lead rope I could buy us both shrimp dinner.

The horse’s foot looks simple: a nice, round, smooth hoof on the outside, but in reality, it is a complex arrangement of bone, soft tissue, ligament, tendon, and hoof. It is precisely this toughness — the hardness of the hoof wall and major tendons — that complicates and compounds problems. When internal problems develop there is no give in these structures, no room for swelling within a hoof wall that is rigid with keratin, or for damaged tendons that were pushed beyond their amazing but rigid capacity.

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If horses could talk they would tell us that the most important part of their body is their feet. The foot allows motion and protection: flight from predators, fighting, feeding, and breeding. In other words, survival itself is only possible through the almighty foot.

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Riding Vactions in California with Jec Ballou