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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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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Enter trail riding. Rediscover the feel of the horse, its power, and its ability to go places — special places. It’s all about losing stress, not adding stress. It’s about contentment, happiness, and appreciation of good company and the beauty of the great outdoors. Rediscover your horse and yourself through trail riding and horse camping.

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Remember that all horse activities, particularly trail riding and packing horses, are safest if the horse is friendly and completely desensitized. This means that the horse stands calmly when noisy objects like tarps are rubbed along his back, and ropes are placed around his feet, between his back legs, and under his tail. Desensitizing must be done slowly, with caution, and be successfully completed.

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Horse camping is simply trail riding with enough gear to stay overnight. It adds meaning to your adventure: new country, new scenery, new trails, new challenges, and learning more about yourself and more about horses.



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