Keeping your cool while riding in the summer should be #1 on the list for you and your horse. Take it easy on the first ride in spring and build up your horse’s ability to handle the heat of a summer ride. Always make sure your horse has salt available in his pasture or stall. This will help to keep him hydrated on the trail. Pack a sponge in your saddle bags and when you come to a stream and your horse is hot and sweaty, use the sponge dipped in water to wet his head, neck and legs. Also wet the inside of his back legs, cooling the blood vessels located close to the skin. Let him drink to quench his thirst. Use common sense and don’t allow you or your horse to get too hot and dehydrate. A morning ride on a wooded trail is one way to enjoy a summer ride. And remember to take plenty of water for yourself!
Happy Trail Riding This Summer!
Travel Tip What happens if you are involved in an accident? Who would the police or rescue personnel contact ? By putting I.C.E. in your cell phone with phone numbers of people who police, rescue people or doctors can quickly let your family or friends be aware of the emergency. You need several contact numbers in case the first person is unavailable. We have 4 numbers to call. We also have I.C.E. for our horses in case we are traveling with our horses. You need someone available to care for them.
I.C.E. People – 4 numbers listed
I.C.E. Horses – 2 numbers listed
Most rescue personnel, police, doctor, etc know about I.C.E. and will look for it on your cell phone. This is a good idea if you travel near home or far from home. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Ride Alert USA (www.ridealertus) was a vendor at a National Trail Conference I attended. They offer members a wristband and/or bridle tag with company contact number to help respondents know whom to call in case of a riding accident. They have a registration specifically for riders to help emergency personnel quickly learn your emergency contacts and health needs. You can also provide info about your horse with contact details and who should be informed if your horse is found. Hope you have great and safe travels!
TRAVEL TIP Looking out on a bay in the Pacific Ocean from the mountains that follow the coast line. When traveling with your horse always get your truck and trailer ready for travel. We always do a check on the truck and trailer brakes, tires, battery, windshield wiper blades and oil change. And if you are traveling in the summer a coolant flush is a good idea. As always check your owner’s manual for any scheduled maintenance such as changing transmission fluid and filter. Having USRider for any roadside emergency is a good idea whether you are traveling thru hot desert conditions or crossing the high mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Once we were on the way to a camping trip with our horses and the fuel pump went out on our truck. Now this could have been the end of our trip but we called USRider and within a few hours we were back on the road to join our group.USRider will be there to help you get back on the road as soon as possible. In our many travels we have used their services several times and we were happy to know that help was on the way. Visit USRider at www.usrider.org
Today I’m not giving a travel tip but for the equine enthusiast it is one that can benefit you and the horse industry. It is your state’s horse council. The horse council is an advocate for you and your horse on the state level. You can google your state horse council, for example, Colorado Horse Council, for information on how to contact them. Also you can google: Horse Councils by State A to W to find your state. Another organization that has the trail rider in mind is the Backcountry Horsemen of America. This group works hard to maintain our trails and keep them open for the trail rider. They work closely with our public lands such as national parks and forest, state parks and forest so that we (the trail riders ) will always have access to them. Go to www.backcountryhorse.com for more information.
So join up and make a difference.
Travel Tip Something to think about – Horse Liability. Whether you are hauling your horse a short distance or traveling on a camping trip with your horse to ride the trails you need to look into your insurance coverage. In case of an accident on the road or while riding your horse on the trails, camping or attending a clinic, liability may be an issue. Most people own a home and have home owners insurance. You need to check the limits of liability on your horses. We all know of horses, being the escape artist they are, getting out and running down the road causing an accident with a vehicle and usually the escape artist is at fault.
Check your auto insurance policy in respect to the liability that can occur if you are at fault in an accident where your horse trailer damages another vehicle with bodily injury to the passengers. Also check on the repairs or replacement of your trailer if you are at fault.
In at least one place we rode, the campground required proof of insurance in case your horse injured someone or caused property damage. This may be covered by your homeowner’s policy or a separate equine liability policy. Equine insurance can be purchased at a very reasonable price. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Thinking of traveling with your horse? Two things are required to travel in most states; a coggins test and a health certificate. These two papers should be with you whenever you are on the road with your horse. Sometimes when on public lands you will need these papers with you when you are riding. Have a plastic bag with you for these papers so you can put them in your saddle bag. We also give our horses their routine shots. Talk to your vet for his recommendations for traveling with your horse. Also you can go to : www.avma.org/disaster/state_veterinarians.asp for a list of states and their requirements for traveling in that state. Wish you safe traveling with your horse.
Travel Tip Once while riding in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, we set up camp at about 8,000 ft in a cold misty rain. We always pack a waterproof sheet with a mesh lining which went on our horses as we unloaded them off the trailer. That was a good thing for the next morning we awoke to a late spring snow. We looked out and the horses were all snug as a bug in a rug. Unless you plan to camp and ride in much colder weather, waterproof sheets are all you need to pack. Heavy winter blankets take up a lot of space. The mesh lining allows air to circulate so moisture can evaporate and keep your horse warm and dry. Happy Trails!
Travel Tip Here are a few tips for riding in high altitudes. Most of the high altitude trails are located out west. Horses usually adjust within a few days to the less amount of oxygen in the air but with the rider it is another story. Usually it takes a week or so for us humans to adjust. Some take even longer or experience altitude sickness with symptoms of nausea and dizziness. The only cure is to retreat to a lower elevation. It helps if you and your horse are in good condition.
Be prepared for any kind of weather. What may start out as a warm day can quickly turn to rain or snow as you ride higher in the mountains. Always carry rain gear with you and some warm clothing. Remember higher altitudes equal cooler temperatures.
As you ride these mountainous trails, stay away from the edges of the trail, as they can sometime give way from erosion. When turning around on a narrow trail that has a steep drop off, face your horse towards the drop off side of the trail and then turn around. And make sure you stay on the trail. Short cuts cause erosion.
The reward of riding on the mountain tops is the beauty as far as the eye can see and the feeling of accomplishment that you were able to do this.
One thing I learned on my first trail ride into the mountains was to trust your horse; his instincts will carry you safely to the end of the ride. Before you head out on a trail in the wilderness, develop this bond of trust with your horse.
Fall Riding Tip Fall is here and the weather is inviting you to come outside and play before Old Man Winter comes blowing into town to set up shop till spring. So saddle up your steed and head out to the trails. You will need to dress in layers ’cause it can be down right cold in the mornings and very warm in the afternoon. This depends where you live of course but remember to consider the weather wherever you live. Daylight Savings Time will soon end and this shortens the afternoon hours of daylight. Here’s a helpful tip, carry a copy of your coggins test in your saddle bag. Most State Parks and National Parks frequently check these. Check out the rest of my blog for more tips. I welcome your comments and questions.
See you at the next trailhead
CABIN NESTLED ON THE SHORE OF A MOUNTAIN LAKE
Travel Tip Where will you and your horse stay overnight while traveling to your destination? A book called Overnight Stabling is a good resource to have on hand. Also several websites such as www.horsemotel.com or www.horsetraildirectory.com are very helpful. You can contact towns along the way to ask if fairgrounds or rodeo grounds are available. Also check State and National Parks and Forests for horse campgrounds. If you travel on the interstate highways the “Next Exit” book is handy to carry with you. It is available at Camping World. Here you will find exits that have gas/fuel for your truck, truck repairs, food, medical help, etc. For more tips go to www.GreenesHorseTravels.com or check us out on facebook at Greenes Horse Travels.