Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ten non-horse related items you should always bring to the trail

Photo Credit: Flickr User vastateparksstaff

Saddle...check. Boots...check. Water bucket... check.

We all have our mental checklist for trail rides. But there are many non-horse related items that can make or break your ride. Here are ten essentials from a seasoned trail rider.

We always think to bring along those things that are important for our horse’s safety and comfort while we enjoy the trails; however, we also need to think of our safety and comfort in the event of an emergency and have we have to “hoof” it out on our own two feet.

  1. Cell phone (with GPS capabilities) and the Maprika app downloaded onto your phone. Maprika allows you to email others your exact location. You can also send a photo of your location.
  2. Small first-aid kit for humans (gauze, triple antibiotic ointment, pain relief tablets, vet wrap)
  3. Paper Trail map (just in case no cellular signal)
  4. Compact solar/reflective emergency “blanket” 
  5. Whistle (the sound of a blown whistle travels further than a shout)
  6. Snack/Beverage – Energy bar and water, preferably. Hard tack candies, peppermints, to keep your mouth moist and save your water supply. 
  7. Butane lighter (allows means to build a fire)
  8. Small, but powerful, flashlight
  9. Contact lens case, filled with contact solution and/or a small squirt bottle of solution to use as eye flush.
  10. Extra pair of socks to wear just in case you have to walk yourself back to camp.

If possible, keep your cell phone on your person in the event you become separated from your horse.

As a collective, these items will not take up that much room in your saddle bags but will be of great assistance in the event any of them are needed.

Happy trails!

By: Darlene M. Cox

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mailbag: What bit is right for my young horse?

Q: What bits do you suggest for a 3 year old horse?

A:  When looking for a bit for a young horse, consider a lower port in the mouthpiece.  You want to be able to apply tongue pressure to communicate firmly with your horse.  The shank of the bit will give the rider more leverage.  The longer the shank, the more leverage the rider has for control.  Myler - Level 1 bits are great for starting out a young horse.  They offer enough comfort that won't give unnecessary stress to your horse, while giving you enough power to effectively communicate.

Mailbag : Girth Position

Q:  How far should the girth be from the rigging on each side of my horse?

A:  Typically you would want about 8-10 inches between the cinch and your rigging.  You don't want the cinch to be too small as it needs to have an even pressure on the saddle.  For help determining what size cinch you need, check out our formula on How to Measure Your Horse's Girth.