What you need for a good trail ride

When de­cid­ing to ride on the cav­al­cade, you need to con­sider the fol­low­ing.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

The horse

You might love your horse and feel he or she is per­fect for the job, but there are def­i­nite as­pects that make for a good trail horse.

• there is no breed re­stric­tion, but you can't ride a stal­lion, rig or mare in foal

• horses must be over five years

• it is im­per­a­tive that

• a horse is fit a horse must be well-be­haved and not ‘ fizzy' in a group

• must be freshly shod and rid­ers are ad­vised to carry spare shoes

Thick sad­dle blan­kets are re­quired to pro­tect the horse's back from car­ry­ing a sad­dle and rider for many hours. Horses need to be rugged up overnight as the days are hot, but the nights get very cold.

The trail boss and wran­glers keep a watch­ful eye, en­sur­ing the safety of horses and rid­ers, ob­serv­ing for signs of pos­si­ble stress of all an­i­mals through­out.

The rider

For rid­ers it is a time to bond with their horse. It will be car­ry­ing you through rivers, bogs, rocky ter­rain, and you'll be fac­ing chal­lenges you've likely never ex­pe­ri­enced as the ter­rain can some­times be risky.

You'll be rough­ing it. Each night is spent in a wool­shed or tent. There are long drops or por­ta­ble toi­lets. If you're lucky there's a creek or river nearby where you can have a brisk freshen-up. Some who pre­fer a lit­tle home com­fort have trucks and camper vans brought in by back-up driv­ers.

Af­ter seven or more hours in the sad­dle, once your horse is at­tended to, rugged, hard-fed, and put out to pas­ture, you will be re­warded with a hearty meal.

Rid­ers carry per­sonal items they need (or de­sire) on the ride such as:

• a spare set of socks (there are many creeks and rivers to cross)

• gloves

• hat

• army knife

• flask of tea

• jet plane lol­lies

• cam­era

• ar­nica Most rid­ers have a driz­abone coat tied to the back of their sad­dle in case a southerly storm comes in. A back-up team takes in horse feed, rugs and other items re­quired for the evening.

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