Photo at Pennyrile State Park Horse Camp, KY
I've been asked why and how I safely picket my horses when camping. I chose picketing several years ago for the best match for my needs because it allows my horse to move around fairly freely and after a 20 mile ride I fee they need to move around to not get stiff. I also find that when I stall my horse the next day they are all fired up and ready to go which does not suit me at all. Therefore, I picket.
Mounting from the ground is always difficult especially when you've left the camper and the convenience of your picnic table and/or mounting block. For years, I have always relied on finding higher ground and straddling a tree or teaching a mare I plan to ride long term to park out. I still do all of those things now that I am older, but I am also smarter as well as less agile with knees that don't want to assist in the mounting my walking horse mare while on the trail. What I use is Mounting Made Easy.... I strongly recommend the Easy Up Stirrup which brings the stirrup down about 3 inches with a click of the button then slides right back up with a lift of your toe. This device is fantastic and I've shown it to every person who walks into our barn as most of my clients like easy.
If you have additional issues such as my knees that don't have the strength they need to have or a bad hip then my next suggestion takes this to an even better solution for you. Now keep in mind I am already using the high ground, usually parking my mare out, and have Mark ready with a helping hand but when I go to mount with the EZ Stirrup I stand there and lean forward onto the saddle (THEN CLICK IT BACK INTO PLACE) before I try to swing my leg over the saddle. Great Idea and it is less undignified than the alternatives!
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your trail rides with the confidence and ease that it has allowed me over the years. Sometimes it just helps to share what you know. If you have better ideas, share them with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
See their wesite at: http://www.easyupstirrup.com
NOTE: Their website is difficult to navigate and they do not seem to answer the phone but the stirrup is worth the time and effort and one will last you a lifetime. Myself, I have considered buying one for each stirrup "just in case" I get in a tight spot and can't get to what is considered the right side.
Feeding your horse is the key ingredient to a successful farm program and ensuring your horse performs to your expectations. At Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm we have tried many programs and have decided on a pelleted feed. It took quite a long time to decide on which brand and type of feed and our horses have lost weight and gained weight. We've had them too excitable yet slick looking and there have been times when they suddenly lost weight and it takes twice as long to get them back into shape.
To help others, I've put together the feeding program that I have found works and the reasons why I use them as each time I have changed my feeding program the results have been less than desirable. My mares need to be healthy and satisfied whether they are a growing baby, young mare who is growing by leaps and bounds, a performance mare, one that is in foal, or simply an easy keeper and what I have listed is what works for all my ladies.
In feeding your horses you want the maximum amount of nutrition within your budget and I've found a pelleted 14% protein feed does that for me. Jenkins Feed Service Saved Me A Fortune & Provides Exceptional Customer Service "Plus" They Deliver.
Quite frankly a great saddle makes all the difference both to you and your horse. I ride a Steele saddle and have done so since first trying them at the Eminence Trail Ride as they had the Demo Program there. I then had one built and have ridden it ever since which now makes 14 years. Recently I went back to Steele Saddle to get a saddle for my husband. He had ridden in my small seat and didn't think the Steele was for him. Gentlemen, the rider's groove fits like a glove and if you are riding a saddle that is too small.......well let's just say it is very uncomfortable due to the the rise in the front of the saddle. He had one custom saddle, which after riding it for a couple of hours he found it had a knot in it and would never ride it again. Then he bought a Circle Y flex tree saddle, which he did like and has ridden for the past 9 years and actually bought another with a different cantle for riding our younger horses safely.
The Circle Y worked well for several years, but they had a flaw in some of them wherein the tree actually breaks and this doesn't affect you as a rider or your horse UNLESS certain circumstances are in play. However, when they are it results in a painful back sore at the back of your horse's spine which takes them out from riding for several weeks while they heal. Literally what happens is that your saddle sits firmly on that back spine and creates a pressure point. We found it to be true in the horses we had that were Jose' Jose' mares which are really great waking horses by the way and with their back end coming up so far underneath them in their gait it actually sits them up in the front and rounds their back end which puts that flaw in the Circle Y into violent play and if you have the bad luck we had then it is on a long trail ride and you don't find out until you get back and un saddle. *The other thing I've found out is the Jose' Jose' mares have no quit in them. They are all heart and have amazing personalities.
Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm on 89 Acres in Slaughters Kentucky raising and training walking horses with World Champion direct pedigrees, exceptional ground manners, and flat walking gaits. Genesis TWH mares and foals are easy to work with and a pleasure to trail ride for the intermediate plus or minus rider. Contact Marion M Miller, owner of Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm at 270.339.4176 and ask about our money back guarantee and client referrals. Genesis TWH Farm, 830 Don Miller Rd., Slaughters KY.