Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seeing the Adirondacks on Horseback

What follows is a guest essay from the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).

Looking for a Challenge? Try riding some of the Adirondack horse trails. There is something for everyone, from horse camping to mountain tops or lake shores – whatever scenery you are looking for can be found. If you don’t have your own horse, check with area Chambers of Commerce for names and contact information of stables that take people on public trail horseback rides.

Trail riding is an excellent way for you and your horse to enjoy and deepen the bond of partnership, trusting in one another to negotiate the many obstacles that appear on the trail. A jaunt down the trail can refresh the show veteran, season the young horse or invigorate an old trail hand. Just be sure to choose terrain and distance suitable to your equine friend’s condition and enjoy the view between your friend’s ears!

From your horses back you will see, hear and smell things you would otherwise miss from a motor vehicle. There will be the sound of the babbling brook, the song of a bird, the breath taking view that appears around the bend, glorious fall foilage and the wonderful aroma of pine needles, moss and wildflowers. Your horse can carry you on adventures you’ll remember for a lifetime. So pack a lunch, some horse treats and your camera and get out there!!

Before your go here are a few tips:

Know Where You are Going

* Obtain and study maps of the area.
* Familiarize yourself with the trails and terrain.
* Research parking area sizes to make sure your rig will fit.
* Check to see if mounting blocks and hitching rails are available

Prepare Your Horse

* Check your horse’s shoes to make sure they are tight.
* Ensure your horse is conditioned for rugged terrain.
* Bring insect repellent for yourself and horse.
* Rabies shot and negative coggins are required.

Carry and Use Proper Equipment

* Use of safety helmet is strongly recommended.
* Pack a first aid kit with the basics for you and your horse.
* Weather can be changeable, prepare for rain or cold.
* Carry a cell phone on you, not your horse – that way if you part company with your horse, you have the phone.

Act Properly on the Trail

* Ride on designated horse trails only.
* Sign in at trail registers.
* Slow horses to a walk if you meet other users, i.e. hikers, bikers and other horses.
* Ask people to speak to you and horse – horses have different eyesight and may not recognize people with packs or on bikes as people.
* Do not tie horses to live trees.
* Be prepared to encounter wildlife – deer, bear, turkeys, grouse, etc.

If you spend a little time on preparation, training and research, you will both be richly rewarded with a great outdoor experience!

Photo courtesy Old Forge Camping Resort.

This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.

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