September 22, 2014
Trail riding develops the skills used in mounted search and rescue missions (MSAR). We aren’t the only ones who have noticed that active and regular trail riders have many of the necessary tools for searching for lost children and missing people. According to Irvin Lichtenstein, Chief of Operations for the Southeast Pennsylvania Search and Rescue unit, trail riders can put their knowledge and riding experience to work helping others.
In terms of search and rescue, he points out that horses have excellent smell, hearing and see things humans often overlook. As a prey animal, people don’t typically develop the senses a flight animal uses. As such, a horse will notice smells and pay attention to sounds a person will miss. Horses are wonderful observers.
Mr. Lichtenstein gives a number of ways that you can make you and your horse ready to help a search and rescue effort. You start by riding the trails a lot, camping, trailering, and spending sufficient time on the back of your horse to get to know his reactions. He correctly brings up the need to trust your horse and for the horse to trust you. This relationship only develops with time together and experiences that create the bonds and mutual understanding needed for the work.
We also appreciated his advice in taking trail rides fully packed for a search and rescue. It teaches your horse to be prepared and ready. The last thing you need when out to rescue someone is your own injury from an overly excited horse surprised by some new piece of equipment or the excitement he senses from you. The suggestion to practice riding the trail just like you were searching for a lost person makes sense.
Trail riders be ready! You and your horse may be needed at any time and we know you will be able and ready to lend a hand!
September 19, 2014
A Miami mounted patrol officer was forced to defend his mounted patrol horse when attacked by a stray dog. For reasons not known, the dog charged the horse and began biting the horse’s legs. The officer tried to move his horse, Sara, out of the way, but the dog continued the provocation. The mounted officer shot and killed the dog to prevent further injury to his horse. A mounted patrol horse is part of a team and an attack on the horse is like attacking a police officer. It appears the officer did what he could to remove his mounted patrol horse from harm, but eventually was required to use his weapon to stop the attack.
September 18, 2014
Trail ride is still set September 20, 2014 at Oologah Lake with everyone meeting at the trail head. We will be mounted and headed down the trail at 9:00am. This trail ride is just a bunch of people getting together who want to ride and exchange horsemanship skills and enjoy a great day on the back of a horse. We plan to break about 11:30 or 12:00 noon for lunch. Be sure to pack yourself a lunch and take with you on the horse. We will plan to eat on the trail.
It should be a relaxing day with several opportunities to watch how dressage fits into the usefulness of a trail horse. Trail riding is filled with all kinds of obstacles that make use of dressage techniques. It is also an opportunity for anyone interested in mounted search and rescue operations on horseback to talk with mounted patrol members about the skills needed to qualify both horse and rider.
There has been a lot of interest expressed in the ride and we look forward to seeing everyone!
September 16, 2014
How do I graze my horse on the trail if I don’t have a halter? It’s a good question. Sooner or later, we all ride off leaving our halter still tied to the trailer. Sometimes we leave it deliberately, but others times on accident. Lunch time rolls around and you want to let your horse graze without having to chew with the bits in his mouth, so here you go. These are photos of Speck on a recent trail ride. The halter was tied to the trailer and Speck was hungary. It was nearly 6:30pm and he had been ridden most of the day. We stopped for a break and let him have a snack at the same time. We simply slipped the bits out of his mouth and then replaced the headstall back over his ears. The reins were loosely wrapped around the saddle horn and so he could move about without breaking them.
Growing up riding, we rarely took a halter with us. Instead, we just slipped the headstall like shown in the photos. Keep in mind, you need to know your horse before you do this. With the wrong horse, you can find yourself hiking in boots and spurs!!!
September 13, 2014
Hats off to the Livingston Co. Sheriff’s Department for their field training operations. Last month, the mounted patrol conducted a practice search and rescue operation for its mounted posse. The advantages to actual in the field training exercises for officers and their horses are significant:
- become familiar with an area likely to require a MSAR unit
- expose their horses to the commotion and stress of a search
- give less experienced members and horses training
- allow the public to know the unit can be mobilized when needed
- builds confidence levels for both horses and riders
- enables leadership to know areas for training reinforcement.
This training session allowed the mounted patrol to practice two drills. One searching for a special needs child and the second looking for discarded evidence from a fleeing criminal. Both scenarios are tasks well suited to these volunteer officers making their community a better, safer, and more secure place to live.
September 10, 2014
The “Slick Trail Ride” , as many refer to the event, has been scheduled for October 11, 2014. The ride departs from. . . . yes that’s correct, Slick, Oklahoma promptly at 10:00am. The trail ride starts at the Slick Faith Baptist Church Arena and takes you through a beautiful private ranch. Registration starts at 8am Saturday morning, but the trail boss leads out at 10:00am sharp.
If you have never been on an organized trail ride, this would be a good one to learn. These guys are old-time cowboys who are good with horses and with people. The ride is attended by a lot of experienced riders on quiet horses. It’s only a day ride with lunch served at noon which is really nice for the first time out.
For those without a horse, there is a wagon you can enjoy, but it has limited seating. The $20 price is dirt cheap when you figure a really good lunch comes with the deal. Children under 8 attending with a paid rider can come without charge. It is a family style event with no alcohol allowed. Don’t forget your Coggins and look forward to seeing you there!!
If you have any questions, you can call Mike 918-706-4230 or Dwight 918-724-2025, They will make you feel right at home and most welcome!
September 6, 2014
Trail riding at Oklahoma’s Robbers Cave State Park is a gorgeous place to trail ride. The photo is a view taken from a bluff on horseback looking down over the water. The park is clean and friendly. It’s a fun place to take your horse and enjoy yourself.
We suggest having a good map of the trails before you get there or plenty of time. Not having a map this past weekend, we enjoyed seeing quite a bit of territory inside and even a few miles outside the park.
Trail riding is the greatest way to get away from the hustle and bustle of things and really enjoy the world God created. The views, trees, wildlife and nature from the back of a horse gives you a new perspective and recharges your batteries.
September 3, 2014
The Bad Girls have announced their Just For Fun trail ride September 20, 2014. We were sorry to hear it was scheduled this date as we like to ride with them. But, we already committed to be at Oologah Lake the same day and don’t want to disappoint anyone. Even so, if you are looking for an organized trail ride on September 20th, you might give it a try. Our day ride is not organized and just for whoever decides to be there.
The Bad Girls are always well-organized and usually put on a potluck lunch or dinner. The Just For Fun ride will be at Bell Cow Lake just outside of Chandler, Oklahoma. There is a modest charge for the event. For more details, you can call Susie at 918-430-6441 or go to the Bad Girls website, newly designed and looks great ladies.
Just for the record, the next time you are going to set up a trail ride, do it on a date we don’t already have plans. Hope you have a great time!!!!
August 31, 2014
We were very sorry to hear about a young girl who ended up in the hospital last week with cracked ribs and crushed vertebrae. Her parents, first-time horse owners, adopted the horse from a rescue. The horse had been purchased from a kill buyer who was taking it to slaughter. The rescue group saved the horse, but didn’t bother to find out why the pretty horse had been taken to the auction.Typical for an auction, the horse was sold “as is” to the highest bidder, in this case the rescue outfit.
The parents, not knowing the importance of asking about the horse, its temperament, and its background took the horse from the rescue and gave it a home. The kill buyer knew why the horse was headed to the slaughter, it was because the horse was prone to suddenly and unexpected rear up and fall over backwards. He might not rear for 2-3 rides, then do it again without warning. The parents put their child on the horse thinking they had done a good deed in rescuing the horse and giving their daughter a new friend. It’s a sad story! Unfortunately, a story that is repeated all too often.
A beautiful horse headed for slaughter may be a great horse just a little down on his luck. Humans want to believe in the epic and rush to rescue the horse with everyone living happily ever after. No doubt a noble reaction. The problem is not every horse headed for slaughter is just misunderstood or just needs a little tender loving care to be rehabilitated. Some of these horses have deep scars and emotional issues that seasoned trainers can’t resolve. Newbie horse owners have no business handling them or riding them like they’re broke.
No rational parent would put their child in the hands of a hardened convict with emotional problems simply because the convict had been rescued from his place in life and given some counseling and therapy. Regardless of the cause (and it doesn’t matter why if you are the one who gets hurt), there are bad people in the world and there are bad horses. It may not be a happy, positive thought that is politically correct with a lot of folks, but it doesn’t change the facts.
Our thoughts and prayers to the girl and her parents and hopefully this post will protect another innocent victim from a trusting a horse they know nothing about.
August 29, 2014
The horses are not quite sure about this social media stuff, but we are now tweeting. Follow us on the trail with Twitter.
August 27, 2014
We are inviting anyone who wants to ride with us September 20, 2014 to go. The ride is leaving the Will Rogers Centennial Trail Head at 9:00am at Oologah Lake. There are no fees or charges. It’s not an organized trail ride, just a chance to meet some people and have a great day on the trails. Who might enjoy the ride? Anyone interested in dressage, mounted patrol, mounted search and rescue, trail riding in Oklahoma, or just wanting a fun group ride.
We see the opportunity to blend and combine several riding disciplines in one get together so everyone can learn more about horses, riding, and community involvement. For example, a dressage rider can illustrate how precise movements enable trail riders to navigate obstacles on the trail. Mounted patrol members can show dressage riders how their skills might be put to use in real life rescue operations to help save a life or rescue someone in danger. New riders would be able to observe and talk with professional horsemen to gain new insights into all riding disciplines. There will likely be several riding instructors and trainers present. So pack a lunch and join us for a great day on the trail and meet some new friends.
August 23, 2014
The 2014 Labor Day Trail Ride sponsored by OETRA is just a few days away. In Oklahoma, trail riders are ready to hit the trails by Labor Day weekend as August is usually hot and dry. Due to the heat, there are not a lot of trail rides in Oklahoma in August. Early September brings some cooler temperatures and wonderful trail riding weather! The ride is open to members and non-members and will be held at Robbers Cave State Park. The cost is $10 per person for members and $15 per person for non-members with family maximums for all. We plan to attend part of the weekend, but can’t make the entire event. Hope to see you there! For more information, contact Wendy Hanson, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dawna Graham, email@example.com or the web page for this outstanding Oklahoma trail riding association.