Mounted Search and Rescue Operations Use and Need the Skills Learned In Trail Riding

September 22, 2014

Trail Riding SkillsTrail 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!

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Trail Riding at the Lake in the Summer

July 14, 2014

Trail riding at the lake in the Summer is great fun. The horses loved the water and enjoyed the opportunity to cool off in it. We like to get the horses used to water and ready to go where ever might be needed.

Earlier in the day we rode through some areas of the trail covered by water and lots of mud. But, that’s trail riding in Oklahoma, you just never know what to expect. Usually the trails are pretty dry this time of year, but a storm a few days before brought some much-needed rain. It’s also typically really hot in July, but the past weekend was a pleasant 90 degrees Farenheit that made for a wonderful day at the lake.

The horses in the video are Doc and P.J. The mule is Tia. She belongs to a fellow trail rider and friend.

 


City Slicker Trail Ride Early Registration Form

May 30, 2014

If you are interested in the City Slickers Trail Ride coming up June 7th, it’s time to register for the ride. Early registration gives you the chance to win saddle bags and other prizes. The flyer with the details and the registration form are available under the link. The Bad Girls Trail Riding Club would love to see you there! City Slickers Flyer


Good Horse Gone Bad

April 25, 2014

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Ever wonder why the nice, sweet, gentle, well-trained horse you bought, is all of a sudden acting badly?

You are not alone. Years ago horses had a purpose, we rode them for transportation, and they worked daily and hard. Some also plowed the fields and gave the little ones a thrill on their back. They were bred to do a job, they were not fancy horses, and they were hardy, even-tempered and willing. They were great horses, because they were bred well and they were worked daily.

Nowadays, we do not ride for transportation; we ride for a competitive sport with the horse, or just for fun, with really no purpose at all. We breed for sport but many breed just because their horse is not a good riding horse.

So what horses used to be and what they are today is completely different. We have bred them to have more energy but do not give them things to do with it. We have also bred them poorly to have bad unwilling and ill temperaments and we do not give them structure or rules to improve their attitude.

Each horse needs a purpose and it should not be to take up space, eat and look pretty.

In nature horses can walk up to 30 miles looking for food and water. Nowadays, they just stand there and it is given to them. No wonder they are acting up, they are kept in a box or in a paddock with nothing to do all day long. You feel bad because they are locked up, so you feed them more, which gives them more energy but you do not give them anything to do with it.

So they come up with their own jobs, such as scare my owner, guard my stall, kick at my neighbor, break the halter, break the tie up post, run from the trailer, there are so many jobs they have given themselves, I can’t even name them all.

When your horse was trained, he had a job. He was probably worked in a round pen or turned out daily, or possibly both, he was groomed and tied up until the rider was ready and then worked with a purpose. This could have been a ranch horse where the rider worked cows, fixed fences, rode the perimeter of the land. It could have been worked in an arena on being soft in the bridle, backing, doing rollbacks, canter departures. Each rider gave the horse a job. Even a trail trainer would have picked certain trails with challenges and given the horse jobs as they rode the trail. Maybe go over a log, up and down steep hills, over rocks or logs, circle around a tree and then tied up at lunch and ridden some more.

So now your gentle horse is bucking, bolting, rearing, striking out, pinning its ears, not letting you catch him, biting at the girth. Can you hear what he is saying? GIVE ME A JOB! He is acting up, because he has to do something to get your attention, and walking around the barn or down a flat trail once a week is just not doing anything for him.

I train many horses, and all the bad horses turn good. They are given rules; jobs and they are not rewarded when they are bad. Rides always end on a good note. I round pen them to get rid of extra energy and get them thinking. I ride them with a plan, I pick trails depending on their energy level, if they are spunky I pick the steepest ones I can find, if they are not energetic I pick an easier trail. I ride over logs, move cows, follow squirrels, follow bikers, separate from the other riders, stop and back, even go off trail and ride over rocks, in creeks, whatever I can find. In the arena, I have a plan of what the horse needs to work on. Once the horse is good at his job, I vary what I work on or do it a little differently. The smart horses need challenges, the athletic horses need challenges. If you don’t give them any, this horse will out think you and possible dump you on the ground.

The lazy quiet horse also needs challenges. These horses get stubborn and may refuse to go away from the barn and get quick coming home. They may also turn their back on you or kick out.

The best advice I have is, learn what kind of horse you bought. What was the previous owner doing that made the horse so good? Ask them. If you know his breeding, what was he bred to do? Is he smart? If you know you bought a cutting or reining horse, research what their job was. A horse that previously was quiet but the owner use to canter 30 minutes a day, may not do well with your once a week workout. Too many horses go bad because the owners do not want to put in the work. Your bad horse can be good again, but the real question is, can you change?

Gaye DeRusso -The Majestic Rider is a professional horse trainer in California and guest writer. Ms. DeRusso is an accomplished rider and trainer that spends her time training gaited horses. For more information about her, check out her webpage:www.majesticrider.com


Rider Confidence Clinic Coming Soon

August 14, 2013

Rider confidence is far easier to develop when riding a well-broke, seasoned horse. Novices have a really hard time gaining confidence astride a problem horse. Instead of learning good techniques and skills, they spend their time trying to prevent the horse from getting away from them. There isn’t time to gain balance, coordination, and confidence in the saddle. The entire time is spent trying to maintain limited control of the horse.  It’s no surprise many novice riders quickly give up if the only horse available is a problem one. It just isn’t worth the worry and the trouble to keep riding.

We have decided to assist with the dilemma by conducting a rider confidence clinic where riders struggling to gain confidence can attend and ride a horse without issues. Participants will learn to tackle both natural trail obstacles as well as man-made barriers similar to those encountered by competitors in a trail challenge. Participants will see an increase in their riding ability and their overall confidence. The hands-on experience with coaching from a professional horse trainer will provide proper techniques and instruction. Using our trained trail horses will let the riders focus on the areas that need work and assistance without worrying about the horse.

One reason we use quarter horses is their naturally calm disposition and willing nature. When properly trained, a sound quarter horse makes the perfect teacher for new riders or those needing to build their confidence. The best part about an AQHA horse is its versatility to be used by a brand new rider or compete with seasoned professionals in top-level competition. It is truly a remarkable breed.

The class will be limited to 4 to 6 attendees and last approximately 3 -4 hours. There will be a question and answer session to ask questions with others sharing the same experience and skill level. The class will demonstrate  the proper way to engage in horse back riding in a safe and enjoyable setting. The class will end with a trail ride and lunch. More information and details will be posted in the near future.

 


Great Ride and Horses Excelling

May 27, 2012

We had a great ride today and the horses are all doing well. Just like any job, there are ups and downs over the course of a month. Those days like today make it all worthwhile. It was a beautiful day in Oklahoma with enough wind to keep an otherwise hot day pleasant.  The horses were all given a ride and one colt worked all day.

A day in the saddle is therapeutic physically and mentally. You hit the shower tired, but happy. Riding a horse clears your mind of all the junk that builds up over the week. Many people report regular riding actually increases their everyday job performance because the come to work rejuvenated and relaxed.

Memorial Day Weekend is typically a great time to ride in Oklahoma. The weather is warm and the landscape is green. The sunshine, fresh air, and rocking chair horse ride watching the beautiful scenery as you go by is an excellent way to spend the holiday. You can’t beat it!