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A Guide to Basic Horsemanship and Trail Riding in Canada

Photo © Communications Grant Siméon Photographe Courtesy of Equitation Jacques Robidas


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A Guide to Basic Horsemanship and Trail Riding in Canada Québec à cheval Printer: TC Transcontinental Québec Author: Québec à cheval Editor and Copy Writer: Audrey Lapointe Reference Manual for Trail Riders from all backgrounds, but also for those wanting to engage in a recognized outdoor riding training. For more information, contact Equine Canada or your provincial equestrian association. Financial Partners:

With the participation of: • Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation • Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport • Ministère des Transports Other Partners: Leisure activities are made possible mostly through the participation of passionate volunteers looking to make the different practices accessible and to improve on them. Québec à cheval wants to thank the volunteers who participated to this project. This manual would not have been the same without them.


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Introduction This reference guide is meant to be a working and discovery tool for riders who enjoy being out on the trail. Touring on horseback has been a part of Canadian’s equestrian landscape for many years. A large number of horse lovers spend their free time enjoying the sights on horseback. This reference guide is for them, and for anyone dreaming of an adventure on horseback… while remaining safe. This reference guide came to be thanks to the dedication of the writer, who believes that everyone can make a difference. She consulted, researched, checked and double checked. This manual is the result of a team effort, of cooperation and buy‑in from all who wish to share the joy of life lived from the back of a horse. The information collected to write this guide is a reflection of reality as a trail rider and as a business owner operating in the field, both of whom are constantly seeking new adventures and new discoveries, and who have agreed to share their experience without reservation. I would like to thank the development and training agent at Québec à cheval for her unbridled dedication to this project and for putting her passion and her knowledge to work in the service of Québec à cheval and of the equestrian tourism and recreational riding industry in Quebec. I must also thank everyone who participated in one way or another to the development of this reference guide and Equine Canada’s training program. You are directly contributing to the growth of the equestrian tourism and trail riding industry in Canada. Keep believing that anything is possible and let this guide, as well as all our activities, serve as a grateful tribute to your commitment towards this discipline. Thank you and happy reading! Julie Villeneuve Executive Director, Québec à cheval

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Acknowledgements I crossed the paths of so many remarkable people during the course of my research to write this trail riding reference guide! IÂ spent time with allies and collaborators who became supporters, muses and friends. I owe them the richness of the information contained in this manual, which I wish to be unique, valuable and beneficial. You are holding the results of time volunteered by passionate dreamers. The assembly of knowledge now in your hands was gathered bit by bit, thanks to the collaborative efforts of specialists in multiple disciplines, to the contribution of experienced and outstanding teachers, to the help of farmers who lovingly work their land and raise their animals, and to the enlightenment of people for whom trail riding is a noble pursuit experienced on a daily basis. Thank you to everyone that is not specifically mentioned here; you will no doubt at some point recognize your valuable input in one of the pages of this book. Thank you for all the tips and all the know-how that up to now, remained privileged information guarded by experienced riders. Thank you to everyone who takes the opportunity to experience and explore the world through his or her passion. Most of all, thank you for openly sharing the life lessons learned from these adventures. Audrey Lapointe "As long as there will be paradise on earth and passionate riders willing to gallop through, we will ride in the wind." Author unknown

Preface With this manual, Equine Canada is presenting a discovery tool and a reference guide intended for anyone wishing to learn to share the world of horses in playful harmony. What are the feeding principles, how does one care for his horses, what are the trail riding techniques and practices that allow riders to safeguard the horse’s physical and mental health while experiencing an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors? This Trail Riding Reference Guide contains all the necessary basic information needed to enjoy trail riding while remaining safe. It also contains everything required to prepare for certification as a an Equine Canada trail rider, horseback tour guide or training instructor.

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Table of Contents Table of Contents. ................................................................................................... 4 Introduction. .......................................................................................................... 9 Acknowledgements................................................................................................. 10 Preface................................................................................................................... 10 Introduction. ........................................................................................................ 11 Hervé Delambre................................................................................................................................. 12 Bernard Giles...................................................................................................................................... 14 Debbie Champagne........................................................................................................................... 16 Heather Brown.................................................................................................................................... 17 Iris Oleksuk.......................................................................................................................................... 18 Jacques Bournival .............................................................................................................................. 19 Jacques Robidas................................................................................................................................. 20 Jean-Claude Lafrenière...................................................................................................................... 21 Serge Côté.......................................................................................................................................... 22 Neil MacLaine..................................................................................................................................... 23

Chapter 1 – The Horse............................................................................................ 25 The Horse’s Body................................................................................................................................ 26 Equine Anatomy and Morphology....................................................................................................................... 26 Physical Characteristics of the Trail Riding Horse ............................................................................................... 29 The Horse’s Foot..................................................................................................................................................... 31 Identifying the Horse.............................................................................................................................................. 36

The Horse’s Mind................................................................................................................................ 42 Equine Intelligence................................................................................................................................................ 42 The Importance of Fear ........................................................................................................................................ 45 Boredom ................................................................................................................................................................ 46

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The Horse’s Basic Needs ................................................................................................................... 48 Living Environment................................................................................................................................................. 48 Basic Equine Nutrition........................................................................................................................................... 52 Feeding Horses on the Trail ................................................................................................................................. 61

Common Equine Diseases and Treatments..................................................................................... 66 Common Diseases ................................................................................................................................................ 66

Health Management Plans ............................................................................................................... 79

Chapter 2 – Tack and Gear. .................................................................................... 85 Halters and Lead Ropes..................................................................................................................... 86 Types of Halters and Their Uses ........................................................................................................................... 86 Fitting the Halter ................................................................................................................................................... 87 Trail Riding Lead Ropes ........................................................................................................................................ 88 How to Use Lead Ropes and Halters.................................................................................................................... 88 Tying a Horse During an Outing .......................................................................................................................... 89

Grooming Tools.................................................................................................................................. 92 Function, Use and Maintenance of the Different Grooming Tools ................................................................... 92 How to Groom a Horse.......................................................................................................................................... 94

Tack...................................................................................................................................................... 95 Types of Saddles and Their Uses .......................................................................................................................... 95 Practical Tack and Gear for Trail Riding................................................................................................................ 98 How to Saddle a Horse........................................................................................................................................ 104

Bridle, Bits and Reins........................................................................................................................ 105 The Bridle ............................................................................................................................................................. 105 Bits ........................................................................................................................................................................ 106 Reins ..................................................................................................................................................................... 108 Horseshoes and Boots ........................................................................................................................................ 109

Safety Gear........................................................................................................................................ 110 Safety Helmets ..................................................................................................................................................... 110 Attire ..................................................................................................................................................................... 110 Accessories........................................................................................................................................................... 111

Saddle Bags, Packs and Holsters ................................................................................................... 112

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Chapter 3 – Ground Skills.................................................................................... 113 Communicating with the Horse...................................................................................................... 114 Key Elements of a Sound Relationship............................................................................................................... 114 Attitude is at the Heart of Good Communication ............................................................................................ 114 The Horse’s Response: Yielding to, and from, Pressure ................................................................................... 115

Ground Handling Techniques.......................................................................................................... 116 Approaching a Horse .......................................................................................................................................... 116 Ground Handling On Line................................................................................................................................... 118 Showing the Horse in Hand ................................................................................................................................ 122

Proper Ground Manners.................................................................................................................. 123 Developing the Right Habits............................................................................................................................... 123 Behaviours to Be Avoided................................................................................................................................... 123

Trailer Loading.................................................................................................................................. 125 How to Load a Horse in the Trailer .................................................................................................................... 125

Chapter 4 – Riding Technique................................................................................ 129 Trail Riding......................................................................................................................................... 130 Basic Riding Technique ....................................................................................................................................... 130 Mounting and Dismounting ............................................................................................................................... 130 Rider Position........................................................................................................................................................ 132 The Aids ............................................................................................................................................................... 136 Guiding the Horse................................................................................................................................................ 142

Trail Riding Technique...................................................................................................................... 151 Riding over Varied Terrain ................................................................................................................................... 151 Selecting the Appropriate Gait on Varied Terrain ............................................................................................ 154

Crossings........................................................................................................................................... 161 Crossing Bridges.................................................................................................................................................. 161 Crossing Fords...................................................................................................................................................... 161 Fording When There Is No Obvious Crossing................................................................................................... 162 Ice.......................................................................................................................................................................... 163 Quick Clay, Muck and Muckeg ........................................................................................................................... 163

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Chapter 5 – Safety................................................................................................ 165 Getting Ready to Ride...................................................................................................................... 166 Getting Ready to Ride Out ................................................................................................................................. 166 Purchase an Insurance Policy .............................................................................................................................. 166 Evaluate the Group’s Skill Level ......................................................................................................................... 166 Tack and Gear Check Prior to Departure........................................................................................................... 169

Risk Assessment................................................................................................................................ 171 Key Risk Factors to Consider .............................................................................................................................. 171

Safety Guidelines at the Barn and on the Trail............................................................................... 173 Safety Guidelines at the Barn.............................................................................................................................. 173 Safety Guidelines on the Trail (Applicable to Everyone)................................................................................... 173 Safety Guidelines When Riding Out in a Group................................................................................................ 175 Safety Guidelines When Riding Out Alone........................................................................................................ 176 Preventing Accidents .......................................................................................................................................... 177 Communicating With Other Users on the Trail ................................................................................................. 177 Animals on the Trail.............................................................................................................................................. 179 Encountering Wasps on the trail......................................................................................................................... 180 What to Do When You Lose a Shoe or a Boot on a Trail Ride.......................................................................... 181

Chapter 6 – First Aid and Emergency Health Care on the Trail................................ 183 Prevention......................................................................................................................................... 184 Prevention ............................................................................................................................................................ 184 Hazards and Risks Encountered on the Trail...................................................................................................... 184 The Emergency Plan to Enhance Risk Management ........................................................................................ 185 Know Your Horse.................................................................................................................................................. 186 How to Apply First Aid Care on the Trail............................................................................................................ 188 Wounds Resulting from Tack and Gear.............................................................................................................. 189 Traumatic Injuries ................................................................................................................................................. 190

Emergency Health Care................................................................................................................... 194

Chapter 7 – The Trail Rider’s Code of Conduct. .................................................... 199 The Trail Rider’s Code of Conduct ................................................................................................. 200

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Chapter 8 – Road Safety for Trail Riders............................................................... 203 Riding Safely on Roadways.............................................................................................................. 204 Follow the Rules .................................................................................................................................................. 204

Recommended Practices for Equestrians Riding or Driving a Horse........................................... 205 Specific Recommended Practices for Horses................................................................................ 207 Guidelines to Cross the Road.............................................................................................................................. 208 Guidelines to Turn Left at an Intersection ......................................................................................................... 209

Bibliography......................................................................................................... 213 Index. .................................................................................................................. 215 Annex I – First Aid Kit Checklist............................................................................ 225 Annex II – The Health Record. .............................................................................. 231

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Identifying the Horse

Chapter 1 The height of a horse is measured on a straight line from the ground at the base of his front hoof to the highest point of the withers. It can be expressed in centimeters but is most commonly described in inches (hands). One hand is equal to 4 inches or 10.16 cm. For example: a horse that is said to be 14.2 hands measures 14 X 4 inches + 2 inches = 58 inches (147.32 cm). You can use an ordinary measuring tape or a weight tape that has hands marked on it.

Horses can be identified by their height, their colour and their distinctive markings. The weight and height of the horse can be determined using a weight tape, proper weigh scales or simple formulas. Below is some information that can be used to calculate the weight and height of a horse. This will also be helpful in determining how much feed and medication to give. In addition you will be able to decide if you have a horse or a pony!

How to Approximate the Weight of a Horse 1. Metric: wrap a string or cloth tape measure snugly around the barrel at the withers in the girth/cinch area to measure the circumference of the horse’s barrel. This will be called the GC. If you are using a string, after marking it, us a tape measure to get meters/centimeters. Now use this formula: (GC X GC X GC) X 80 or GC3 (80) = the weight of the horse plus/minus 20 kilograms Example of a horse with a GC of 1.85meters: 1.85m x 1.85m x 1.85m = 6.3316 x 80 = 506.53 kg. 2. Inches: wrap a string or cloth tape measure snugly around the barrel at the withers in the girth/cinch area to measure the circumference of the horse’s barrel. This will be called the GC. If you are using a string, after marking it, us a tape measure to get inches. 70 inches is equivalent to 800 pounds. Add 100 pounds for every extra inch over 70. Example of a horse with a GC of 72 inches: 800 pounds + (2x100 pounds) = 1000 pounds *all weights are approximate. Suggestion: make sure to use the same method, measure at the same spot with the same snugness every time.

Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-14a Measuring the girth circumference

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Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-14b Measuring a horse height


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11 Most frequently used terminology for coat colours

Coat The colour of the horse’s coat is determined by genetics. There are two primary coat colours: black and chestnut (sorrel). In black horses, all the hairs are black; in the chestnut or sorrel horse, all the hairs are red. Other coat colours are the result of modifying genes which transform the appearance of the coat. The most common modifying gene produces the bay colour. Bay horses are black horses who have inherited the modifying gene affecting the colour black, limiting its visibility to the extremities of the horse’s body. Consequently, in a bay horse, the legs, mane and tail hair, tips of the ears and lips are black, and the rest of the coat is chestnut. Black, chestnut or sorrel and bay are deemed base coat colours because they only contain one or two colours. Composite colours appear when other genes overlap the base colours. Below is a table of the different genes and how they affect the base coat colours of the horse.

Chapter 1

Chestnut or Sorrel Bay Black Grey White Dun Palomino Grulla, Blue dun Buckskin Dark burkskin Blue roan Bay Roan

The Fédération équestre internationale (FEI) uses a different terminology than the one discussed in this book. A list of standard international terms is available on the FEI web site.

Chestnut or Sorrel

Black

Silver (Taffy) Pinto

Bay

Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-15 Base colours of the horse

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Colour Patterns

Chapter 1

The horse’s colour can also be modified by various patterns. There are piebald patterns and spotted patterns. Piebald patterns are caused by genes acting as a white blanket laid over the horse’s coat colour. The underlying colour of the horse is apparent through the shape of the holes in the white blanket. Each shape has a specific designation. The horse can also have spots, on top of the white markings of the piebald pattern or on his original coat colour. The term Appaloosa does not refer to a colour or colour pattern, but to a breed of horses. Appaloosa horses must possess a few of the following traits to be recognized as such: a spotted coat colour, striped hooves, mottled skin, white sclera and short mane and tail hair.

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Colour Patterns

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Tobiano (1) The pattern is defined by white patches randomly laid out on the body and across the topline, which do not normally reach the head. There is usually a clearly defined edge between the white and other colours.

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4 Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-16 Colour patterns

Main piebald colour patterns

Main spotted colour patterns (Appaloosa does not refer to a colour pattern, but to a breed of horses with a spotted coat)

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Overo (2)

The pattern is defined by white patches randomly laid out on the body, but not crossing the topline. They often reach the head and throat area. The edges between the white and other colours are more diffuse and gradual.

Tovero (3)

Tovero is a mix of tobiano and overo - the two white blankets overlap. The horse often displays a greater number of white patches which are more consistently laid out and often quite large.

Sabino (4)

The white patches are mostly located on the lower part of the belly, at the throat and sometimes on the head. The edge between colours is irregular, resembling lace.

Leopard

The coat or piebald pattern is covered with small colour spots of varying sizes and number.

Snowflake

The coat is covered with small white spots resembling snowflakes.

Blanket

The forehand is of one colour and the hindquarters are white, sometimes with different colour spots.

Frost or frosted tip

The coat is covered with small white spots on the loins, on the hips or over the topline.


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13 Horse weighing 150 kg

Free choice salt block

Chapter 1

Feed quantity guidelines are useful; however the most reliable indicators of whether the horse is receiving adequate nutrition are his physical condition and health signs. Thin horses may not be getting enough food or could be suffering from metabolic disorders. In this case, we advise seeking the help of an expert. The body condition scoring evaluation is used to assess the condition of horses and determine whether they are either too thin or too fat. Seek the help of a knowledgeable individual who can help you. Obesity is highly detrimental to the horse’s health. It can lead to serious and permanent consequences, such as founder, insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders which will lessen his quality of life. Obesity must be recognized and addressed as quickly as possible. Preventive measures must be implemented to avoid repeating a set of circumstances which are putting the horse at risk.

7 kg of forage and several litres of water per day Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-30 Basic nutritional requirements of the horse Key Nutrients Required for the Horse’s Health

Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are derived from plant fibre and are the horse’s main source of energy. Once carbohydrates have been digested in the large intestine, the resulting energy becomes available in the blood stream as sugars and fats (lipids). Protein Protein is required for several vital functions of the body, in particular muscular function. Growing horses, horses with heavier work loads, pregnant or lactating mares all require increased levels of protein. Minerals and Vitamins These elements play a key role in the horse’s metabolic function. They cannot be produced in the body and must therefore be ingested by consuming foods that contain them. They are essential to maintaining the horse in good health. Water

Horses need to eat frequently and this need is ideally met with fibre. Horses who do not receive enough fibre in their diet can develop stomach ulcers, stereotyped behaviours and metabolic disorders. In the case of an overweight horse, straw can provide something to chew while avoiding excess weight gain.

Horses must have unrestricted access to clean drinking water kept at a moderate temperature.

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Chapter 1

In most cases, the whole dentition of the foal is complete at the end of the first year of life. The first teeth to appear in foals are deciduous or baby teeth, some of which will remain in place until the horse is 5 years old; these baby teeth will start falling out according to a predetermined schedule and be gradually replaced by permanent teeth between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 years old, at which point the horse is said to have a "full mouth". During the eruption of the permanent teeth, a deciduous tooth, called a "cap", sometimes stays attached to a permanent tooth for a while before falling out, resulting in a bump that can interfere with the horse’s chewing motion. These retained caps must be extracted to alleviate the horse’s discomfort. In some cases, extra teeth will appear in the horse’s mouth as the adult teeth develop. Wolf teeth are vestigial premolars and sometimes erupt just in front of the molars. They must be extracted before introducing the horse to the bit, as bit interference with the wolf teeth can cause a lot of pain.

Some horses develop defensive behaviours during training resulting from the presence of wolf teeth in the mouth. Before bitting a horse for the first time, check for wolf teeth. Their eruption may be causing the horse to react to the bit for no other apparent reason.

Premolars

Molars

Premolars

Molars

Bit Wolf Tooth

Incisors Tushes or Canines

A- Wolf Teeth

Cap

Incisors Tushes or Canines

B- Cap

Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

1-41 Wolf Teeth

Depending on the needs of each individual, horses’ teeth should be checked at least yearly at the time of vaccination. Uneven grinding of the dental surfaces can lead to the appearance of sharp edges or hooks which can injure the horse’s mouth and interfere with chewing. The horse may even start cutting the inside of the cheeks or his tongue and swallow food without chewing, compromising the entire digestive process.

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Safe Distance Since the natural instinct of frightened equines is to flee forward, shy sideways or turn tail, the horse should ideally walk next to the handler while maintaining a safe distance between them.

When riding out across varied terrain, riders may at times be required to dismount and lead their horse through part of the trail for everyone’s safety. In narrow spaces, the horse will have to walk behind the rider. If the horse has never learned to do this, he may attempt to walk next to the rider and risk stepping on his feet. A good trail riding horse knows how to follow alongside or behind the handler without stepping on his toes. A well-trained horse follows easily and keeps a safe distance from the handler.

Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

Chapter 3

Walking the Horse on a Lead Line

3-6 Safe distance

Leading a Horse: 1. Always use a lead rope 2. Put the horse in the desired position: to your left, your right or behind you 3. Hold the lead rope and avoid pulling unnecessarily on the halter 4. Hold the loose end of the lead rope in the other hand and fold it over like an accordion (NEVER wrap the lead rope around your hand) 5. Ask the horse to go forward by looking ahead without pulling, using body and voice cues if necessary (apply pressure if needed) 6. Walk calmly at your own speed while looking forward and do not allow the horse to overtake you

Illustration by Ingrid Hardy

3-7 Leading a horse

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• Adopt a two-point balanced position in the stirrups with the upper torso slightly forward and hands slightly over the neck without dropping the contact, allowing the reins to slide forward • Keep the aids ready to activate in case the horse tries to run out or stop in front of the jump • Look straight ahead and smoothly follow the motion of the horse; if necessary, take a hold of the mane to steady yourself and avoid hanging on to the horse’s mouth • Absorb the impact of the landing without bumping down in the saddle while resuming the two point balance in the stirrups

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Horse and rider combinations who are new to jumping should seek the help of a skilled individual for their first attempts. Proper coaching will allow horse and rider to learn much more quickly.

Swimming on Horseback

Chapter 4

You might want to try this first with an experienced person to assist you. Riding in water and swimming with horses is a fun thing to do on the trail. You can do it with the saddle, at the risk of being uncomfortable for the rest of the trip. Below is an effective technique to swim with a horse without getting your saddle wet. Before attempting to go into the water without a saddle, check that you have an appropriate horse for this task: has the horse ever been ridden bareback? has he ever been in the water? will you be able to control the horse in this context? The halter is the best tool to guide the horse while swimming. The action of the bit will cause the horse to bring his head down which might sink his nostrils directly under water! You must be able to control the horse without causing him to swallow water. First choose the water carefully. Avoid strong currents or areas where there is a lot of debris. Make sure that there is good footing on the entrance/ exit to the water. If your horse is nervous you might want a more experienced horse to follow.

Illustration by Marthe Boisjoly

4-35 Beware of reins that are tied together when swimming on horseback. The horse could pull a leg through a loose rein.

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Free-roaming horses, moose and bears can evoke strong reactions from your horse. If you encounter them, remain calm. Steer your horse so it will pass well behind or away from the other animal. You being relaxed and authoritative will help your horse to relax as well. Remember that your horse has keen senses and is likely to become aware of other animals before you are. If your horse refuses to move forward, or suddenly becomes very nervous, they may be sensing danger ahead. A horse’s natural senses are impaired at dawn, dusk and on very windy days. They are likely to be more high‑strung or spooked under these conditions than they are normally.

• When riding, always be ready for the unexpected i.e.: your horse’s reaction to wildlife, biting/stinging insects, snakes, and other foreign activities that could startle a horse • Do not disturb or harass wildlife or livestock. Animals scared by your sudden approach may be dangerous. Give them plenty of room to adjust to you and your horse. • If you encounter a bear, do not run away! Remain calm, steer your horse away from the bear, and continue in a different direction. As long as you relax, your horse should relax as well. • Remember that your horse has a keen sense of smell and will detect another animal before you can see it. If your horse refuses to move forward, or suddenly becomes very nervous, it could be sensing danger ahead. • Never force your horse to approach a dangerous animal or you and your horse could be seriously injured.

Chapter 5

180

Encountering Wasps on the trail One of the most dangerous forms of wildlife you might encounter on the trail are the smallest, bees, hornets, yellow jackets or wasps that nest in the ground or in trees alongside the trail. They are seasonal and some seasons are worse than others. Usually, nests in the ground cannot be detected until you are on top of them. A small group of three or less riders can often pass by without a problem but larger groups will likely have an incident. That is because the first few riders disturb the nest and bees come out to attack the third or fourth horse. Here is how to manage a ride that encounters a nest: •

The third or fourth horse in the group will suddenly spook, crow hop, shake its head, kick at its belly and try to run away. The bees might get more than one horse.

Rider(s) being attacked should yell out “hornets!” or “bees!”

Riders in front of the attack should quickly continue down the trail to a safe spot

Riders behind the attack should stop and move back

Riders being attacked should try to control their mounts enough to get forward and dismount safely

The Guide or Leader should check to make sure everyone is okay and check for allergic reactions

If the area is known for nests, the Guide or Leader of the group should be carrying a can of bug spray, the kind that sprays from a short distance away so he/she can go back on foot and kill the nest


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Prevention This chapter does not cover first aid or emergency health care for humans. Every rider should attend a 16 hour first aid training course. Horseback riding is a risky sport and riders are responsible for knowing how to react in case of an accident. When riding out in a group, at least one person should hold current emergency first aid certification.

There is a major difference between the terms "First Aid" and "Emergency Health Care". First aid refers to injuries or ailments that are unlikely to have serious consequences or to be life threatening if the horse receives proper care. Emergency care is necessary if the situation is critical and the life of the horse is at stake. It is applied until a health professional arrives on the scene and takes charge of the situation. This chapter covers different health needs and issues that could be encountered when riding a horse on the trail.

Prevention It is important not to overlook the different personalities and temperaments of the riders and horses in the group when preparing to ride out on the trail.

The best way to avoid risky or difficult situations is prevention. The wise trail rider finds out ahead of time which hazards and challenges may be encountered on the selected trails. A clear emergency plan puts you in a better position to remain calm and react efficiently in case of trouble. Once you have selected your itinerary for the ride, you should assess the risks associated with the chosen route. The following list can be useful in helping raise the trail rider’s awareness of the potential hazards of riding out.

Hazards and Risks Encountered on the Trail

Chapter 6

184

Below are some examples of specific hazards potentially encountered on the trail:

Horses may react in any of these ways: • Stop suddenly

Humans or horses can potentially get injured in the following ways:

• Encounters with other animals or people who startle the horses

• Shy

• Bruises

• Spin around without warning

• Cuts

• Difficult crossings

• Rear

• Encounters with motor vehicles

• Run off or bolt

• Stretching a muscle or a tendon

• Getting lost

• Kick

• Falling and being left behind without a horse

• Become very frightened and agitated, moving in all directions

• Buck

• Bone fractures • Concussion • Traumatic injuries


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Photographer : Canada Hippique

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Chapter 8 – Road Safety for Trail Riders


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Québec à cheval — Author of this Manual The Association québécoise pour le tourisme équestre et l’équitation de loisir, also known as Québec à cheval, is a non‑profit organization whose mission is to develop equestrian tourism and recreational activities promoting equine welfare, safe practices and sustainability of equestrian tourism businesses, through training, service delivery and organization of activities for horse lovers, whether they own a horse or not. In the past years, Québec à cheval has developed a unique expertise in its field and served the industry with convictions and dynamism. Québec à cheval’s mandate is to serve the interests of its members and of the recreational equine industry, support the development of equestrian trails, make representations to the various levels of the government in order to define and coordinate regulations pertaining to the practice of this activity and to raise awareness among horse lovers about safe practices through training programs. Québec à cheval 1025, ch. du Plan-Bouchard • Blainville (Québec) J7C 4K7 www.cheval.qc.ca To purchase your copy of A Guide to Basic Horsemanship and Trail Riding in Canada, contact the following organizations:

www.cheval.qc.ca

www.islandhorsecouncil.ca

www.equineyukon.weebly.com/

www.manitobahorsecouncil.ca

www.horse.on.ca

www.saskhorse.ca

www.nbea.ca

www.hcbc.ca

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A Guide to Basic Trail Riding and Horsemanship in Canada

The new Québec à cheval reference guide shares ways, in the most practical manner possible, to get along well with your horse. It is based on current practices and tips gathered from members of the community. Each and every page has been read and proofread by professionals from a variety of backgrounds: trail riding specialists, equine veterinarians, genetics specialists, Transport Québec employees, writers, as well as knowledgeable horsemen and women who so generously offered plenty of tips! This reference guide is a collection of information designed to provide solid basic training to trail riders interested in discovering the world from the back of a horse. This innovative guide is intended for everyone because it emphasizes for the first time in a book useful practices for the outdoor riders. Riding a horse on the trails requires adaptability and exposes to dependency: dependency on the natural environment and adaptability to changes and unforeseen circumstances. The use of specific equestrian skills will often depend on immediate needs, the ground conditions and the difficulties to deal with. We then realize that riding a horse is an art, regardless of the conditions. ISBN : 978-2-9812879-0-8

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Imprimé au Québec, Canada

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A Guide to Basic Horsemanship and Trail Riding in Canada  

This Trail Riding Reference Guide contains all the necessary basic information needed to enjoy trail riding while remaining safe. It also co...

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