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Horseback Riding 

Back Country Horsemen Commandments
  • The horseman shall not keep horses longer than it takes to unpack or pack them in any campsite normally used by hikers. (We suggest horsemen stay away from such camps if possible).

  • The horseman shall not tie his stock, for more than a short period of time, directly to a tree.

  • The horseman shall not cut switchbacks.

  • The horseman shall not leave a campfire unattended.

  • The horseman shall properly dispose of all manure, bailing twine, wire and waste hay in camp areas, trailheads, or loading areas.

  • The horseman shall abide by the administrative rules and regulations affecting the area he/she is in.

  • The horseman shall recognize the fragility of the backcountry environment and practice minimum impact techniques at all times.

Winter Care for Your Horse
  • The most important item you can do is make sure the horse has adequate amounts of 40-43 degrees F temperature water.

  • About the worst thing for a horse during the winter months is ice; most importantly, the ice that covers the watering trough or water bucket.

  • The horse has two natural defenses against cold, a long hair coat and a layer of fat beneath the skin. Both provide an excellent means of insulation against the cold.

  • The long winter hair coat serves as insulation by reducing the loss of body heat and provides the first line of defense against the cold. Its insulating value is lost when the horse becomes wet and/or is covered with mud. This is why it is important to provide a dry sheltered area in cold wet weather and regular grooming.

  • Most nutritional needs of the horse do not change during the winter season. Vitamin, mineral and protein requirements will still depend upon the horse's age and physiological status and not on the time of year. The horse should be fed according to body condition.

  • Thin horses should be fed some supplemental grain in addition to good quality hay to assure enough energy to produce warmth, while a fat horse will require little or no increase from their fall diet. Most mature horses that are idle and in good flesh can survive the winter quite well on a good quality hay and ample clean water.

  • Show horses with hair coats that are artificially short should not be turned outside in bitter winter cold without the protection of a blanket or windbreak.