It’s Huntin’ Season!

Before I get rolling on this post, I just wanted to share a few pictures of Willow’s work yesterday. She was a doll, as always, and her work to the right was surprisingly better than that to the left. We have a little bit of a forward issue, but she’s quickly learning that my leg means go. Her trot, while I haven’t coaxed it to 1/3 of it’s potential, is amazing, and when she really gets tracking you’ve got about 12 years of hang time. She’s going to be so nice, and when I think once we really get rolling, moving up the levels is going to be a cakewalk for her.

Modeling her new tendon boots, that fit like a glove. I got the full size, and they fit her super long cannons no problem!

{As an aside, her sheet also fit really well, but it’s hunting season, so she’ll be going out in purple for a while longer. :)}

If you live in a rural area, like Willow does, you should take the proper precautions to keep your horse safe during hunting season. You would always like to think that people are smarter than to mistake a horse for a deer, turkey, bear, whatever is in season, but many aren’t. Here are some tips to keep your four legged friends safe!

  • Properly post your land with “No hunting” and/or “Safety Zone” signs. If land is posted with these signs, not only does it not allow hunting on your land, but the “Safety Zone” signs also alert hunters that there is a house/livestock in the area.

{Source- traditioncreek.com}

  • I love that Willow lives outdoors. Her pasture is boarded with a tree line, that hunters have been spotted coming out of. Because of that, she and all her pasture mates wear bright colored sheets. Blaze orange is perferable, but any kind of ‘non-natural’ color works. Willow wears purple. I recommend neon-anything. Reflective tape can also come in handy, for dusk/dawn/nighttime. Even though it’s illegal in many places to hunt at night, people do it. Putting strips of reflective tape on either side of your blankets as well as your halters can protect aganist those out spotlight hunting. (Spotlighting a deer makes it freeze which makes it an easier shot… also illegal.)

{Source- classicsaddlery.com}

  • Fall is the perfect time for a trail ride. I recommend that all riders wear orange or green safety vests. Horses can wear orange halters under their bridles, orange ear nets, tail wraps, polos, saddle pads, and/or bells. There is a myrad of safety gear out there to choose from, and as long as you go for the brighest non-natural color possible, you’re that much safer. Keep up a steady stream of chatter (I enjoy singing… Willow doesn’t enjoy my singing as much as I do) with your riding buddy. If you’re riding out alone, always carry your cell phone and play some tunes, or again with the bells. Horses tromping through the underbrush can sound (to the idiots that shoot first and look later) like deer, but deer don’t wear bells or sing Lady Ga Ga.

{Source- Netposse.com}

  • If you see hunters on your land, go chat with them. Be friendly, but remember names and faces. Let them know that there are horses on your land and remind them that it isn’t okay for them to be hunting in the area. Acting a little kooky helps too, as word travels fast about those types. Slip into your favorite slippers and robe, and go running out to meet them. 😉
  • Don’t forget about your canine friends as well! If you have a wanderer (like Dixie), invest in an orange collar or jacket for them. A bell on their collar can be a good idea as well.

{Source- examiner.com}

  • Finally, keep in mind that during hunting season, deer and various other fowl are a little more active than normal for various reasons (I’d be a little more active if a hairy dude with a gun was chasing me, too). Don’t be surprised if one jumps in front of you on the trail, and always be prepared for an accident. Leave a note at your starting point with where you plan to go and when you left. Always carry a fully charged cell phone. They even make portable chargers that are easy to carry and don’t require a plug in. A first aid kit is a must, and it should always contain a knife, something to use for bandaging (I love vet wrap), water, a map of the area, and something sugary (think hard candy). You can add what you like, but those are my must-haves for a 1-2 hour ride. Let somebody know where you are going, even if it’s a phone call to a friend. Always carry ID with you. I keep all my expired driver’s lisences, and slip one in my front pocket if I go out on the trail. I write an ICE number in the back in Sharpie. You can also purchase a bridle/saddle tag with your horses name and a phone number. I also write my name/digits on the underside of my saddle pads with Sharpie. If you have allergies or other medical concerns, carry a laminated card detailing that as well.
  • ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!

Happy Trails!

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