Thursday, February 3, 2011

Extreme trail and other stuff

Does this look like fun or what? It's like a horse playground. (I recommend muting this)

Mark Bolender (the guy riding) built an entire facility devoted to extreme trail riding out in Oregon, find it here, the website claims that there are similar facilities all over the United States but darned if I can find where they are. If you live anywhere near this place, please go and tell me how it was so I can live vicariously.

I found another link through one of my list serves that is very enlightening, check out this page that shows you how to spot imbalances in your horse's hind feet. I did this with the Quarters and ended up running for my rasp. Yikes!

In other news, we got lucky here in central NY and missed most of this week's massive storm. I know many of you reading weren't nearly so lucky. Fortunately winter is almost over, the groundhog says so!


  1. I wish there was one of these in Pennsylvania!!!

  2. Me too, I could actually get a horse down to Pennsylvania.

    For some reason it just occurred to me how close "Pennsylvania" is to "Transylvania." I am now thoroughly amused.

  3. Wow! How much fun would that be?! I loved how the horse had it's head low and was checking out the path. The rider was so gentle, too, at encouraging the horse through the waterfall, and the bouncy bridge.

  4. I'm in Oregon! This video is from the Oregon Horse Center trail course that they do twice a year. It's quite fun, I've done it several times and am planning on doing it in-hand with my young TB :) I haven't been out to Mark Bolender's facility yet, but there are quite a few other places around here that have outdoor trail courses. My instructor has one at her barn that she uses for shows and training every summer. Other than that, I'm not sure about ones outside of Oregon. I got to talk to Lynn Palm about mountain trail competitions and she said it was starting to get pretty popular in Florida, but I wonder where else has one.

    Also, this is just what I heard, but I think Mark Bolender bought that horse already trained to do bridless and he uses it to advertise his training services, but still he's a great rider. I watched him ride that horse bridleless and pony another horse through the course and it was *quite* impressive.

  5. Hi Wolfie, it looks like a blast to me. Made me wonder if I could build something like that someday...

    TBA- color me jealous! I guess I have to live in either Oregon or Florida to get in on these things. Bummer. Do you think you can get video when you go with your horse? That would be fun to watch.

  6. Wait, wait wait wait.
    Mountain trail riding is getting popular in Florida?



    People in Florida will build literally anything to pretend they are not, in fact, in Florida.

    So Shannon you didn't get snow? Did you get ice? We got ice. Lots and lots of ice.

  7. I love the videos of that place in Oregon. Wish we had a place like that down here!

    I'm sure they are very expensive to build. Too bad. I'd love to have one in my backyard!


  8. I just gotta say we do this type of riding all the time! And I live in PA. Pittsburgh, PA. We trailer to every park around and find all these aspects shown on this video. waterfalls-yes, bridges-yes even covered bridges!, wide, narrow, deep creeks and streams -yes we even swam in the lake with our ponies! rocky hill climbs -yes, drop offs -yes....Beaver State Park in Ohio is great for a good 16 mile challenge. We find downed trees all the time and have to figure a way around them if we can't get over them.

    If you want a challenge like in the video, you gotta get out and explore trails everywhere around you!

  9. That's just a state away. I had no idea there was anything like that there but then I've not been to the Oregon Horse Center yet.

  10. That video is soooo cool - that horse is bridless!!!!! That is my ultimate goal. I love how the horse has full use of his head to sort all the rocks and logs out.

  11. Wow, very cool on both counts! I'm going to try that balance idea with my own horses. I'm very picky about making sure their heels are balanced, but I have two that I haven't been able to trim because they're so new with their training. I'm curious if I'll see a difference between the ones I trim and the ones that haven't been.

  12. It took mine a while to get comfortable with that hold so I could look down their leg at the hoof. They eventually relaxed about it though.

    It will be interesting to see the difference, it would be even better if there isn't one though.

  13. I just wanted to chime in about TBA stating Mark Bolender's horse was trained for him. I'm actually closely related to him (and have riden plenty with him and his stock) and he trained Checkers for bridleless riding himself. I know there are lots of rumors out there but that one is just not true. Checkers and his brother Cody (both out of Mark's mare Lady) are both trained for bridleless. Cody is actually a reining horse though and Mark does routines with him bridleless, something fun to see for sure. Mark loves his horses dearly and has spent countless hours, actually years, working with them and building a tremendous trusting partnership.
    Keep in mind that the mind of the horse is something to take largely into consideration as well if your goal is riding bridleless or extreme trail riding in general. Safe and happy trails.