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[RC] My input on riding at night - Ridecamp Guest

Please Reply to: mkornwolf@xxxxxxxxxxxxx mkornwolf@xxxxxxxxxxxxx or 
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DEFINITELY practice riding at night on your home trails.
Start at twilight and pick a return route that's fairly open
so any moonlight can help as your vision adjusts.

Horses can see better than us, but I've found they're
spookier when being ridden at night. When I rode last night
to prep for an upcoming 100 miler, my very seasoned horse
bolted forward a few steps when he heard the rustling sound
of a neighbor's dog under some bushes. I almost came off!
He wouldn't have spooked that much in daylight.

More creatures come out at night depending on where you are
in the US. My friend Jen & her mare had to contend with a
curious moose that pestered them last year at Pine Tree (ME).

At the actual ride, consider teaming up with at least one other rider. It can 
be lonely and scary out there! Carry a decent light that casts a strong beam so 
if glow sticks aren't very frequent you don't have to agonize about being off 
trail. At the Sand Hills Ride in March, Jonie Brucker was wearing a headlamp 
and kept us from going seriously off trail when a glow stick was missing at a 
key turn - her light picked up the color of the ribbons w/o us having to 
dismount. A couple riders ahead of
us had missed that turn and rode about 10 minutes before realizing it.

Finally, if the trail has trees, beware low branches! I ended my first 100 with 
a fat lip and blood all over my face from getting smacked by a branch that my 
horse went right under. Often the course is designed so you ride the last 
loop(s) earlier in the day and note any tricky spots, but if not, those would 
be the loops I'd try to ride if I got to camp a day early.

Best part of riding after dark (on summer rides at least) is how the temps drop 
and your horse will seem fresher and willing to move out after the heat of the 
afternoon subsides. But be sure to carry some kind of jacket appropriate for 
the weather! Nothing worse than being cold and tired, even when doing what you 
love.

Best Wishes, Mary



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than crewing for a female Endurance rider is crewing

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