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[RC] [RC] night riding/headlamps - Lucy Chaplin Trumbull

Due to the darkness now so early and wanting to continue at least once in the middle of a week riding, does anyone have experience with using a headlamp on a helmet for seeing where you're going.
We tried road riding the other night and ended up walking most of it cause it was so dark. Made reflector bands for the horses legs and tails/bridles but we can't see.
Saw a bunch of brands and didn't know which way to go with the light issue. Any recommendations would be helpful.


I ride a lot at night because I'm too disorganised to
get out early and always seem to start out as the sun
is beginning to set. Under those circumstances, most of
the time I just ride in the dark with no light - because
the dark comes on gradually my night vision works well
and the horse doesn't usually have a problem since he/she
knows the trail. When the full moon comes around on
clear nights it can be gorgeous out there.

However, if I don't know the trail so well, and sometimes
when I ride along our lane (traffic is very light and slow,
but I'd still like them to be aware of us) I've used a
"Black Diamond" 4xLED light that I got from REI several
years ago. This seems to be their new version of the
same thing:

Black Diamond Moonlight LED Headlamp

We liked it so much, we went and got a second one within
a few weeks. :)

The thing I like best about this light (that others don't
always have) is the light part is hinged, so you can point
it up and down. This helps for barn chores (you can point
it at the ground without getting a crick in your neck),
you can point it straight down when you're talking to
someone to save blinding them, etc.

Three AAA batteries lasted all winter for me (when I had
no lights in the barn). (It says in the specs that it'll
last ~16 hrs)

I used it just recently when I was vet sec-ing at Virginia
City 100 (works great to point at the horse's mouth so the
vet could evaluate MM/CP), for tacking up, for finding and
skipping up manure piles at rides if you scoop-as-the-horse-
produces next to the trailer, and of course, for riding.

Because it's a white light, it doesn't seem to produce the
same nauseating shadows some people report riding with a
yellow light. None of my horses have cared about when I've
ridden with it and sometimes seem to welcome the light: one
time we were riding at night and there were some deer on
the trail and my horse got nervous. I turned the light on
and she settled down again and we rode on.

One word of warning, though - I turned the light off
later when I was leading her and she stopped dead -
all her night vision was gone, so you need to watch
that. :)

Other times I've had it on, then before I turned it off,
I tilted it down into the visor of my helmet so that it
gave out less light, then turned it off after a few mins.
so her night vision had a chance to come back. Mounted on
your helmet, above the visor means it never shines in the
horse's eyes while you're going along.

The only thing that wasn't so good about this light is
the battery pack is on the back and on one of our two
lights, the cord from light-to-battery was shorter and
not quite long enough to stretch easily over the helmet
so required some fiddling to get it to stay on (if I was
doing a long ride, I'd use duct tape to secure it in
place). For this reason, you might look at this light

Gerber Triode LED Headlamp

It also seems tiltable, but it isn't as bright so I don't
know if it would send out enough light. But the battery
pack is built in to the light so would be easier to
quickly strap on a helmet.

* * *

As far as visibility, I agree with the person who said
they have a red flasher. For a while I used a cheap red
flasher like you get around Halloween for Trick-o-treating
kids. It didn't last long, but neighbours driving past said
they slowed down because they couldn't figure out what it
was (I was off the road, to one side). I should get another.
I also made leg and noseband wraps, which really help.

And my dog goes with us wearing a flashing collar, a BRIGHT
red bicycle flasher duct-taped to the collar and a reflective
coat. With her wearing her flasher, I can keep track of her
when she lags behind to sniff something interesting and
encourage her to keep up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
elsietee AT foothill DOT net
Repotted english person in the Sierra foothills, California
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