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RE: [RC] Rails to Trails/racing - heidi

In 2004 ,Oregon Outback 5 day was held using a lot of  "rails to trails" 
during the 255 mile trek in southern Oregon.The ride itself was well managed 
,the 2 camps were beautiful,great volunteers,good meals each night & 
challenging weather conditions.But ,I gotta say,I did not like riding on the 
converted railroad tracks.For one thing,the footing was horrible,red cinders 
over large,sharp rocks on raised track with steep sides (no way to get off 
the rock by riding along side) and one day we had 15 miles of straight,flat 
track/trail to cover without a break.Most horses had pads or easyboots on but 
mine had neither & though he stayed sound on the 4 days we finished,he wore 
his shoes thin & smooth & his hooves looked like they'd been buffed & 
sanded.I enjoyed the ride but would never want to "race" over that footing 
again .I'd suggest that anyone planning to cover alot of converted rail/trail 
miles should plan to use easy boots to protect their horse's feet.

Although I appreciate this problem, I find it interesting that having ridden 
two of the five days at Oregon Outback, I don't remember any particularly rocky 
trail.  Having ridden red cinder trails in other places, most of them I've 
found to be fairly forgiving in terms of footing, although they do wear shoes 
something fierce.

The Weiser River rail trail has some rocky spots, for sure, but I also thought 
the footing there was decent on much of the route, and the couple of times I've 
ridden it, it was a simple matter to just slow down in the rockier spots.

I guess maybe I'm just used to riding in lots of rocks, so maybe it doesn't 
register with me as being a difficulty...


PS:  I really enjoyed Oregon Outback--wish they would do it again!


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