Cowboy Trail Riding Vacations
Horseback trail riding vacations at Marble Mountain Ranch offer a unique set of riding challenges. The trail terrain sets the tenor of any trail ride and determines the qualitative nature of the rides. Our local Klamath National Forest is inherently rugged, remote, heavily forested and unequaled in beauty and variety. A mountain trail ride is by very nature going to include elevation changes in the course of the ride. Added to the uphill and downhill portions of a mountain trail ride are creek crossings, tight turns, trail tread variations, obstacles to ride over or around, dense foliage canopies, abundant wildlife, and solitude.
Many of our guests inquire about our trail riding vacations with a set of pre-formatted questions. Do we ride “nose to tail” on the trail? Can we gallop on the trail? Just as with the Cowboys riding western trails of old, when the trail landscape changes, we too change how we ride. We match the ride speed, the rider’s skill set, and the experience of the horse to suit the evolving challenges of each trail. Yes, we trot and we lope as trail conditions and guest riding skills allow. No, we do not gallop, we limit our ride speed to a lope or canter with the majority of the rides operating at a walk or trot through various mountain trail features. As we work through variable trail challenges at the appropriate gate, you will appreciate that most of our rides are in the single file. Riding multiple horses abreast on single track trails, through tight quarters or on steep grades is dangerous at a minimum.
Some of the answers to questions about our trail rides are evident just by viewing images and video of our trail riding experience. Because mountain trails are often moving through intimately tight quarters, the horses are by default in a single file formation until the trail reaches a more open section. However, single file formation does not mean that horsemanship is unnecessary. Additionally, single file riding formations allow us to manage the placement of varying horse personalities and to eliminate the race-track effects of horse competitions while riding abreast at faster gates.
Vacation And Learn Mountain Horse Riding
Successful riding through a sequence of trail obstacles and challenges requires proper seat, good reign control, speed management, horse to horse spacing, consistent riding cues to the horse, good trail tread placement, and body positioning at steeper trail sections. We use the descriptive term “trail khana” to illustrate the need for athletic prowess and skill sets in both horse and rider. The challenge of mountain trail riding is exciting, rewarding, and demanding.
Additionally, none of our trail rides require time spend in a truck with a loaded horse trailer to reach a trail-head. With a variety of trail options departing directly from Marble Mountain Ranch and not requiring long truck shuttles to a trail-head, we can easily script each trail ride to approximate the needs and skill levels of the ride participants.
The unique set of riding skills needed for mountain trail riding is not usually learned with riding time limited to the arena. To manage the riding risks for your cowboy trail riding holiday, we start your visit after your arrival on Monday with an arena horse orientation and simple skills evaluation. PLEASE NOTE: All riders must weigh-in at the arena orientation on day one. Our riding weight limit is 240 pounds (109 Kg) per person. Our trail rides begin the following day (Tuesday) with easier rides closer to our ranch base, and graduating to longer and more difficult rides as the week progresses. We also schedule daily arena time to teach Western trail riding skills through fun and engaging games on horseback. Our 100′ X 150′ covered arena provides a comfortable shaded setting and has a groomed sand riding base. The arena also offers a great controlled setting to practice riding skills while riding at faster gates.
We consider it an important part of our job to both manage risk and to help our guest riders depart at week’s end as better riders than when they first arrived. Will you join us on our next cowboy trail ride?