Author Topic: Horseback travelling - how far a day?  (Read 3681 times)

Nelodra

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Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« on: October 16, 2006, 06:16:24 PM »
For my WIP I need to know how far one can travel on horseback a day. How many hours can one ride, without exhausting oneself and/or the horse, how often do you/the horse need to rest and for how long?
I was hoping some of my fellow writers who are familiar with horses could help me out.
Thanks in advance.

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 06:31:12 PM »
For my WIP I need to know how far one can travel on horseback a day.

A few more details would help with the answer Nelodra.

Things like;

What type of horse?  Quarter horses are known for their staying power over long distances.
                               Thotoughbreds (in general) are know for their speed over relatively shorter distances (think - race tracks).
                               Mustangs aren't particualary know for speed, but are strong and willing to go long distances.

The answer would also depend on the rider and how experienced they are as well as the terraine that will be traveled.  Hilly country will make the going slower unless there are well established trails.  Numerour rivers that have to be crossed by swimming across will also slow things down. 

And to some extent, there can be a difference depending if the horse is being ridden by someone that generally rides That Horse.  If they are use to each other, things come much easier to them.  In many ways it's almost as if they read each other's minds.  In reality, it's due to small movements on the rider's part that the horse has learned to interpet.


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Nelodra

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2006, 06:54:45 PM »
Well, there I go.. I know nothing of horses and in fact am terrified of them  :-[
I guess they would need fast horses that can cover long distances, and they are experienced riders.
Terrain... erm... part of the road would be rocky, part of it flat, and there are trails.
oh - and not a lot of rivers.

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2006, 07:16:12 PM »
Well, there I go.. I know nothing of horses and in fact am terrified of them 
I guess they would need fast horses that can cover long distances, and they are experienced riders.
Terrain... erm... part of the road would be rocky, part of it flat, and there are trails.
oh - and not a lot of rivers.



Under the circumstances you give, I would go with a quarter horse if it can be it is native to the area or can be transported in.

An easy day's travel would be about 5 to 7 miles.  That's with no running or hurry.  If you want the horse to be running, I would expect them to make more than 10 -12 miles in one day.  That includes taking the occasional rest break for both horse and rider. 

You might gain something from this site about the Pony Express during their hay days.  But remember, their aim was speed and they changed horses often as well as riders from time to time.

 http://www.americanwest.com/trails/pages/ponyexp1.htm

This site has some interesting information about both horses and riders. 

Good luck,

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Offline caliban1

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2006, 11:25:13 PM »
Hi Nelodra,
I train horses of all sorts.  I often ride a 11k trail, call it 7 miles, in two hours.  Just about any fit horse of the saddle breeds walks at least 3 miles an hour and can do that for 10 hours. That is 30 miles; I think the US calvary used to consider 20 miles a normal days march. There are endurance races where horses, mostly Arabs, cover 100 miles in the desert in a day.  I once rode an Arab/ qaurter horse cross 12 miles from my farm to a small town, competed in some games and races and rode him back in the afternoon.  He wasn't tired, but he was a working cowhorse that did something almost every day.  I think a well matched, fit, horse and rider could do fifty miles in a day if they had to travel fast.  It would be hard to keep that up for more than one day at a time without changing horses.

Hope this is some help,
Caliban
It is all a metaphor.

Nelodra

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2006, 05:13:50 AM »
Thanks, Alice and Caliban, that helps a lot.
Now all I have to do, is take one or two riding lessons to get the feel of being on a horseback.  ::)
Aaaargh! If only I could get the feel of it by riding my bike... 

Offline Astra

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2006, 07:30:47 AM »
There is nothing better than actually experiencing it Nelodra.  If you are really terrified, I'm sure a professional riding stables will let you just mount up and sit - or maybe they'll lead you a short distance so you get the feel of the movement.  Gather your courage and go for it!

Offline BrigidMary

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2006, 03:24:24 PM »
Good luck with your story. Caliban's answer was right on, so I won't add my horse knowledge here. I will say, that in many novels where horseback travel is concerned, if you write it well into the story, no one is going to notice if you're off a little bit.

The farm where I teach (in Maryland, if there's any chance you're local) will sell a four-lesson package to beginners to get the general idea. It's enough time to get a feel for the walk and the trot, but if you want to move up to canter and gallop, plan on spending at LEAST six months (and even then, it's a stretch, depending on how often you ride, and your fitness level).

Good luck!
Brigid Kemmerer
Author of <b><i>Storm: The Elemental Series</i></b>, coming April 24, 2012 from K Teen (Kensington Books)

Nelodra

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2006, 03:33:52 PM »
Good luck with your story. Caliban's answer was right on, so I won't add my horse knowledge here. I will say, that in many novels where horseback travel is concerned, if you write it well into the story, no one is going to notice if you're off a little bit.

The farm where I teach (in Maryland, if there's any chance you're local) will sell a four-lesson package to beginners to get the general idea. It's enough time to get a feel for the walk and the trot, but if you want to move up to canter and gallop, plan on spending at LEAST six months (and even then, it's a stretch, depending on how often you ride, and your fitness level).

Good luck!

Maryland.. not even close. I live in Arnhem, the Netherlands of all places.  :D

Offline caliban1

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2006, 10:00:22 PM »
Hi Nelodra and others,
I particularly enjoy working with people who are afraid of horses, but since I am in Canada I obviously won't be able to give Nelodra lessons.  However, it might be helpful to tell about Neal who is presently my favorite riding student.  Neal is 68; his dream is to gallop a horse on the Pampus in Argentina.  He just finished his fourth lesson and was cantering a bit in an 11 acre field on my 28 year old, do-anything, mare, Pele.  They are great together, he has learned to keep his weight back in the saddle and to push the horse forward with his legs so that she uses her hindquarters.  Pele, the mare has been a champion pulling horse, an all round cattle horse, a very respectable jumper, a carriage horse and a pony for racehorses which has involved galloping with young thouroughbreds on a training track. Now she is teaching Neal. Today he asked me if I thought he would ever become a horseman.  I told him the truth, he shows more talent than some people who have ridden and taken lessons for years.  I can easily imagine him cantering on the Pampus, and Pele, who at her age has a few aches and pains, benefits from his riding which spares her slightly arthritic left shoulder and keeps her moving like a five year old.  It is wonderful. You have to find a fine old "schoolmaster horse" and experience riding for yourself, Nelodra.  The Netherlands has some great riders on the world scene, there must be some excellent stables there.

All the best,
Caliban
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Nelodra

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Re: Horseback travelling - how far a day?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2006, 04:33:02 AM »
Thanks for your encouraging words, Caliban.
That was a wonderful story, and I admire Neal. You may even tell him so.
I will take some riding lessons, and hopefully it will cure me of my fear of horses. And if not, at least I'll know what it's like to ride a horse.