Equestrianism – Horseback Riding!

Horseback riding, also known as equestrianism, is the skill sport of riding a horse, whether it’s for travel purposes or competitive horse racing. There are two kinds of horseback riding: the English style (which originated in England and is prevalent all over the world) has a lighter saddle in comparison to its counterpart, Western style (which originated in American, on many of the ranches). The heavier saddles were made with the cowboy’s comfort in mind, who spent a lot of time gathering herds of animals.

riding a horse

Horseback riding does not come without serious dangers, since horses are extremely heavy and large in comparison to humans, and we can be thrown off and/or trampled. Also, the sport requires one to be at a considerable height, which makes being thrown off even more dangerous. But, if one trains well, like with any other sport, the risks involved can be mitigated.

Mounting

The first step to riding a horse would be to mount the horse, which consists of putting your foot in the left stirrup, swinging your right foot over the horse, and putting your right foot in the right stirrup. Beginners should use a mounting block, as this would make getting on the horse easier. Also, it would be a good idea to choose a well-trained calm horse, instead of a younger one, who might be antsy if you have to try mounting multiple times. While mounting the horse, one should hold the reins in their left hand tightly, but not too tightly as to hurt the horse. Beginners should preferably have someone to hold the horse’s head as they mount. Horses are always mounted from their left (near) side because most riders are right handed and they can leave that hand free to do other things.

horse mounting

 

After mounting the horse, you should ensure your balance is alright. You should keep your back straight and most of your weight should be on your buttocks. Once the balance is okay, one should put their legs in the correct position. Keep your legs pointing inwards, not outwards, as most beginners tend to do. This is to ensures that your legs are also holding on to the horse, which helps with balance. Your toes should be pointing upward and your heels should be downward. Beginners can practice keeping their feet in this position by putting their feet on a higher surface than the ground, such as a step, and push their heels downwards.

The next step before riding the horse would be to hold the reins properly. An English-style rider would hold the reins in both hands, with the reins going through their fists and the loop facing upwards, their thumbs securing the reins in place and their little fingers resting on the outside of the rein. A Western-style rider would hold both of the reins in their left hand, like they would hold a bouquet. The reins are knotted at the end and the rider would hold the reins loosely.

Riding

Once you’re comfortable with mounting the horse and holding the reins, you can start riding. Pulling at the reins usually prompt a horse to start walking, but if that doesn’t work, you can gently kick the horse with your left to signal it. Their may be noises you can make that the horse has been trained to listen for to indicate movement, and you can ask the trainer if there are any. First, start with following the horse’s movements with your arms. A horse’s head indicates as to which direction it is going to move in. Let the reins move with his movement, as this will help you learn how to steer.

steering the horse

 

To steer, the rider pulls the right rein to indicate to move to the right, and vice versa. Moving in the seat toward the direction also helps to give the horse an idea of what direction to go in. Once you are comfortable with steering, you can start with trotting (if you’re an English-style rider), or jogging (if you’re a western-style rider). One has to gently press their legs into the horse’s sides to indicate to them to trot/jog. There are two kinds of trotting, which are sitting and posting. In posting, people raise their body as the shoulders of the horse go back, and sit down as its shoulders go back down. This helps to avoid bouncing heavily on the horse’s back.

horseback riding

 

English-style riders, after they have mastered trotting and it’s several kinds, can move on to cantering. Move your outside leg back and press gently to cause your horse to canter. It’s a 3-step movement that comes naturally to all horses. Beginners should hold on to the neck strap or saddle to be safe, as it’ll help with their balance. As you feel safe with these riding techniques, you can move on to more difficult and advanced riding methods.

Horse Riding Equipment

  • The most basic horse riding equipment that one has to have are:
  • Bridle
  • Helmet
  • Safety stirrups or boot (1-inch heel)
  • Saddles with girth or cinch
  • Saddle pad or blanket

Taking Care Of The Horse

Grooming – Ensure that your horse is always well brushed. Use a comb to remove tangles in its mane and tail, and trim its fur as needed. You’ll need a dandy brush to remove the dust from its fur, and a body brush to keep its fur well groomed. Use clippers to trim your horse’s hair. Keep its hooves well cleaned and give it baths when needed.

 

horse grooming

 

Feeding – Always ensure your horse has a good supply of water and fresh hay throughout the day. Depending on the horse’s requirements, you can reduce or increase its supply of hay. You can also give it carrots occasionally. In case you want to change anything or add anything new in its meals, make the change progressively, little by little. Ensure that you always feed your horse an hour before or after riding it, and not while riding.

 

feeding a horse hay

 

Bonding – Spend time with your horse even when you’re not riding them. Let them come to you when you’re outdoors and gently stroke them. Your bond with the horse is an extremely important factor when it comes to your riding experience.

 

bonding with a horse

 

Dangers

Horse riding is a quite risky sport, where there is the possibility of death or lifetime paralysis. Because of the horse’s unpredictable nature, there’s no sure-shot way of being safe while horse riding. This risk is especially high for children. Horses tend to kick people when they are unhappy, and due to their weight and power, a kick can be potentially fatal if the horse decided to kick hard enough. An important factor in ensuring safety around horses is how you behave with them. When conditions are right, horseback riding can be so much fun for you, while the horse is getting a nice amount of exercise as well. It can be a beautiful relationship!

Challenge Yourself With Canyoning!

Canyoning is a sport and recreation that is unlike any other. It combines fun, adventure, endurance, and life-threatening risks, things you don’t usually experience in other sports. It can be insanely challenging, yet enjoyable at the same time. Canyoning, like other sports, requires that you have some training and learn certain skills for you to participate.

canyoning

What is canyoning, exactly? Canyoning involves walking, climbing, scaling rocks/cliffs, jumping, scrambling, and even swimming through a canyon. This entails jumping into a deep pool from a cliff, walking and swimming through rough and water-filled canyons, rope climbing waterfalls and more. These are high-risk activities that are designed to give you one of the most thrilling experiences you can have in your life.

Canyoning can take place where there are gorges, waterfalls, caves filled with water, valleys with cliffs, etc. This recreational sport is planned and organized in natural landscapes with beautiful surroundings and difficult terrains, which make it challenging and very interesting at the same time. It is for people who have a thirst for risky adventures.

going down a waterfall

There are so many beautiful spots around the world where people can go canyoning to get the best experience. Some beautiful locations you can visit for canyoning include:

  • Inchree Falls (Scotland)

 

falls in Scotland

 

  • Twister Canyon (Australia)

 

  • Kalang Falls (Australia)

 

canyoning location

 

  • Colorado Plateau (part of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico)

 

  • Grand Canyon (Arizona)

 

canyoning in Arizona

 

  • Eldorado Canyon (Colorado)

 

  • Hole-in-the-wall Canyon (California)

 

canyone in California

 

  • Maentrog Gorge (North Wales)

 

  • Fortress Canyon (Utah)

 

canyon in Utah

 

  • Galah Canyon (Australia)

 

  • Firefly Canyon (Australia)

 

canyon in Australia

 

  • Empress Canyon (Australia)

 

Canyoning requires special equipment if you are to indulge in it safely and successfully. This equipment is needed because of the risks associated with the sport, and they include helmets, specially designed shoes, climbing ropes, wetsuits, trainers, buoyancy aides, backpacks, towels, spare clothing and more. If you’re just starting, you should look up smaller canyons to get acquainted with canyoning, so you can move on to bigger canyons with extra challenges.

There are certain things you need to know before canyoning, which are very important because of the precarious conditions you may face in some of the locations you may be visiting. You need to be taught how to navigate a canyon, the rescue methods in case you are in danger, how to climb with the ropes, how to stay safe, how to swim (if you don’t know how), what you need to carry along while canyoning to boost energy, what to avoid, etc.

Scotland cliff scaling

Canyoning is safest in groups, with an experienced guide to lead you. Before you go out on your own, you should be trained by experienced hands in the field of canyoning. This is to guarantee that you stay safe while you’re learning all the ins and outs of canyon challenges.

This form of exercise/adventure is something everyone should attempt at least once in their lifetimes. It will make you see life differently and expose you to some natural beauties of the world. Life is too short and shouldn’t be wasted sitting at home, so get out there already! Be risky, see beautiful sites and have some fun with canyoning!

Mixing Frisbee With Golf? It’s Disc Golf!

basket for disc golf

Disc Catcher

Disc golf is a flying disc sport game invented in the early 1900’s. It uses the same rules and techniques of the classical old game of traditional golf, but instead of using clubs and balls, players actually use flying discs! It’s pretty interesting, especially for those who don’t really like regular golf and are good at throwing a frisbee. You might have thought, as I did, ‘What are those baskets with nets for in this park?’, well now you’ll know!

 

Origin And History

Although the sport of disc golf is thought to have been invented in the early 1900’s, modern and contemporary disc golf currently being played around the world only started in the early 1960’s. The sport has gained wide acclaim and acceptance and there are currently more than 35,000 players indulging in the sport in more than 47 countries around the globe.

 

Countries

 

crowd watching disc golf

Currently there are more than 47 countries recognized by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) where this sport is being played. These include the United States, Canada, and the European countries. There are thousands of courses throughout these countries that provide facilities for amateurs, as well as professional disc golf players.

 

Rules And Strategies

The rules and techniques of PLAYING DISC GOLF are the same as those of regular golf. There are 18 holes in regular golf, and it’s the same in disc golf, only with baskets instead of holes. Instead of using a standard club for hitting the ball off the Tee pad, the disc golf player uses his arms for throwing the disc towards a suspended catching post, an elevated metal basket called the Disc Catcher.

aiming for the target

The foot should be firmly placed on the Tee mat (for professionals) and should not cross the front of the Tee while throwing the disc. Multiple throws can be made in order to reach the metal basket. Once a throw has been made, the next throw is made from the point where the disc previously landed. In order to complete a hole, a player needs to put the disc inside the metal basket. The disk can either rest in the basket or in the metal chains of the Disc Catcher.

 

Pars and Yardage

The Par lengths and yardage for disc golf are the same as regular golf. There are Par 3, Par 4, and Par 5 holes in disc golf. The only difference is that regular golf is measured in yards, whereas disc golf is measured in feet.

 

Disc Types

 

disc golf discs in a store

There are two types of discs most commonly used in disc golf, the drivers and the putters. Drivers are discs that are designed to cut through the air and hence have sharp edges. Putters, on the other hand, have thick edges and are usually used while throwing from a close range, as they fly more in a straight line. The disc types and weights are important characteristics that must be kept in mind while playing the game.

 

Disk Golf Community

 

class on disc golf

Disc golf is an emerging sport, the fourth fastest growing sport in the United States. More and more people and athletes are taking interest in the sport. People travel to different states and countries to take part in tournaments and matches. Various online forums have been set up to guide and encourage people to play the sport.

5 Beautiful Places To Hike In Oregon

Have you ever visited Oregon? If you do, and you’re the active type, you might want to learn about some great places to hike while you’re there. Few urban cities in America have such stately green spaces, giving sightseers views that are beautiful, remote and quiet within the city.

We have put together a list of hiking trails in Oregon that’ll leave your legs burning while providing loads of clean, fresh air and stunning views:

1. Oxblow Regional Park

Be sure to go with your fishing rod for a fun day of hiking and fishing. This park in Gresham is well-known for fishing and is close to Oregon camping. Oxblow Regional Park offers a 3.3-mile loop that includes long stretches. One of the fascinating features of this park is the “ancient forest”, which is composed of large hundred-year-old trees that rise above the trail and river.

Oxblow Regional Park

2. Washington Park

Beautiful deep woods and a mountain view makes this Portland gem one of the best hikes within Oregon. The Wildwood Trail begins and ends at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where signs for the trail are posted throughout the hike to ensure safety and prevent health hazards.

Washington Park in OR

3. Tryon Creek State Park

Tryon Creek State Park can be found inside one of the major metropolitan areas, just minutes from downtown Portland, if driving. The park provides several activities within its boundaries, such as a 659-acre park with several good hiking trails to follow. If you are experiencing health challenges that will hinder your foot from long trips, come along with a bike.

It is a good idea for the whole family to be fit in order to view the entire 2.7-mile loop. Starting at the visitor’s center, follow Old Main Trail, then the Red Fox Trail to the loop.

fun at the park

4. Mount Tabor

This park, also in Portland, takes you through a 2 mile hike from the 60th Avenue Trailhead that brings you to the summit of a dormant volcano with amazing views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood. Various routes can be taken to complete the hike, with many things to admire, such as picnic areas, playgrounds and statues.

park in Portland

5. Lower Macleay Park

There is parking space for your bikes and cars at the Lower Macleay Park in Portland. After packing, begin by walking under the Thurman Street Bridge. There are various trail options to choose from, but by focusing on the Wildwood Trail, you are guaranteed to reach the beautiful Pittock Mansion.

mansion on trails

BONUS: Cave Hiking

Cave hiking is one of the more risky types of recreational hiking. This movement requires particular security hardware and long haul items. Along with various light sources, suitable dress, adequate nourishment and water, one should likewise try to bring rope and climbing gloves. If you are considering cave hiking, contact an expert who can give you ideas for the right hardware needs and precautionary measures.

hiking through a cave

Summary!

Hiking Oregon trails is a mind blowing experience. You will get a thrill with these few trails, all with their own remarkable scenes and delights. Regardless of where you hike, you will be continually surprised by the beauty Oregon has to offer. Stay tuned for more great features of this stunning state!