Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Toys for the trail

Trail riding is one of my very favorite things to do. And I have to admit, while I'm usually pretty bare-bones about what I carry when I go, I love to page through tack catalogs and browse tack shops looking at all the pretty colors and clever gadgets intended to make my trail experience better.

Between winter weather/time change darkness, I won't be venturing out on any extended excursions anytime soon, so I've been indulging in some mock retail-therapy (basically, window shopping. Or would that be Windows shopping, if I'm online? Anyway, here are a few of the fun things I've been eying.

Horse Tracking Software
Although I've involuntarily parted company with my horse more than a few times over the years, thanks be, I've never actually LOST my horse. Heaven forbid that that should happen! But there are plenty of news accounts out there.

Now there's at least one company out there that's offering a possible solution, at least if you're in Britain....

Retrieva offers a strap-mounted GPS tracking device that's soft, flexible, and apparently small enough to be fastened to a pastern - or presumably, to the saddle or halter, if desired. The units are leased for a year-long period - no pricing info was available, but because the service uses a mobile phone network, there is a montly charge.

While lo-jacking your horse won't prevent the initial separation, it might make location easier should the worst happen. Probably not cheap, but worthwhile? I think maybe.
According to a couple of articles (here, here and here) I ran across, GPS units with heart-monitoring info are becoming fairly standard practice in endurance riding and are gaining popularity in racehorse conditioning in the UK. Interesting stuff!

Portable Corrals
A few years back I bought a Zareba Kwik Korral kit from Valley Vet. It came with snap together, step-in T-posts, which I quickly discovered were NOT very durable. Other than that.... the fencer is currently clicking away attached to the new fence we ran up on the hill this past fall. (Gotta love something that says it will run 30 days on 4 D-cells, and is still going at twice that!) It's been convenient, easy to set up - I did replace the snap together T-posts with solid ones - and dependable.

The fencer is available by itself ($89.99 from Tractor Supply Co.), and if I was to buy one again, I'd proably go that route, rather than the kit.

That said, there are LOTS of other fencing options out there, and some of them are really slick. Check out the Carri-lite panel set-up available from Mountain Horse, Inc. It's plastic resin, comes in a variety of panel lengths, and can be set up attached to the trailer or as a free-standing unit. It runs just under $700, which includes shipping.

Then there's the HiTie system, which looks really nifty. If you don't have the option of corrals, or have an equine Houdini....

And that's just for starters... There sure are a lot of goodies out there!
Of course, to do more than window shop,
I'd better win the lottery!

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