How far can you travel by horseback in a day depends on quite a few factors such as the pace of the horse and their fitness level, the terrain you’ll be travelling on and the weather.
How Far Can You Travel by Horseback in a Day: The Basics
Knowing how far can you travel by horseback in a day is essential if you plan on going on a fun trail adventure together.
Generally, horses have an average speed per mile at a certain pace. However, a certain number of factors come into play when you go on a day-long journey with your trusty steed.
Knowing the Pace of a Horse
Understanding at what pace your horse moves will help in determining the amount of distance you cover and time you take to travel in one single day.
A horse can take up to four mph when it walks and between eight and 12 mph when it decides to trot. When a horse canters, it can be anywhere between 12 and 15 mph, and when it chooses to gallop, it travels anywhere between 25 and 30 mph.
Typically, a healthy horse will comfortably walk for about eight hours, and by using the data above, that would mean that you could possibly cover about 32 miles. However, not many riders can stand in the saddle for eight long hours.
If the horse is fitter, it can occasionally trot or canter too; thus reducing the amount of time taken.
The Factors that You Need to Consider
The estimated time and distance that we have given above is based on a ride without any forms of interruption which means that such can still be reduced or increased.
That is due to the fact that the horse can slow down when conditions are not favorable as well as move faster when the situation is ideal for it.
- The Terrain and Footing
The terrain you travel on plays an important role in determining the distance you travel. Navigating your horse through grounds that have steep hills would mean your horse would move up and down.
This means that there is more stress on the horse’s limbs and its cardiovascular system in comparison to when it travels on plain and even ground.
If the terrain you travel on has a ton of rocks or is hard, the concussion that would appear on your horse’s hooves and joints will be a tad bit more pronounced. That means that your pace will automatically go down in order to save your horse from any injury.
Traveling in areas which have sand or deep mud would imply that the tendons and ligaments of the legs of the horse would have to withstand more stress; thus further increasing the time and distance.
- Weather Conditions
Weather plays a critical part when you are planning horseback rides. When horses sweat, they tend to lose a large amount of their body water as well as electrolytes.
That means that if a horse gets dehydrated or runs severely low on electrolytes when you are traveling, the horse can suffer from health consequences that will be severe in nature.
This would increase the time and the distance tremendously.
- The Overall Fitness of your Horse
Before you even plan your journey, it is important to take your horse to the vet to know exactly how fit your horse is. It goes without saying that older horses may have a higher chance of having health issues such as arthritis.
As a rider and your horse’s owner, it becomes your responsibility to prevent the horse from having any injury as well as ensuring that the horse in no way overexerts itself. Ensure that you keep your pace slow so that even your horse does not get tired quickly.
As you can see, determining the distance of how much the horse can travel in one single day is quite difficult. This entirely depends on the factors that we have listed above as well as how old your horse and fit it is. To ensure that you travel as much distance as you want in one single day, you must keep your horse healthy and make sure that it will not have any injuries.
I also just want to cover some health benefits of horseback riding! These benefits are often overlooked as great reasons to get out on a horse for longer trips 🙂
Health Benefits of Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is actually good for your physical and mental health. We’ve made a list of some of the most notable ones below.
Horses, like any other animal, also have their own instincts that they rely on when they are walking or running.
That is the reason why, as a rider, you are always required to make the right decisions once the horse turns in a different direction or act differently.
Muscular Strength and Body Coordination
When you ride a horse, it makes all of your abdominal, pelvic and back core muscles work hard since you need to stay on and communicate with the horse using your body.
Interestingly, it also affects your coordination since you will use your hands, feet, and upper body to guide the horse.
Not many people associate riding a horse with mental health, but there are several psychological benefits too.
For starters, you force your mind to learn and adapt to another living creature, and it is also somewhat meditative, as your primary focus at the moment you ride the horse is only that and nothing else.
Likewise, the connection between you and the horse will bring you a sense of peace every time you ride.
When you ride a horse, that is not the only thing you end up doing.
You also end up working in a barn which means you end up taking care of the horse which ultimately strengthens your muscles and your cardiovascular capacity increases.
Happy riding 🙂