Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Riding Smart- Weather Edition

As many of you know, have seen, and in some cases survived Texas has been flooding.

Over Memorial Day weekend 12 people lost their lives or are still missing and the true loss of pets, livestock, and wildlife is still unknown.  

Thanks to cell phone cameras and videos the events have been well documented and images are chilling and heartbreaking to say the least.   

                                               Not my video or content, Thanks youtube

Here are some things you can do to stay safer while out on the trail when dealing with extreme weather.

Before you go-

1)  Listen to the forecast-  If there is a significant risk for severe weather contact the event coordinator to be sure conditions should be safe and or reconsider your plans.  

2)  Know where you are going-  Sand, rock, or asphalt? River bottom or hill? Get a feel for the place or facility you are going to.  A quick google earth search is a great way to scope out a place.  If riding in a state or national park call the office and get their opinion of riding in that area under those weather conditions.

3)  Consider the terrain-   Rivers can expand hundreds yards in the matter of minutes (as seen in the video).  In addition to the specific area you plan to park and ride know what lies around you.  

4)  Consider the trails-  What effects could the forecast-ed weather have on the places you plan to ride?  Could the rocks be slick or water crossings boggy and dangerous?  Even if your campground is accessible is going out worth possible injury to yourself or your horse?      

Once there-

5)  Park and unload responsibly-  Park as high as possible and as close to the road as possible especially if you do not have 4x4 or have a very large and heavy LQ.  Once parked set up your outside camp sparingly if the weather looks questionable.  If you plan on leaving for several hours/ going to sleep pick up your outside camp to keep loading up to leave as quick as easy as possible.  

6)  Invest in a severe weather radio- Ideally two.  One for your trailer (especially if you camp) and another for your saddle bags.  Here in Texas as we have just seen the weather can change in an instant.  There are several quite small and light weight options available on the market (also almost all can charge your phone as well), and try to get in the habit of checking the weather at noon (or more often if needed) especially if you are alone (or in a limited group) and in a isolated area.  

And most importantly...

Use your best judgement in regards to riding and camping even if event coordinators say rain or shine.  In the end it's your horse, rig, and at times life at stake.  It is better (and cheaper) to stay home and lose an entrance/competition/reservation fee than find yourself in a situation like above.