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Towing a Toboggan Behind a Horse
 By Winniefield Park   •   9th Feb 2015   •   1,711 views   •   0 comments
Towing a Toboggan Behind a Horse

Where I live, there is a foot of snow on the ground right now. This means that outdoor riding is limited. I have the luxury of riding indoors now, but it hasn't always been that way. When I was growing up, we had a choice of wading through the snow if we wanted to ride, or waiting until spring. Of course, there was a fair amount of wading through the snow, and sometimes we had to be satisfied with following the path the horses cut through the pasture, which means we rode back and forth between the barn and the hay piles that were put out.

If the snow wasn't too deep, we had fun pulling each other around on a toboggan or skis. I've skijored behind a horse and a snowmobile, and both are a lot of fun, although the later is much faster and has a greater potential for a wreck. If anyone tries this, I have advice: wear a helmet and if you fall, let go of the rope!

Towing a toboggan behind a horse was something we did to put out bales of hay, get a Christmas tree, and just for fun. When the snow wasn't too deep, we'd put an old breast collar and traces on my Morgan/Welsh cross, Caramel and then tie binder twine to the traces to get a bit more distance between the horse's heels and the toboggan. Someone would ride, usually bareback, and a bunch of kids would pile on the toboggan and off we'd go.

Related: Equestrian Sports Set To Make Comeback In Next Winter Olympics

We usually used an old wooden toboggan, which slid quietly over the snow and any rough icy patches such as where the horses walked frequently. One time, friends brought over an aluminum toboggan. One of our favorite games was try to roll everyone off by winging the toboggan around a corner hard. A good trot was usually fast enough to catapult at least one person into the snow. We were having a blast until we hit a rough icy patch. The aluminum toboggan was silent over the snow, but when it hit the ice, it made a clattering screech. My horse bolted, and we took off at a good gallop.

I'm going to guess I was probably wearing slippery snow pants, riding bareback, so I parted company with the horse. The kids on the toboggan got an exciting ride until the horse rounded a corner and the whole load was thrown off. The horse continued around the field, with the toboggan flapping and spinning as it went.

As everyone else got up and dusted themselves off, one kid was still writhing in the snow. She was gasping for breath! We were terrified not knowing what to do when someone had the wind knocked out of them, but of course just watched as she struggled. As soon as she seemed alright, the horse was caught and the toboggan was put away. We all swore to secrecy about the incident and from then on, used only the wooden toboggan. But the game wasn't quite as fun anymore.

And, if you get any ideas from this story, you didn't get them from me. Unless it’s to wear a helmet and take a first aid course.
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