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We sure are enjoying your web page. In fact we put it on our "favorites" list. We live just south of Aitkin, down the pike a piece from y'all. K. rides a 13 year old Spanish Mustang but my baby is a sweet 16 year old mule named "Molly". O.K., not very original, I know. We sure would like to ride with ya sometime...! I recognized your name when trying to research some trail riding info. I remembered it from the election ballot....
My question: In Minnesota, on typical Northern Minnesota terrain, how far can a person resonably expect to ride an average conditioned horse or mule each day on an outing of say 4 to 7 days without hurting the animal or pushing it too hard? (I know there are many ifs, ands, whats and buts here.)
A lot depends on the condition of the horse, the exact terrain, how heavy the rider and gear are, etc.
I like the old U.S. Cavalry standard -- except on a forced march, a patrol would cover about 25 miles before going into camp. That would calculate out to about 175 miles of riding in a week. (roughly from Aitkin to Duluth and back?) You might push harder, but why? It's nice to take time along the way for watching clouds and wildlife, picking raspberries, smelling the flowers, etc. I've easily ridden 15 miles or so on a leisurely afternoon of riding over varied terrain when Willy was in good shape. Now, in his late 20s, I probably wouldn't work him that hard.
By the way, an interesting ride to explore might be the old military road between Camp Ripley and Lake Superior. I've seen a sign marking the trail at McGrath, but I don't have any idea how much of the route remains in passable condition. Maybe the Minnesota Historical Society could help locate it.
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