As the weather warms up, many of us head outdoors and hit the trails as a welcome respite from the long winter of indoor riding. Regardless of discipline, trail riding offers a great cross-training opportunity for you and your horse. Here are seven trail tips to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable trail season!
- Before you set out to enjoy a relaxing trail ride, make sure both you and your horse have mastered control at all gaits. You should be practicing your one-rein stops and yielding those hind quarters, as well as directing those feet with softness and accuracy.
- Remember to always keep one horse length between horses. You should try to always be aware of other riders, watch your horse's expression as well as the expression of your trail buddies and respect each others personal space.
- If you are riding with a group of different level riders, be sure to have an experienced rider in the lead and another at the end.
- In case someone makes an unscheduled dismount, carry a cell phone on your body, rather than in a saddlebag, and make sure you have your ID with you with any important medical info. We recommend an arm band with blood type, emergency contact, and any allergies. Attach an ID tag somewhere on your horse's gear or mane as well.
- Wear a helmet. Every time - every ride. For added sun protection wear one that has an extended visor.
- If your ride should catch you out at dusk or dark - reflective tack and clothing is a must. Remember to wear dayglo orange in hunting territory.
- To keep trails open and safe for all riders, be a good equestrian ambassador by sharing the trail and showing courtesy to hikers, bikers and others!
Enjoying a trail ride with your horse will mentally stimulate and emotionally refresh you, and you'll become a more balanced and confident team as you negotiate varied terrain and obstacles.