Equestrian Tips For A Safe Trail Ride
Is there any equestrian who doesn’t like trail rides on a chill October day with friends and favorite four-hooved companion?
Everyone loves riding to a new landscape and enjoying the unique nature on horseback. Trail rides can also help you strengthen the bond with your horse, and fall is, of course, the best season to enjoy a much colorful landscape full of red and yellow hues. However, trail rides can be tricky and dangerous without necessary precautions.
Here are our tips to ensure a safe trail experince for you and your horse:
1. Have a friend with you
There is no need to explain the dangers of horse riding but the risks increase when you are out on a trail far from the nearest barn. When the risks are high, having another horse enthusiast with you on the trail is the sensible thing to do. Ask you barn friends to join you, don't be shy.
2. Make sure your horse behaves around others
Since you shouldn't ride alone, you should make sure your horse is comfortable in a group with other horses. Some horses prefer to go in front of the herd and whereas some other might prefer to stay back and follow. To understand how your horse behaves in a herd, you can try to ride with your friends in the arena where it is safer. Once you are sure that your horse can get on well with the other horses, you can hit the trails together!
3. Know the territory and check weather forecast
When you are heading out on a trail, you should know about the place, be familiar with obstacles, cliffs, rivers, dense forests in the area. Remember set your route according to the territory. Besides, checking the weather beforehand is vital so you can prepare for any possible incident. Afterall, it is fall. The wheather might change suddenly and cause troubles. If there will be a rainstorm, you might want to postpone the ride. If it is going to rain slightly, you can consider taking a raincoat and saddle cover with you.
4. Pack wisely
You never know what you will need on a trail but you also can't carry everything. Depending on the trail length, we recommend making a list of the most important things you should take with you. This list can include a first aid kit, extra leathers - can come in handy when any tack breaks -, jacket or poncho, a lead rope, knife, some grooming kit like a brush or hoof pick, etc. And of course, you should take some water and snacks.
5. Watch the terrain & wind
Be careful with where your horse is stepping. The fallen leaves often cover small rocks, holes, and mud. It can be really tricky to anticipate the footing ahead. If you are unsure on a track, you can choose a safer track or go slowly and cautiously. You should also allow your horse to find the safest steps around on the leaves.
The wind and falling leaves in motion are also another danger factor for some horses. If your horse is extra fresh and spooky in fall, you might choose a trail with less trees and try on a less windy day.
6. Check your tack
Always double check your tack before you start the trail. Make sure that all the pieces are strong enough for a long ride and there is not any loose buckle. A broken tack can cause a catastrophe and ruin your day. Also, we advise checking your tack at each stop. When you stop to take some rest, check the reins, stirrups, and girth before mounting again. Some horses can lose air from their girth as you ride and get rid of their bloating. If the girth looks loose, tighten it before you continue.
7. Wear bright colors
It is well known that you should wear bright colors when you are out on a trail so that drivers and other riders or pedestrians can notice you. But you can also use bright and easy-to-notice colors on your horse's tack!
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