Horse trail riding can be a very enjoyable experience for all involved parties, horses included. If you or your horse have never been trail riding, however, there are some things you need to know before heading out for a trip. By following these helpful tips, you and your horse will be able to fully enjoy the experience of the great outdoors.
The first and most important tip is to make sure that both you and your horse are ready for the trail. This means that your horse must be comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings, as trails are sometimes filled with surprising new smells and creatures. You, as the rider, should also be comfortable with your horse in these surroundings and be able to control the animal. Being able to control your horse in an unfamiliar setting is the first step to a successful trail ride. This will make it more enjoyable for the both of you, since your horse will feel more comfortable and you will not have to worry about being stuck with an uncontrollable horse.
Next, there are some rules of the trail that all riders must adhere to in order to have a successful trip. If you are traveling with a group, be sure to stick together. Horses feel scared when they think they have been left behind, and this could cause some problems for you on the trail. Be sure that all of the members of the group are traveling at the same speed, and do not go too fast if you or your horse is not used to that kind of speed. Stay calm and remain together, and all will be fine.
Another rule of the trail is to make your presence known to other trail users. Try to not startle others, since this can scare your horse and lead to other problems. It is also a courtesy to other users to let them know you are on the trail so the space can be shared. If you are riding in the dark, also be aware that it will be harder for others to see you. Wear reflective clothing or gear that will let others know that you are on the trail. This is as much a safety tip as it is a courtesy to others. Always be sure that you are using safe practices so no one gets hurt on the trails.
Other safety precautions include the use of sunscreen during hot days, and helmets just in case. Although you may know your horse well, there is always the possibility that something will startle your horse and he will kick you off, even if unintentionally. Wearing a helmet while riding will help reduce the risk of physical harm to you if this happens. Also, be sure to check the weather conditions for the day of your trail ride. Rainy or icy conditions can be very dangerous for trail riders. If the trail has rocky slopes or slippery areas, always make sure that you take these slowly. Otherwise, your horse could slip and fall and become injured. Be sure that your horse is ready for this kind of terrain before taking him out on a trail ride. Watching the weather will also help you avoid this possibly dangerous situations.
And finally, maintain a level of responsibility on the trail. As a courtesy to other users, always clean up after your horse and yourself. Make sure not to leave any bottles or food packaging behind. Trash depositories should be located along the trail, but come prepared just in case. Leave the trail just the way you found it and you will be sure to enjoy it for years to come.