Trail riding is one of the greatest activities you can enjoy with your horse – being out in nature with your best buddy, the smells and sights, and the thrill of being astride a beautiful animal. However, trail riding can be very dangerous if you don’t properly prepare before you set out for the trail. Careful planning in advance of your trail ride is paramount to a safe, enjoyable ride for you, other trail users, and the land.
#1: Never go trail riding alone – instead take a friend who has a horse that gets along with yours. Also, always let someone know where you plan to ride and approximately when you expect to return.
#2 Always Wear a Helmet – this is a non-negotiable. Horseback riding is a dangerous sport, especially trail riding where you are often exposed to unplanned objects, people, bikes, etc. The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) sets standards for many types of safety equipment and has created criteria for horseback riding helmets to adhere to. Make sure you helmet is ASTM approved.
#3 Carry a cell phone - on your body, not on your horse! Woofhoof’s magnetic cell phone case straps around your lower leg firmly and has a magnetic closure so that you can access your phone quickly when you need it. Check them out at www.woofhoof.com
#4 Insect Repellent: Use insect repellent on both you and your horse to keep pesky biting bugs away.
#5 Fitness Level: make sure you horse is fit enough for the trail you have chosen. Horses need to build their strength and endurance gradually, just like humans.
#6: Don’t forget water and snacks for you and your horse. Woofhoof’s treat pouch is the perfect accessory for keeping your horse’s treats dry and handy. It has a magnetic closure for easy access, a secure clip, and a low-profile design. Check them out at www.woofhoof.com
#7: Carry a first aid kit for you and your horse. You can’t ever predict what you will encounter on the trail and being prepared is your best insurance.
#8: Do not litter on the trail – if you bring it in, bring it out. Also, if you have room, pick up what others have carelessly left behind.
#9: Respect private property. Permission to access private land should be obtained prior to the ride. Carefully ride single file around the edge of any crops or stay on the path. Leave gates as you find them, open or closed.
#10: Be friendly toward other trail users. Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming and pass slowly and safely. When out in the public, you are representing all equestrian.