Trail riding can be one of the most relaxing activities for you and your horse. And most of the time, it is. But that doesn’t mean that we should assume that it will be every time. Horses are still animals, and although everyone claims that they know their own horse very well, it is always a good idea to be prepared out on the trail just in case anything unexpected were to happen. This post will go over several safety tips to take into consideration when heading out for a trail ride.
1. Always keep your cell phone on your person.
Even though cell phones are overused, and it seems like a great idea to leave it at the barn to get some peace and quiet while out on the trail, it’s not such a great idea when it comes to safety. And although placing it in a saddle bag for the duration of the ride seems logical, keeping it on your person is highly recommended in case you and your horse were to be separated. There are phone carriers out there that are geared toward working out, but are fantastic for trail riding. They typically strap onto your upper arm. There are also some geared toward equestrians that strap onto your leg that are perfect also!
2. Tell someone where and when you are going.
Simply letting a friend or acquaintance at the barn know which trails you will be riding and for how long is another safety tip. Then someone will know if you do not come back in a timely manner and can send help. Informing them of where exactly you will be riding will also lead to a lot less wasted time in the searching process. If you’re informing someone who is not an equestrian, make sure to give details on what they should do if this did occur, as not everyone would know what to do in that situation.
3. Bring a trail pack.
Bringing along a few necessities, just in case, can really come in handy. Carrying items such as a hoof pick, first-aid kit for both you and your horse, a halter and lead rope, a pocket knife as well as water for yourself would be very helpful in a situation such as your horse stepping on a rock and getting it stuck in his hoof. Your horse would probably greatly appreciate it, and you’ll be glad you don’t have to make him suffer the rest of the ride.
4. Pay attention to the weather.
Knowing the weather for the time that you will be out on the trail is always a smart thing to do. It’s definitely not safe to ride in thunder and lightning. But even if it is just calling for rain or snow, being prepared for it is never a bad thing. Checking the weather beforehand will also help you figure out what to put in your pack, such as a raincoat.
5. Ride with a buddy.
This is probably one of the most important safety tips. Riding with someone else is essential to getting help very quickly in case of emergency. It’s never a bad idea to bring someone along who will be able to help if a situation were to arise.
6. Attach an ID tag to your horse’s bridle.
This is such a wonderful idea for if you and your horse were to get separated, especially if you were injured and could not follow him. The ID tag should contain his/her name, your name and your contact information, just like a dog tag. Then whoever finds him would know exactly who to call and would be able to either return him or have someone come get him.
There are so many things to take into consideration when going out on the trails. But safety should always be the number one concern. A safe trail ride is the best trail ride.