This website is dedicated to ALL trail horse riders, whether just starting the journey with their first horse or already reaping the rewards of years of riding. It highlights first hand riding experiences and personal views about responsible horsemanship with practical tips that revolve around horse care, barn safety and navigating the trails. We also rate various trails in the New England Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and Northwestern Connecticut and provide links to local horse boarding facilities that may be a perfect match for you and your horse.
Trail horse riding can take place alone, with a friend, or in a group with one horse, or even two, if you tow, or pony a spare on marked public trails in a forest, meadow, or quiet side road. Always remember to wear appropriate clothing and gear, such as a helmet, jacket, gloves and footwear that is sturdy enough to support your foot and ankle and resists water and dirt. To be seen, esp. during hunting season, you can wear a bright orange, or yellow safety vest and for the unexpected and unforeseen you should always carry a fully charged mobile phone, compass, flashlight and trail maps when embarking on an extended ride through unfamiliar territory. On the trails, stick to proper riding techniques and trail etiquette to make the experience safe and pleasant. In Equus Horse Magazine the world’s top veterinarians, equine researchers, riders and trainers advise you on how to understand and work with your horse. The wisdom in these pages could help you solve some of your toughest riding problems.
Although accidents can happen, most are preventable! On the trails is important that horses are healthy and fit and riders are prepared to expect the unexpected! Horseback riders are responsible for assessing their own abilities and their horse’s capabilities to determine which trails fit their experience level. Know which saddle and bridle to use and which gear or special items to bring along for the ride. Everyone should know how to react appropriately under any given circumstances. An experienced team can make it look easy, but it takes a special horse and rider relationship to accomplish this. Bring a water bucket, water, hoof pick and brush, fly mask, extra halter and girth (in case a buckle breaks), sun screen, horse and human bug repellent and basic first aid items, at last a few gauze pads and rolls of vet wrap and duct tape, a trail map, emergency telephone numbers and a GPS navigation app on your Smart Phone (there are some great mobile apps for GPS tracking). Some very skilled riders even pony or tow along a spare horse.