Trail Rider Safety

Trail riding can take place alone, with a friend, or in a group with one horse, or even two, if you tow (pony) a spare horse with you on suitable terrain. 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.

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.

Although accidents can happen, most are preventable! 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).

One app I use and love to run while trail riding is MotionX GPS. It tracks and backtracks trails reliably, records time, distance, speed and max speed traveled and has many functions I actually use and appreciate. What's really cool is that it lets me share my location and see where my friends are in real-time. Also, I always make sure my "Find my iPhone" app is always turned on in case I ever lose my phone on the trail, which has happened a couple times.

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