Horse trailing is a thrilling activity that almost everyone enjoys. Being on horseback is always fun, whether a half-hour short ride around your farm or a full-fledged equestrian weekend getaway in the woods. And it is supposed to be just that!
However, failing to prepare competently for your trail can severely reduce the fun quotient of your tailing experience by making it uncomfortable or unsafe. While on a trail, it is always important to prioritize the safety and comfort of yourself, your horse and everyone in your riding group.
We have listed down some essential tips to follow while horseback trailing. By practicing the tips mentioned in this blog, you'll get the most out of your riding experience & return home with nothing but happy memories!
It may sound obvious, but you must always wear proper clothing and riding equipment, regardless of your riding style or the duration of the trail. Long pants and proper footwear are a must for horseback riding.
While any close-toed shoes would work fine, wearing low-heeled boots is preferable as they help prevent your feet from slipping through the stirrups. Also, never mount your horse before putting on a helmet; it is imperative, especially if you are new to riding.
Lastly, avoid wearing short clothes, purses or any accessories that can get tangles to part of the tack or bushes and trees along the way.
Your horse can sense it if you are nervous, and this uneasiness will make the entire ride uncomfortable. Therefore, it is essential to start right!
Calm yourself before mounting, and make sure your horse is alright with it. Lift your left foot into the stirrup, hold the reigns swiftly push up with your right leg. While doing so, please do not push your horse with your hands; it could get hurt this way.
Maintaining proper posture and balance along the ride will make the trail comfortable for you and your four-legged companion.
Riders, especially beginners, can get reckless regarding ensuring their horse is physically fit to ride. If not, the entire trail can be unsafe and exhausting for both of you. In the worst scenario, they may even give up when you are miles away from home, making it exceedingly challenging for you to return.
Moreover, overworking your horse when unfit can lead to injuries or permanent ligament/tendon damage. Therefore, ensuring that your equine is well rested and fit to travel before you head on for horse training is crucial. You can go for shorter tracks and practice with farm obstacles.
Choosing the right tack for your horse is as important as wearing proper riding attire. Riding with a tack that is not comfortable for you or your horse can make you uncomfortable on the trail and lead to joint pain and aching muscles in the upcoming days.
Tacks are available in several varieties; you can choose whatever works best for you. Just ensure that it is designed to distribute your weight evenly and allows you to mount comfortably, and you will be good to go!
When heading out for horse trailing, you must know your route's specifics. E.g. how is the terrain, what obstacles can you expect, would you be crossing any rivers, wildfire in the area etc.
Furthermore, you should also check the weather prediction beforehand to prevent uncertain surprises. Avoid travelling if it is expected to rain heavily or prepare well for the weather conditions.
When travelling for a longer time, packing efficiently can make all the difference! Some important items to carry while horse trailing includes extra clothing, camping gear, a first aid kit, sunscreen, a pocket knife, a jacket, etc.
Depending on the duration of your trail, carry along enough food and water for you and your horse. Check whether or not the route has enough resources to water the horses.
While this may seem unnecessarily carrying extra weight, you never know when you'll need extra equipment. Always have extra reins and important tack pieces with you. In case of the tack breaks, you can handle the situation well.
Utilize the space in your saddlebags by storing extra equipment you may require on the expedition. This way, you can save space in your bag for personal belongings.
While riding alone in the woods may sound adventurous and thrilling, it is not safe. Hence, travelling with a fellow horse trailing enthusiast is always advised.
If an emergency arises, like your horse going missing or a wildlife attack, being with a friend can save your life or perhaps you can save theirs.
You can also plan group trails with a bunch of individuals who share your love for trails. However, this can be done only if your horse satisfies the condition mentioned in the next point.
If you plan to head on group trail rides with your friends, it's essential to determine if your horse can behave well in a group.
While most horses love travelling in a herd, some may be uncomfortable with the presence of other horses. This can trigger them to kick others and jeopardize the safety of everyone involved.
Before setting out for horse trailing in nature, take your horse to an arena. This will allow it to get used to being in a group and expel any discomfort your horse may be experiencing.
You should always have your phone with you while you are horse training. If something goes wrong, you can quickly contact them for assistance. When on a group trail, the phone allows you to contact your group's members if you become separated from it.
However, you might not always be in a signal-rich region when trail riding. In those times, sticking with your group and staying on the trail is crucial.
This goes to both hikers and horseback riders; always stay on the trail! Wandering off is never a good idea; you can run into loose rocks, cliff edges, unforeseen wildlife encounters, hazardous landscapes and whatnot.
This can put both you and your horse in danger. In addition, you should also carry a compass with you to find your way back to the group if you get lost.
Remember that your horse is a living creature, not a vehicle that can be controlled at your will. You must consider their feelings and take care of all their requirements.
Ensure that they are well-fed and watered at regular intervals. They can get nervous, tired or even scared along the route. When that happens, try to calm them down, take a halt if required and continue only when they are normal again.
For an optimal riding experience, you need to be in sync with your horse. Try to match up with their rhythm and move your body accordingly.
If you are too tense, you might bounce back and forth and end up with a pain in your back. Let them ride at their pace, controlling whenever necessary, and you will enjoy your trail to the fullest.
You may not be the only one on a trail you choose. It is open to other hikers, bikers and equestrians.
Many may not be aware of your presence, which can cause your horse to get aggressive and start bucking.
Whenever someone is behind you, pull your horse off the trail, take a short break and continue once they have safely crossed the path.
While it is important to keep your and your horse’s safety in mind and trail cautiously, you should not prevent yourself from having fun. Do not hold the reigns too tightly; let go and let your horse take charge as long as you know how to control it when needed.
Relax, enjoy the company of your companion and savour the beautiful natural views and soothing breezes that greet you in your journey.
Horse trailing is an enriching and exhilarating experience- but only when done right!
Next time you head out on horse trailing, follow the tips mentioned above and are bound to have a great time with your four-hooved companion!
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