Trail Riding Safety

Things to think about as you begin to prepare for your next trail ride. I hope they will help you have a safe and enjoyable trail ride.

1. Be prepared. Know where you are going. Make sure you have good directions or a map. If at all possible, talk with someone who has ridden there before. Finding out how far and through what type of terrain you'll be riding can tell you a lot about which horse to bring and what additional equipment you'll need. A compass can prove very helpful.

2. Make sure you carry adequate food and water for both you and your horse. Even if they are supposed to be provided, pack some anyway. I've seen many 2-day trips turn into 3 days. Bring an extra bale of hay and a box of Milky Ways just in case.

3. First Aid. Carry a good sized, fully-stocked first aid kit in your trailer. For all day outings, another smaller kit in your saddle bags is suggested. Your horse's physical care should also be thought of in advance. Anytime you're traveling, bring colic medicine along. With it, you can stop a little gas from turning into a major problem, miles from a veterinarian. Horseman's Dream, vet wrap, Furox, and a hoof pick are also good to have with you. Always carry a sharp pocket knife for emergencies.

4. Condition yourself and your horse for the ride. Most trail riders will tell you that a 30 mile ride can become miserable if you're not in shape for it. Your equine buddy could find it equally trying if he hasn't been conditioned also. Make sure you know how to identify heat exhaustion, both human and equine, and learn how to treat it.

5. Always ride with a buddy.

6. Booze and horses don't mix. Wait till after the ride to enjoy a "cool one".

Safe Trails are Happy Trails!

Remember: Persistence, Patience and Praise!


copyright © by Jim Antley