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Trail Riding Tips

General Horse Articles - Trail Riding Tips
Riding out in the open is great fun, but it is important to follow some safety rules before you hit the trail.

Always ride with a friend.

Don’t let your horse put his head down to eat grass. He might step on his reins and break them. Then you’ll have to dismount and lead him home.

If you plan to stop and picnic, bring along a halter and lead rope for your horse so you can tie him up safely. Never tie a horse up with the reins because he might pull back and break them.

Don’t jump any objects unless you’ve checked out both sides of it. There might be a hole on the other side of a log that could make your horse fall.

Try to avoid riding through livestock. Young cows might chase you and scare your horse.

Always walk the last mile to the barn. If you gallop it every time, your horse will get in the habit of this and jog and act silly if you ask him to walk.

Don’t try to gallop away from aggressive dogs. Try your best to stay calm and walk away from them slowly. Don’t make eye contact with a wild or aggressive dog.

Look on both sides of a jump before leaping.

If a gate is tricky to open, dismount and open it carefully. You don’t want to get pulled off your horse while trying to open a gate. Remember to shut gates behind you.

Don’t trample over newly planted crops. Stick to the outside of fields if you want the farmer to stay friendly.

Call your state’s department of wildlife to find out when the hunting season is in your area. Avoid riding in the woods during hunting season.

If your horse spooks at something scary on the trail, don’t let him turn away from it. Make him walk by it slowly and then continue on your way.

If you’re riding on trails where hunters shoot, wear bright colors like red or yellow.

Check the depth of water before walking in.

If you spot a hunter near you in the woods, call out so he knows you are nearby. Keep calling until he looks at you or waves back.

If you spot a creek or pond while riding, don’t just trot into it with your horse. You don’t know how deep it is or what’s on the bottom. Enter a creek with care.

Always carry a hoofpick with you when trail riding in case a rock gets caught in your horse’s hoof. If you’ve got a small cellular phone, keep it in your pocket when trail riding in case of an emergency.

If your horse isn’t shod, try to stay off rocky paths or hard roads so his hooves don’t break up or get sore.

If your whip has a wrist strap, don’t wrap it around your wrist. It could get caught on a branch or fences post and pull you off your horse.

Always wear a helmet when trail  riding—even if you ride western style. Western riders can fall off and hit their heads, too!

If a car is trying to pass you on the road, stay in single file, and wave them by slowly. It’s better to keep walking with your horse. If he stops, he may whip round to face the car and you might end up in a ditch!

Always give drivers who slow down a friendly wave to say "thank you.”



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