Riding a beautiful animal like a horse is extremely rewarding. Taking them out on a trail can be priceless. But precautions must be taken to ensure both the safety of the horse and the rider when riding on an open trail. There are many unknowns on a trail such as other people and animals so it is essential to be prepared.
- Friend(s). The No. 1 most important thing you can have with you is at least one other rider. Riding with friends is not only more fun but also safer. In case of emergency, and they do happen, there must be someone who can go for help. A woman not far from us had to be helicoptered out of a trail and to a hospital because she fell off the horse and hurt her back. If she were alone who knows what would have happened.
- Helmet. A helmet is essential for protection. It may just save you from being carried or helicoptered out from a fall. For an excellent selection of helmets go HERE (Amazon)
- Navigation. It’s a good idea to take a map of the area you’ll be riding, even if you know the trail. A GPS app on your cell phone is a great tool, but it’s useless if your battery goes dead.
- Water. You can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. In addition to bringing extra water, I carry a small water purifier in case I need to refill my water bottles from a stream.
- Clothing. Always bring one more layer than you think you’ll need. A poncho is a good idea in case the weather turns bad. A long sleeve shirt is also a good idea in case it gets cool. A lightweight vest can also be a great idea for protection and to help hold essentials. For a great selection of vests look HERE
- First aid. You’ll need two first-aid kits–one for you and one for your horse.
- Tools. A good knife can be useful for fire-building, first aid, and food preparation.
- Food. Bring food. Trail mix, energy bars, nuts, or dried fruit to name a few.
- Light. If the sun goes down, you’ll want a flashlight or a hands-free headlamp.
- Fire. Waterproof matches or a fire starter are always a good idea in case you need to stay out a night. They are small and lightweight so they shouldn’t be too hard to carry.
- Phone Pack. An easily accessible phone pack is great for keeping your phone handy but not “in the way”.
State Line Tack offers some very good accessories to you be comfortable as you ride.
Read our review for Best Saddle for Trail Riding in 2020!
Finally, always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be returning, then stick with your plan. That way if something goes wrong, they’ll know where to start looking for you. When going on a new trail try and bring someone who knows the trail. They can help give you the lay of the land the first time.
When you are walking on the trail and happen upon other people or animals you can always STOP and wait to make sure everyone passes by safely. A nice smile doesn’t hurt either. I think we need more of that these days.
These are just some ideas of trail riding with safety in mind. In time you’ll make your own checklist of must have items and safety measures. Be prepared and enjoy the ride!