~First Aid Kit~
Anytime you are out on the trail, you should carry with you a safety pouch or bag of some kind. You should always carry a cell phone ON YOU, not on the horse. Items in your saddle bag should be, lead rope, flashlight, pocket knife, hoof pick, band aids, antibiotic cream, vet wrap, insect repellent for you and your horse, tylenol, light snack and emergency cash to state a few. Make sure you saddle bag is balanced and comfortable for your horse.
PREPARING YOUR HORSE FOR YOUR RIDE:
~Ground & pre ride work~
Always make sure you have properly prepared your horse for your ride. Begin with basic ground work, gaining respect, trust and control prior to hitting the trail. Get your horse light, responsive at all gates and light to your one rein stop in case of an emergency. Listen to your gut, it is your best indictor. If you don't feel something is right, don't go until you are confident. Start slow and don't rely on other people or horses to keep you & your horse safe.
Be sure to pick out all four feet and look for any issues that could be a problem on the trail. You don't want to have your horse go lame or sore 10 miles from home. During your pre-ride check make sure your horse is traveling well and is not lame or sore during movement as well.
Be sure to check over your tack and make sure there are no compromising parts, buckles that are weak or rips anywhere. It is always a good idea to keep your tack in tip top shape year around. This not only prevents drying out leather, breakage etc., but clean well kept saddle pads, halters, girths etc. are essential to your horse being happy and comfortable too. Also double check that all your tack is fitted properly. Saddle pads, saddle, cinch, breast collar and bridle.
KNOW YOUR RIDING PARTNERS
Before riding, make sure you know who you are riding with and that they have the same basic safety guidelines you do. Horses are not snowmobiles. Other horses and impolite riders can fuel even the best of horses. They can also put you in danger. Make sure you or your human buddies know the trail well. A GPS is always a great tool if you have one with you.
COMMENTS FROM OTHER CURLY OWNERS
If you have a tip you would like to share, please email and I will add it with your name and ranch URL.
NEVER USE a TIE DOWN on the Trial! When you stop at a River, or Lake with your horse for a drink or to cross they can slip & Drown. Susan Hathaway, Oregon
Final thoughts from
the April 2007 Horse & Rider magazine
DO IT RIGHT - tips for becoming a savvy trail rider
To become more like the scout-savvy rider, follow these tips:
Be aware of the terrain to be traversed on the ride, and prepare for it in advance if need be to boost yours and your horse's confidence. (Will there be water crossings? If so, practice ahead of time)
Establish solid whoa, go, turn, and 'wait" controls on your horse before you go out on the trail. Don't expect to school your horses in the midst of a group of horses, in a new environment.
- Condition your horse for the amount and type of riding you'll be asking of him. if the longest you've ridden at one time is 2 hours, don't expect him to go all day without build up to it gradually.
- Check that his feet/shoes are in good shape. Schedule an appointment with your farrier before the ride if need be.
- Safety-check your equipment, and make sure you'll have everything you will need for the type of trip you are taking. For overnite stays, especially, work from a detailed 'don't forget" list, cross-referencing your list with those of more experienced riding buddies if need be.
- Check the weather and the condition of the trail in question to verify that your chosen date is a good time to go.
- Plan your own apparel according to the weather and other needs of the trip. ie good shoes, sunscreen.
- Plan ahead to provide water for yourself and your horse.
- Check that your hauling rig is in safe, well-maintained condition and capable of making it to and from the trail head. Fill up your gas tanks.
- Make sure you know the others you'll be riding with and trust their horsemanship and common sense.
- On the trail, keep your horse at least a horse's length away from the horse in front of you, and encourage the rider in back of you to do the same.
- If you horse has any propensity to kick at other horses, signal this with a red ribbon in his tail so others know to stay back.
- Remember always that trail riding with others requires all the courtesies appropriate for any group endeavor. Be considerate, unselfish, and willing to be part of a democratic process in decision making.