For many riders in the United States the summer trail riding season is highly anticipated. From gallops through flower-filled meadows, to trekking across a mountain creek, summer trail rides are a great way to spend time with family, friends, and of course your equine partner. However, as fun as a summer trail ride can be, there are a few precautions that every rider should take.
Summer Trail Rides: What To Do Before You Hit The Trail:
Summer trail rides are something that many equestrians dream about all winter. They are a chance for horses to stretch their legs and clear their heads away from the barn. A summer trail ride is also a chance for a rider to test new skills and become better acquainted with nature from atop their favorite steed. Preparation for both horse and rider is key for an enjoyable time. These two articles will provide numerous tips for Preparing Your Horse for a Day Long Trail Ride and Preparing a Rider for a Day Long Trail Ride
Before you tack-up and head out, here are five other very important precautions that you should take to ensure that your trail ride is safe, fun, and enjoyable for both you and your horse.
- Apply ample amounts of bug spray and fly gear — Bugs, bugs, bugs! Summer trail rides are always accompanied with irritating bugs. To help protect your horse from being bitten, make sure to apply ample amounts of bug spray to your horse’s entire body. Be careful not to accidentally spray his eyes; instead, spray your hands first and then wipe the excess on his ears and face. If your horse will tolerate wearing a fly mask or bonnet, then be sure to put one of these accessories on before you hit the trail.
- Apply sunscreen to your horse’s nose — Did you know that horses can get a sunburn? That’s right, horses with white or pink noses are more likely to get a sunburn. Place a small amount of horse sunscreen on your horse’s nose before you hit the trail to ensure that he doesn’t come back looking like Rudolph. Be sure to apply sunscreen to your arms, face, and hands as well before you climb into the saddle.
- Check the weather — As with anything horse related, safety should come first. Part of your pre-trail ride safety check is tuning into your local weather forecast. Depending on where you live in the country, summer trail rides can be inconveniently interrupted by hail, rain, or thunderstorms. Even if the weather report gives the “all clear,” make sure that you keep an eye on the sky while you ride. If you find yourself on the trail during a hail, rain, or thunderstorm, it is important that you immediately find shelter from the storm.
- Tell someone your intended route and how long you will be gone — Trail riding is incredibly fun for both horses and riders. It is a chance to get out of the ring, away from the barn, and to explore new areas. However, before you take the horses out, make sure that a responsible adult at the barn knows where you are going and how long you will be gone. The reason for this basic precaution is simple: accidents can happen. While you are on a trail your horse could pull a shoe, take a funny step, or you could fall off. If someone knows where you are going and how long you will be gone, then they can respond more quickly if an accident does happen.
- Take a phone with you — As mentioned in tip number four, accidents can happen while you are on a trail ride. The simple precaution of bringing a cell phone on your trail ride can help you respond more effectively to an unforeseen accident. Whether you become dehydrated or lose your way, a cell phone makes it much easier to contact someone from the barn to come help you out.
Summer Trail Riding Awaits
Is your horse chomping at the bit? Are you having a bit of “ring-fever” and ready to escape the confines of the indoor or outdoor arenas? If so, get your tack ready, pull on your boots, put on your helmet, and be sure to take the above five precautions before you head out. Summer trail riding season is almost here, make sure that you are ready to safely enjoy the benefits of a fun trail riding experience with your favorite horse.