One of the best parts of being an equestrian is having the ability to pack up and head out with some good friends and some good horses to spend some time with nature. A trail ride is the perfect way to de-stress, relax, and enjoy some great time in the saddle, but it is very important to ensure that you are fully prepared for the duration of your getaway. Continue reading for tips on how to plan the perfect trail ride so you can spend less time worrying about the little details, and more time having fun.
Consider The Destination
The preparations you will need to make for your trip are completely dependent upon where you are headed. For instance, if you and your group are headed into a mountainous area, it may be a good idea to pack some warmer clothing and footwear that can handle uneven terrain. Keep in mind that the more challenging the terrain, the more energy your horse will be using. Make sure that you compensate by packing an extra amount of feed and water.
Follow A Checklist
Take some time about a week before the trip to write down a checklist of all the supplies you will need, both for yourself and your horse. The excitement as the trip gets closer may cause you to forget things, and you don’t want to wait until you are out on your trail ride to remember that you have forgotten something important. If you need to, take a walk through the barn while you make your checklist.
Double check the list with others that will be going on the ride with you; two heads are always better than one! Make your way down your checklist and ensure that absolutely everything is packed up and ready for the trip. Taking the extra time beforehand to ensure that you are prepared will make a world of difference later. If you find that you may need to make some purchases for the trip, make sure you get it all done well before the trip.
Map Out The Ride
Take the time to map out your ride, ensuring that you will have spots to stop and camp safely and with plenty of space. Depending on how long your ride is going to be, you may need to plan out a considerable amount of places to stop, whether it be to stop for the night, to feed, or even just to allow the horses to take a breather. Make sure that you have permission to be on the land that you plan to be riding on, and make sure that you have permission to camp there as well. If you find that your trail may pass through private property, either reroute the ride or make the necessary arrangements to gain permission to be on the property.
If possible, it is always a good idea to scout out the land that you plan to ride on before you head out with the horses. This will help you prepare for the terrain and give everyone in the group a good idea of what they can expect during the ride.
Small But Important Details
Sometimes, the devil is in the details. This is especially true when planning something like a trail ride. Make sure that everyone will have a method of communication, whether it be cell phones or walkie-talkies. Make sure that there is enough food packed for the riders; often times, we become so wrapped up in preparing things for our horses that we forget to think about ourselves!
In Case Of Emergency
Before heading out on your ride, it would be a good idea to notify local authorities to inform them about your trip. Provide the details of your ride from start to finish, as well as an estimation of when you should return. In the case of emergency, you and your group will be easily located. Make sure that someone at your barn has a way to contact you on the trip and a copy of the mapped-out trip, as well. Make sure that you bring along flashlights with brand new batteries, as well as a fully-stocked emergency first aid kit.
Prepare The Horses
Make sure that all of the horses that will be going on the trail ride are in good physical condition before heading out. It is a good idea to have your vet come out to do an exam on all of the horses to ensure that there will be no complications out on the trail. Make sure that you keep the workload a little lighter than usual leading up to the trip, but do not stop working them completely, as it is important for them to stay in shape for the amount of exercise that they will be doing on the trip. Make sure that you have invested in any protective gear necessary for the horses, from fly spray to protective boots.
Keep The Rules In Mind
In addition to ensuring that you will not be trespassing on any private property, make sure that you are knowledgeable on the rules and regulations of the land that you will be traveling on. Many national parks that allow riders to complete trail rides on the land have a set of rules that riders must abide by, and they often differ from park to park, so it is important to make sure that you and your group are aware of what is expected of you during the trip.
Many parks offer a comprehensive list of their rules and regulations online. This is another example of how important it is to plan ahead; making sure that you and your group are knowledgeable on the rules will help you avoid any confusion in the future, keeping your trail ride worry and stress-free.
Trail rides are an amazing experience, and an excellent way to bond with your horse and good friends. Following the information in this article, you will have no trouble planning the perfect trail ride.