If you’re planning to do a lot of trail riding with your pony, you need to know how to keep yourself and your pet safe. You can have a lot of fun but need to be prepared for any situation that could get thrown your way. Go ahead and check out these safety tips for trail riding.
Pack the Right Supplies
Make use of a saddlebag by packing essential supplies that could come in handy while you’re on a trail. While you don’t want to overdo it and fill the bag to the point that it’s too heavy and bursting at the seams, you need to make sure you’re bringing the most important stuff with you, such as:
- Mini First-Aid Kit. You might not expect to get hurt, but you can’t predict what will happen on the trail. Have a first-aid kit handy that contains bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointment, bug spray, and more.
- Food. If you’re planning to spend a few hours on the trails, you might get hungry. Pack a few protein bars and other small food items, along with more than enough water to keep you and your pony hydrated.
- Map. While you may rely on your phone to help you if you get lost, you don’t know if you’ll have service at some point on the trail. Just in case you don’t have service, it’s always good to have a physical map that you can refer to when you need it.
- Bear Spray. Depending on where you’re riding, there’s a chance that you may encounter a bear at some point. Always have bear spray when you’re out in the wilderness for the protection of you and your pony.
These are some great supplies to pack and bring with you while heading on the trails with your pony.
Wear Sunscreen and a Hat
When spending hours in the sun, it’s vital to wear sunscreen. Apply a generous amount to all areas of the body before heading out, paying close attention to any exposed areas that will get the most sunlight while you’re out. Besides wearing sunscreen to avoid sunburn, consider wearing a hat to protect your face and eyes from the sunlight. (This is of course, only if you choose not to wear a protective helmet.)
You don’t want the sun to obstruct your view, making it difficult to see where you and your pony are going on the trail. This is one of those safety tips for trail riding that not everyone pays attention to!
Pay Attention to the Weather Before Heading Out
Watch the news or check the weather forecast before you hit the trails with your pony. It’s not a good idea to head out on the trails when your area is experiencing thunderstorm and flash flood warnings. Even if you don’t think a flood will happen because you’ve never witnessed one, it’s best not to take chances. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in several feet of water with a scared pony not knowing what to do next. Instead, head for the trails when the weather is exceptional to have the best experience.
I will never forget one time when we were at a dude ranch in New Mexico. We were trail riding out across the Gila National Forest and a severe storm popped up right over us. (This was back before smartphones and sophisticated weather apps.) We hunkered down in hail and thunder and lightning. It was borderline terrifying! Always keep an eye on the skies and heed the warnings to seek shelter when severe weather is imminent.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s easy to relax and let you mind wander when you are on a beautiful trail out in the great outdoors. But despite the often slow and relaxed pace, it’s important not to be too relaxed or let your guard down when out on the trail. Even the most “bomb proof” horses sometimes spook. A deer jumping out in front of you, or another critter rustling around in the brush is sometimes all that it takes to give them a scare.
A little prep goes a long way
Safely ride the trails with your pony by bringing some crucial supplies with you and adding them to your saddlebag. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and a hat. Most importantly, get details on the weather before you head off on the trails and avoid riding in poor weather due to the risks it poses. What safety tips for trail riding would you add to this list?