Trail riding etiquette (part 3): Being courteous

Published 05-13-2010 11:02 AM

This blog was written by Essie Rogers, the Director of Education and Welfare at the Kentucky Horse Council. She is also a certified instructor of the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).

Courtesy is another important part of enjoying the great outdoors on horseback. Many trails are open to multi users and it is important that we communicate with others in a productive manner. When you encounter users on the trail you can make that meeting a positive experience by:

· Talking to them

· Asking them to step off the downhill side of the trail while you pass

· Sharing the number of riders in your group and asking them how many are with them

· Desensitizing your horse at home (see “Is Etiquette Important?” at

You should be courteous to other members in your riding party by:

· Waiting for gate openers/closers

· Waiting for all horses to drink before leaving a watering area

· Moving downstream to allow other horses ample room to drink

· Waiting for riders when they have dismounted or are off for any reason

· Not running up behind or alongside other riders

· Passing on the left

If your horse exhibits behaviors which require special consideration you should tell all the members of the riding party about those issues and place a ribbon of appropriate color both in your horse’s tail and mane. The following are common ribbon color codes:

· Red = Kick

· Green = Novice

· Blue = Stallion

Remember to keep an eye on safety, obey land stewardship rules, be courteous, and wear all the right ribbons to have an enjoyable ride every time.

More information on safe trail riding can be found in the Certified Horsemanship Trail Guide Manual available at

Additional information on trail riding etiquette can be found online at

Page last updated: 7/30/2013 5:03:09 PM