Courtesy tips on the trail
Published 08-30-2010 10:23 AM | Fernanda Camargo
One of the best past times can be saddling up your horse and going for a quiet ride through the woods or by the river. Before you head out, you should know how to be courteous to others around you. These tips won’t just keep you polite, but they will help you be safe too.
· Single file. Riding abreast can be fun but some horses may feel the need to play with or race each other given enough space.
· Eyes up. Watch for hanging branches and don’t hold or push them—they may snap back and hit other horses or riders behind you.
· Heads-up. Let those behind you know when you’re changing speeds or stopping. It’s also helpful to shout out if you notice a dangerous obstacle along the trail.
· Respect the trail. Stay on the designated path. Don’t let your horse chew plants or trees.
· Check your following distance. It’s like driving a car … that can kick! If you can’t see the hooves of the horse in front of you between your mount’s ears, you’re too close.
· Beware the red ribbon. Some riders may tie a red ribbon or string in their horse’s tail if he is likely to kick. Keep a safe distance.
· Don’t forget the caboose. As herd animals, horses hate to be left behind. If you are riding single file, make sure riders at the front of the group know to wait if someone is lagging.
· Make friends slowly. If introducing horses for the first time before a trail ride, be cautious and keep in mind that some squealing or kicking can come along with “How do you do”.
· For non-riders: If you walk or bike on a trail keep in mind that horses can startle easily and riders appreciate a verbal warning as you approach. Call out to the lead rider and continue quietly, giving them plenty of space on the trail.
· Riders going down a trail should give way to riders heading up a trail.
· If you see a group of riders approaching you and can get off the trail, do so and let the others pass.