Horseback Trail Riding
Preparing for shorter horseback trail rides and day rides means accounting for water for you and your horse as well as some nourishment along the way.
Water is a must for rider and horse and how you carry water is important. For rider use, water bottles come in plastic or stainless steel with insulated carriers that fit over the saddle horn.
You will also want to have a
collapsible water bucket to bring water to your horse. For a horse that is has been worked, give the horse small amounts of water of eight to ten sips every five minutes until the horse has cooled down and is no longer thirsty. Hay bags and nosebags are a necessity if you intend to feed your horse along the way.
Water sources for your horse will part of your trail ride planning and can be made easier with the use of a GPS with topographical maps loaded. It's generally wise to be prepared when heading into unfamiliar territory, and a GPS can provide protection if conditions turn out to be less than ideal. Bad weather can reduce visibility and wash out trails. Fog, rain, or snow can all be problematic and make trail finding a hit or miss proposition. A GPS can also save you on early-season horseback packing trips where snow might hide an otherwise obvious trail.
Food and Snacks
Preparing for shorter trail rides and day rides means accounting for water for you and your horse as well as some nourishment along the way. Trail snacks are an easy and fast way to carry food for short trips. These may include a trail mix or nutrition bars that can easily be stuffed into jacket pockets or saddle bags.
For longer journeys, dried meals provide a light weight alternative that offers easy preparation and a satisfying hot meal. These meals require boiling water so you will want to plan on having pot to heat the water and a safe way to make a fire.
Suitable rain gear for trail riding can consist of a simple poncho or rain suit that can be folded into a small package and stowed in your saddle bag. If you are packing, don’t forget a tarp for covering your gear. Overnight stays will require a tent or waterproof shelter to stay dry and comfortable.
And speaking of rain, don't forget your phone, GPS and other valubles need to be kept waterproof from rain or an free from dust along the trail. Consider these reusable loksak bags that are guaranteed to keep you gear water and dust free.
Often underestimated is the effects of the sun while on the trail all day even in the winter. The best protection for your face and neck is a wide brimmed western hat plus a 50+ pf sunblock lotion. Consider a western handkerchief tied around your neck to prevent painful sunburn on the back of your neck.
Sunblock or rash guard clothing with pf factor of 50+ is a must. Most blue jeans provide superior protection against the sun, but all shirts don’t offer the same level of protection. Long sleeve shirts with wicking capabilities will provide protection and coolness during those hotter days.
When preparing your horse for overnight camping on the trail, it is important to get your horse used to hobbles or picket lines before you go. The same goes for a horse being used a pack horse for the first time. Your horse will have to feel comfortable with pack load and with ponying behind your trail horse.
Watch these informative trail riding videos for information about hobbling, picketing, packing, and ponying your horses.horse trail riding continued