Imporove Your Riding Skills - A Few Tips for Better Trail Riding

Date: 9 August 2013

Improve your trail rides with our collection of the best tips.

  • Desensitize your horse to scary situations you may encounter on the trail in a safe environment, such as an arena.
  • Before you even think of hitting the trail, you and your horse should have mastery of basic skills in the arena. You should have whoa and go, steering, and control at all gaits.
  • If your horse isn't used to riding alone, build up his confidence by going out for short jaunts frequently, working up to longer rides as his confidence grows.
  • Horses feel safest in a herd, and some may panic if they feel deserted. It's best to keep all riders in your group together, although experienced horses and riders may be fine venturing off alone.
  • If your horse tries to hurry home, refocus his attention by asking him to ride in serpentines along the trail, or flex to give his shoulder.
  • Approach slippery, slick or rocky trail conditions slowly. Keep yourself centered in the saddle, so you don't throw your horse off balance.
  • Be seen: If you ride out at night, reflective tack and clothing is a must. Wear dayglo orange in hunting territory.
  • If you only trail ride on the weekends, make sure the ride you choose is within your horse's current fitness level.
  • When you set out, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Carry a cell phone on your body, rather than in a saddlebag, in the event that you and your horse part company. Attach an ID tag somewhere on your horse's gear as well.
  • Don't let your horse choose to charge up hills, a change in pace should be decided by you.
  • Reevaluate your horse's saddle fit on trail. A good arena saddle doesn't always make a good trail saddle.
  • If you use protective legwear for your horse, make sure it can withstand the rigors of trail riding. You shouldn't come home with burrs and/or sand in your horse's boots or wraps.

Read more useful tips at: Horse Channel

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