Most trail accidents are preventable. Observation of some tried
and true trail manners can make the ride more pleasant and much less dangerous.
1. Be safe and courteous; don't be
the cause of someone else's misfortune.
2. Don't take unsafe or untrained horses on a group ride. These horses should
be conditioned with experienced horses and riders before being subjected to a larger group.
3. Perform a safety check
before you mount.
4. For longer rides, particularly in wooded areas, pack water and a bright colored lightweight
5. Someone in the ride should pack a first aid kit.
6. Always have a "trail boss". Larger groups should
also have a drag rider. These should be experienced horsepersons who can assist less experienced riders and horses, if necessary.
7. Use the "buddy system". Always be willing to lend a hand if needed, and ask for help if you need it.
Horses that kick should be flagged with a red tail ribbon to remind other riders to keep back.
9. Never start until
all riders are mounted up and ready to go.
10. On the trail, never pass the trail boss. This is the cause of many
a rider getting lost.
11. Leave at least one horse length between you and the horse in front; two lengths at a trot.
Ride side-by-side only when the path is sufficiently wide so that horses won't try to nip or bump each other.
If you or your horse is having trouble, allow more space in front and behind. If necessary, ask the trail boss to stop the
group to allow you to work out the problem.
13. Never disturb livestock. Herding someone else's livestock
without permission is known as "worrying" and is illegal.
14. Never leave a dismounted rider on the trail.
Leave gates open or closed as found.
16. Use "gate manners"; don't ride away from the gatekeeper until the gate is
secured and the gatekeeper can join you.
17. At a stream, pond, or water tank, wait until all horses have had a chance
to drink before riding away.
18. Some horses have trouble crossing streams. Give them space!
19. Tell the
rider in front that you wish to pass so that he/she can correctly handle his/her horse as you come up, or advise you if he/she
is having any problems.
20. Don't let your horse scratch on or nuzzle other horses or riders. Aside from being annoying
and starting horse disputes, this is a frequent cause of "hung up" and broken headgear.
21. Never mount your horse
22. Never gallop away from the group. Coordinate "fast" work with the other riders so no one's horse
gets "juiced up".
23. Take any trash home with you.
24. Stay on the designated trail or road. Many areas are
now closed to equestrians because poorly mannered riders have allowed their horses onto fields, into orchards and other areas
"sensitive" to the property owners. RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY!
25. When riding on public roads, be aware of the laws
for your state.
26. When jumping x-country aways be aware of take-off and landing terrian.