This article is a checklist of things that one should do to get ready for trail riding. I would put “getting ready” in at least three categories: preparing ourselves, preparing our horses, and preparing our tack and gear.
Ah, the good old days. That was the time when someone said, “I think that horse might buck,” and you said, “I’ll ride him.” Secretly, you hoped he would buck. You had been bored for the last 20 minutes and it was time for some excitement.
If you are a trail rider or a hockey parent you have likely heard someone say, “Wow, does that horse/kid have heart!” But saying it is one thing and understanding it is another. If you have been riding in the hills or the mountains for a few years you may have experienced the difference between an average horse powering its way up a hill and a horse with exceptional “heart.”
When purchasing a new horse, or evaluating your current horse, make yourself a sensible checklist to decide whether or not the horse meets your needs. Be honest with yourself: it is a matter of safety and a matter of an enjoyable future with your trail horse.
For many people riding across a pasture, down a laneway, or along a road is considered to be trail riding. It’s a good thing that we have those options since we cannot instantly wish ourselves onto the wilderness trail of our choice. But interesting trails spoil us
When it comes to personal gear for the trail rider, there is nothing more personal than the saddle. You probably have opinions about what you like to see in a saddle, and if you have been riding for several years, your experience has likely shifted those opinions somewhat.
As each riding season winds down I find myself reflecting on the ups and downs of the past season and make a short list of issues and concerns that need to be addressed. Each season the problem of horseshoes falling off prematurely ranks high on that list. Trail riders regularly describe their frustration with shoes that fall off after several days or even several hours of use. We can put a man on the moon but it seems that we can’t keep shoes on our trail horse’s feet!