Spring is calling us outside to be with our horses as the days quickly grow warmer and longer. The horses have been trying to stay warm and haven’t gotten much exercise since we put them up. Trail riding for pleasure is a great activity that you and your horse can enjoy. Enjoying of the fun of riding a horse on a wilderness trail can stay a pleasurable activity if some simple preparations are taken.
Bringing a horse out of hibernation is process and not a solitary event. Depending on how long a horse has not been ridden could cause there to be a re-learning curve that could take an investment of time for yuo and your horse. Horses like humans forget things and sometimes we need to be reacquainted on the right way of doing something.
Start slow and work towards the goals needed for the horse to do things properly on the trail. Introducing the horse to other horses in a controlled situation will help make the horse less of a problem when encountering other horses he is not familiar with.
Also it is important to get the horse back into shape for the rigors of trail riding. Also it helps to refresh the riders body and muscle memory. Riding is a skill that can perish if not practiced. Also it is important to check out your tack for problems and fit.
There are several tasks that would be good to practice and master before getting a horse on a trail with other horses and potential uncontrollable situations.
1. Know the rules of the trail. Be courteous to mounted horses and walking humans alike.
2. Have a plan to get off the trail safely. Will the horse that you ride easily go off the trail?
3. Can you control your horse and do you have an escape plan if your horse becomes too spooked by something on the trail?
4. Are you prepared to declare your horse’s or your level of skill is not enough if the trail becomes above your skill level?
5. Have you practiced or are you knowledgeable of first aid for both humans and horse?
6. Is your horse vaccinated and tested for diseases associated with horses in your area?
Luck always favors the prepared. Trail riding is one of the great all time activities and by being safe and prepared you and your horse will take maximum enjoyment to the open trail.
Good luck and good horsemanship!