Trail Etiquette for Equestrians

Do you and your horse have good manners on the trail? Check out these tips for riders from the Maryland Horse Council.
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Do you and your horse have good manners on the trail? Check out these tips for riders from the Maryland Horse Council.

Do you and your horse have good manners on the trail? Check out these tips for riders from the Maryland Horse Council.

Trail riding

1. Make sure your horse has the temperament and training for riding on congested public trails. Busy multi-use trails are not the proper place for schooling green horses.

2. Advise other trail users of your horse's temperament, e.g. a horse with a tendency to kick should always wear a red ribbon in the tail or a stallion should wear a yellow ribbon. Assume that not everyone will know what these ribbons mean, so be prepared to explain or take the necessary precautions to avoid trouble.

3. Obey posted speed/gait limits, and use common sense in crowded areas (cantering/galloping on crowded trails endangers everyone.)

4. Move to the right to allow faster trail users to pass.

5. Announce your intention to pass other trail users, and reduce speed in order to pass safely. Pass on the left only.

6. Remove your horse from the trail if you begin experiencing behavior problems.

7. Stay on equestrian-approved trails.

8. As a courtesy to others in your group, use appropriate hand signals for turning, slowing, etc., and give verbal warnings for dangers on the trail (e.g. holes, low branches).

9. Remember that other trail users may not be familiar with horses or their reactions to new experiences. Your horse may be another trail user's introduction to horses; what you do is a reflection of the local horse community. Cheerfully answer questions about your horse. You are an ambassador for the entire equestrian community.

10. If you trailer to a location, do not clean out your trailer in the parking area.

11. On multiple-use trails, step off the trail (if possible) if your horse needs to relieve himself, or kick the droppings off the trail.