Riding Safety Tips - Expert advice on horse care and horse riding

Riding Safety Tips

Here are some helpful tips on how to ride safely, including preparing to ride, what to take, and rules on the trail.
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Preparing for the Ride:

- Clean horse's feet with hoof pick
- Check that shoes are tight
- Thoroughly groom your horse, especially areas where tack will touch him
- Be sure saddle pad is clean and pulled forward and up into gullet of saddle to create air space over withers and back
- Be sure saddle fits the horse without pressing on the spine or shoulders and that cinch is smooth, clean and tight
- Check bridle for proper adjustment with no pinching or loose straps and that leather is in good condition
- Have a properly fitting halter on under the bridle
- Have a lead rope around the horse's neck or coiled and fastened to the saddle
- Apply fly spray or wipe on your horse
- Give horses opportunity to drink before starting on trail and allow them to drink on the trail if water is available
- Dress in layers
- Bring or wear a hat and sunscreen to prevent heat exhaustion or sunstroke
- Wearing a safety helmet is an individual and/or parental decision

What to Take:

- Current Coggins/health/brand inspection
. Form of identification
- Pocket knife
- Hoof pick
- Insect repellent
- Fly Spray
. Jacket
- Rain gear
- Water
- Snacks
. Hat
- Sunglasses
- Lip balm
- Sunscreen
- First aid kit for horses and riders
- String or leather for tack repair
- Gloves
- Compass
- Cell Phone in case of emergency

Rules on the Trail:

- Ride a horse that is suitable for your riding skill level
- Remember, even the most gentle horse can or will spook if startled, so be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Tie red ribbon in the tail of a horse that kicks
- Do not bring dogs
- Maintain space between you and the next horse
- Stay with the group or tell someone if you intend to leave
- Stay on designated trail
- Never trespass or ride on someone?s land without permission
- Never leave trash behind
- Never smoke while riding
- On farm land, leave livestock alone
- Leave all gates as you found them (open or shut)
- Don?t let horses injure the environment (Stay on the trail; if you stop and tie horses, spread them out and scatter manure before leaving)
- Observe fire regulations
- Don?t let horses foul the water near a camping spot
- Keep horses away from areas and places where manure will bring flies and be a nuisance
- Be polite and friendly to hikers, bikers, farmers and other people you meet on the trail
- Do not run past others
- If passing another horse on the trail, first ask the rider ahead if you can pass and allow plenty of room when passing
- When making a rest stop, loosen the horse's cinch and lift up back of saddle and pad so air can get to his back and cool it
- If tying your horse, be sure to tie with the halter and lead rope, not the reins; tie the horse at a level even with his back or higher and use a quick release knot

For more information on riding safety tips go to American Quarter Horse Association