There is no greater feeling than taking your favorite horse out on a little equestrian adventure, and shared trails offer a chance to socialize while allowing your horse to truly feel the freedom of being at one with nature. The increasing public interest in outdoor living has led to crowded trails that may be shared by hikers, cyclists and other equestrians who must all find ways to look out for each other. As you prepare to hit the trail, remember these bits of shared trail etiquette for equestrians to ensure that it is a positive experience for everyone.
Demonstrate Rider Responsibility
After years of horse riding, you feel confident perched on top of your stallion. However, you should always remember that this might be someone else's first encounter with a horse. Give the equestrian community a good name by wearing women's horse riding helmets that give other people on the trail a cue that safety is always a priority on your rides. Then, follow basic safety protocols such as slowing down as you go around blind corners so that you don't take anyone down by surprise.
Bring Your Muck Bucket
Stepping into a pile of dog waste is bad enough. The last thing a friendly hiker needs is to dip a boot in your horse's manure. Be mindful when you are cleaning out your trailer, and head off trail if your horse suddenly shows signs of needing to go. If your horse does make a mess in the parking lot or on a heavily traveled part of the trail, clean it up and dispose of it properly. While some major trailways encourage equestrians to drop their waste in the compost bin, others prefer you to haul it out. Do your research, and prepare accordingly.
Verbalize Your Presence
As an equestrian, you typically have the right-of-way on most shared trails because horses tend to spook when exposed to new people or situations. However, it is always a good rule of thumb to assume that not everyone is aware of this rule. Novice hikers and cyclists may fail to move to the side of the trail and wait. If you feel your horse may spook, keep control of the reigns and shout a warning to the other party. In return, always shout the direction in which you are passing, and be prepared to let curious hikers ask questions about your horse if it is friendly and you are moving slowly.
Getting your horse in a natural environment is a fun way to bond while giving them plenty of exercise. When you decide to venture off the beaten path, make sure that everyone welcomes your horse by sticking to the basics of shared trail etiquette. For assistance with equipment, talk to a professional like EQU Lifestyle Boutique.