Updated: Apr 13, 2020
When on a group trail ride there are a general set of polite rules that should be adhered to for the safety of the entire group. Thoughtless behavior from just one of the riders in a group, such as suddenly galloping down the trail, can cause havoc among the rest of the riders and their mounts. Below are some simple tips to follow while on a group trail ride which will help ensure the safety of the entire group.
Make Sure Everyone Has Clear Expectations
It is important that each rider in the group understands what lies on the trail ahead. Before the trail ride every person should know approximately how long the ride is and the difficulty of the terrain. By having every rider fully prepared it is less likely that any issues will occur during the trail ride, such as an inexperienced horse or rider unable to navigate tough terrain.
Do Not Ride Above the Level of the Least Experienced Horse/ Rider
Safety while riding is the number one priority. With that in mind, do not ride above the level of the least experienced horse or rider in the group. Be sure to communicate upcoming hazards and obstacles. Be patient with an inexperienced horse or rider if they get stuck on an obstacle, such as a creek crossing, and do not leave them behind as it may result in injury to both.
Ask Before Trotting Or Cantering
Speeding up can be fun for everyone involved but be sure to ask before proceeding. Being herd animals, horses can get wound up if one of their own starts to speed up and they may panic if they feel like they are being left behind. It is important to be sure everyone is comfortable and has control of their horse to prevent over-excitement or a possible accident.
If your horse like to lead, occasionally move him to the middle or the back of the pack and encourage the same of your fellow riders. By doing this, it teaches each horse to become comfortable in any position of the group which makes for quieter, more relaxed trails rides.
Teach Your Horse Manners
When riding in a group it is especially important to have a well-mannered horse. If your horse is aggressive, defensive of their backside or reactive to basic trail obstacles it may be time to find a trainer who can help you resolve these issues. If you have a trail riding buddy who seems to be having a tough time with their horse, encourage them to find a trainer as well. A well-mannered horse makes for a safe riding buddy.
These straightforward tips will help ensure safe trail rides between you and your trail riding buddies! Always remember, consideration for your fellow riding buddies is key and clear communication between the entire group will make for the safest trail ride. Now get out there and see the world!