Responsible Trail Riding for Horse and Rider

If you’re spending time with your horse on the trail, it’s important to do so responsibly. Below are many ways in which you can be sure that you ride responsibly.

Travel responsibly

  • Stay on designated roads, trails and other areas open to horses.
  • Ride single file to reduce trail damage. Spread out in open country where there are no trails. Spreading out, rather than following each other’s footsteps, disperses impact and avoids creating a new trail.
  • Comply with all signs

Trail Riding Etiquette for Horse and Rider


Trail Etiquette Reminders

Here are some trail etiquette reminders:

  • Need to bring negative Coggins/health papers if traveling out of state, in state, negative Coggins needed only
  • Wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet
  • Check cinch/girth before mounting/during ride
  • Keep kickers in back; identify them
  • Riders should not pass at a different speed than gait you are traveling at
  • Let others know when passing and what side you will pass on; choose a clearing
  • Keep at least a horse length back
  • If passing

Benefits of Trail Riding for the Horse and Rider

Trail riding is a very popular equestrian activity, with millions participating every year.  According to the American Horse Council, “the recreational horse industry contributes nearly $32 billion a year to the economy and supports the employment of over 435,000 Americans nationwide and involves 4 million horses.” 

The benefits of trail riding for the rider include:

  • Ability to enjoy the horse without the stress of competition
  • Quality family time
  • Ability to socialize with other horse lovers
  • Opportunity to observe

First Aid on the Trail for Horse and Rider

Prior to setting out on the trail you or someone in the group should have first aid knowledge. A first aid kit for the rider and horse is a good idea when trail riding. Remember to keep a cell phone or other emergency signaling device on your person, not on the horse, in case you are separated. Either bring a lead rope and have the horse wear a halter underneath its bridle or use a bridle in which the bit …