If you own a horse, you know riding freely is an excellent way to
enjoy its company and experience the outdoors. And what better way to do
that than to ride horse trails through the woods.
Much like hiking, horseback riding allows you to explore nature at
your own pace but from a much better vantage point. Plus, on a horse you
can cover more land in less time than if you were on foot.
There are countless reasons horse lovers enjoy riding trails.
Whether you are a novice or an expert equestrian, a few helpful tips
when riding will keep you and your horse safe in the great outdoors.
First, make sure your saddle is fitted properly on the horse. This
is important because it affects how both you and the horse respond while
riding. The front of the saddle should sit on the highest point of the
horse’s back (the withers), and the girth should be tight but allow
enough room for about four fingers to fit between the horse and the
Your sitting stance also plays a role in riding safety. Horses can
sense your body movement without you actually doing anything
intentional, just by the way you are seated in the saddle. Sit up
straight and don’t tense up.
Another good safety tip to follow is foot placement in stirrups.
Your foot should not be jammed into the stirrup. Instead, insert just
the ball of your foot into the stirrup and point your toes upward for
balance. This will help avoid being caught if you were to get thrown
from your horse.
Finally, have fun but pay attention to your surroundings. Horses
will go where you guide them and if you are distracted, a horse might go
off the path and wander where they think you want to go based on what
they are sensing. Always keep at least one horse-length behind other
riders in your group.
Most importantly for riding in the wilderness, tell someone not
riding with you where you are going and give a timeline for when you
should return. If your horse were to become spooked and run away, unless
you know your whereabouts, you could become lost.
By practicing horseback riding safety, you will have an enjoyable time becoming one with nature.