15 Secrets To Having The Perfect Trail Riding Experience

A trail ride is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your horse, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t plan ahead. Follow these tips to have the perfect trail riding experience:

HORSE TRAIL RIDING TIPS. Horse trail riding for beginners!
1. Understanding trail etiquette is crucial for a safe and enjoyable ride.
2. Explore the top scenic trail riding destinations in the US for some inspiration.
3. Make sure you have all the necessary gear and supplies for a successful trail ride.
4. Wearing properly fitting boots is essential for both comfort and safety while trail riding.
5. Prioritize safety and be prepared for any situation by following these trail riding safety tips.

No. 1: Pack Some Extra Clothes

The first step to having the perfect trail riding experience is packing some extra clothes. You don’t want to get caught in the rain without an umbrella, so bring one along with you. 

If it’s cold outside, bring a jacket and gloves. If it’s hot out and sunny (like in Arizona), bring sunscreen as well as water for yourself and your horse(s).

The Ultimate Guide to Trail Riding Etiquette: Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting, understanding trail etiquette is essential for a safe and enjoyable ride. Check out our comprehensive guide on trail riding etiquette to learn everything you need to know before hitting the trails.

No. 2: Bring Plenty Of Water

Your horse will need water, and so will you. Make sure you bring enough to last the whole trip.

Bringing a water bucket for your horse is important because it allows them to drink more easily and prevents them from stepping in puddles or mud while they’re doing so. This will keep their hooves cleaner and healthier overall!

If possible, bring along a trough as well–this can be filled up with fresh spring water before heading out on your trail ride so that everyone has easy access throughout the day. 

If there isn’t anything like that nearby then don’t worry too much about it; just make sure everyone has at least one bottle each (or two bottles if one person wants something different than another).

No. 3: Take Your Time

Here’s a secret: the best trail riding experience doesn’t happen in a day. It takes time, and there’s no rush to get from point A to point B.

 If you’re going for an overnight trip or even just an afternoon jaunt, take your time getting there and back again. Don’t worry about what others are doing–they’ll be fine without you!

When it comes to taking breaks on the trail, listen carefully: it’s not just about eating lunch or stopping at every creek crossing (though both of those things are important). You should also make sure that everyone gets some rest in between rides; even if they’re having fun riding their horse around all day long, they’ll probably be happier if they get some down time here and there so they can relax without being tired out by all their hard work!

No. 4: Pack Some Snacks

Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up, reward your horse for good behavior, and feed them if you don’t have time to stop for lunch. 

The best trail snacks are ones that will stay fresh in your saddle bags without getting squished or crushed. For example: apples, carrots and sugar cubes work really well!

The Top 10 Most Scenic Trail Riding Destinations in the US: There’s no shortage of beautiful trail riding destinations across the United States. If you’re looking for picturesque scenery on your next ride, check out our list of the top 10 most scenic trail riding destinations in the US for some inspiration.

No. 5: Bring A First Aid Kit

If you’re going to be in the wilderness, it’s a good idea to bring along some sort of first aid kit. You can make your own or buy one pre-made. In either case, here are some things that should be included:

  • Bandages for cuts and scrapes (and don’t forget about bug bites!)
  • Gauze pads for larger wounds and bleeding
  • Adhesive tape for securing bandages in place

When using any sort of medical equipment on yourself or others, remember that there are certain steps that need to be taken before treating someone else: check their pulse first; if they have one but are unconscious then roll them onto their side so they don’t choke on their vomit or blood; call 911 if possible while you begin treatment yourself!

No. 6: Wear Appropriate Clothing And Footwear

Wear a helmet. There’s no better way to protect yourself than with a good-fitting helmet. It should fit snugly and have the right amount of padding, so it doesn’t move around when you’re riding.

Wear a riding jacket or jacket liner that is waterproof, breathable and windproof (if not all three). The material should be durable enough to withstand getting caught on branches or brush as well as being scraped against rocks when you’re off-roading or climbing steep hillsides.

Wear riding pants made from similar material as your jacket, but they should also have knee pads built into them so that they don’t slide down while trail riding over rough terrain like rocks and roots!

Gloves are essential for keeping both hands warm during cold weather rides – even in summer months if there’s rain forecasted – but also because they offer protection against scratches when reaching out towards branches while going through thickets of trees along trails where visibility isn’t great due to low hanging branches above ground level such as those found in redwood forests!

Clothing or FootwearDescription
A Good-Fitting HelmetProtect your head from injury in case of a fall. Look for trusted brands like Charles Owen or Troxel for a quality helmet.
Long Pants/TightsProtect your legs from irritation and rubbing against the saddle. Go for stretchy leggings or breeches like Ariat or Kerrits for comfort and ease of movement.
Riding Boots or ShoesProvide support and protection for your feet and toes while riding. Choose a pair of boots or shoes that are comfortable, fit well, and meet safety standards. Trusted brands include Ariat and Tredstep.
LayersDress in layers to ensure comfort in any weather conditions. Brands with quality base layers include Under Armour or Smartwool.
Sun ProtectionProtect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays with sunblock and proper clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat, UV-blocking shirt, and UV-protected riding gloves from brands like Heritage or SSG.

Note: The above table provides general guidelines for appropriate clothing and footwear for trail riding. Always research specific trail ride requirements, and consider the weather and location when dressing for a ride.

No. 7: Make Sure Your Horse Is Trail-Ready

Before you hit the trails, make sure your horse is trail-ready. This means checking his shoes and hooves, looking for any injuries or saddle sores, and making sure he doesn’t have obvious signs of lameness. 

If your horse has an issue with a leg or foot that makes riding difficult or painful for him (or you), it’s best to address it before heading out on the trail so that neither of you end up in trouble later on in the ride

19 Must-Have Items For A Successful Trail Riding Trip: When it comes to trail riding, being prepared is key. Make sure you have all the necessary gear and supplies for a successful trip by checking out our list of 19 must-have items for a successful trail riding trip.

No. 8 Make Sure You Have A Buddy For The Ride

It’s a good idea to have a buddy for the ride. If you’re new to trail riding, it can be intimidating to go out alone. 

A buddy can help keep you safe and give you someone to talk with as well as share in the experience with. 

It’s also important that your buddy is someone who understands how important it is for their own safety that they do not fall behind or get separated from the group by more than a few feet (for example: if someone were injured or fell off their horse).

If you don’t already know anyone who rides horses regularly, consider joining an equestrian club near where you live so that there will be other people there who enjoy riding trails as much as yourself!

No. 9 Get To Know Your Trail Before You Ride It

Before heading out on a trail, make sure that you know what kind of terrain and conditions to expect. 

Are there any obstacles? Is it steep? How long will it take to get there and back? If you are planning to go off-trail (a must for most experienced riders), do some research on where the best spots might be. 

Also consider bringing along a GPS device in case something goes wrong or if you get lost during your ride–it’s better than nothing!

The Importance of Properly Fitting Horseback Riding Boots: Wearing ill-fitting boots while horseback riding can not only be uncomfortable, but it could also lead to safety hazards. Learn more about why properly fitting boots are crucial for riders and their horses in our article on the importance of properly fitting horseback riding boots.

No. 10 Know Your Trail Rules, Regulations And Etiquette

Knowing your trail rules, regulations and etiquette is critical to having a great day out on the trails.

First, you should know where you can ride. Most horse trails are open to riders only when they are not being used by hikers or other non-mounted users. 

You should also be aware of any other restrictions that might apply in your area such as whether bikes are allowed or not (this depends on the location).

Second, make sure that you know what to do when encountering other trail users so that everyone enjoys their time safely and comfortably. 

Thirdly, if anything does go wrong with one of your animals during a trail ride – for example if it gets sick or injured – then knowing how best to handle this situation will help keep everyone safe too!

Trail Rules, Regulations, and Etiquette

Stay on designated trailsHelp preserve the natural environment and prevent soil erosion.
Pack it in, pack it outLeave no trace behind and properly dispose of all trash and waste.
Respect wildlife and other trail usersKeep a safe distance from wildlife and be courteous to other riders, hikers, and cyclists.
Follow speed limitsMaintain a safe speed and always follow posted signage.
Secure your horseSecure your horse when not riding to prevent any accidents or mishaps, like Ground Tie horse equipment from Downunder Horsemanship.
Always wear a helmetWearing a helmet is critical for rider safety. Look for trusted brands like Troxel or Charles Owen.
Yield to othersYield to other trail users, like hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.
Carry supplies and toolsBasic trail repair tools and a first aid kit are essential.

Note: This table provides general guidelines for trail rules, regulations, and etiquette. Trail regulations vary depending on location, so it’s important to research specific rules and regulations for the area where you’ll be riding.

No. 11 Plan For All Types Of Weather

Bring rain gear. You may be thinking that you’ll only need to bring a jacket and some gloves or mittens, but you should also plan on being prepared for a rainy day. 

If it rains while you’re riding, it’s best if you have some kind of waterproof outer layer. This will keep your body dryer and warmer than if it were exposed to the elements.

Bring sunscreen and a hat! The sun can be intense out on the trail even at lower elevations where there’s less humidity in the air (like Colorado), so make sure that when planning for your trip that those two items are included in your pack list as well as any other necessary protection from harmful UV rays such as sunglasses or shades with polarized lenses. 

A good rule of thumb: If there’s snow on top of me during wintertime then I’ll probably need sunscreen; otherwise I don’t bother bringing any along unless my friend insists upon applying theirs over mine because hers is better quality than mine 🙂

17 Safety Tips for a Safe and Fun Trail Riding Adventure: Before hitting the trails, it’s important to ensure that both you and your horse are prepared for a safe and enjoyable ride. Check out our article on 17 safety tips for a safe and fun trail riding adventure to learn how to stay safe while on the go.

No. 12 Choose The Right Horse For Your Trail Ride Adventure

When it comes to choosing the right horse, there are a few things to consider:

Your riding ability. If you’re an experienced rider and want to tackle some serious terrain, then choose a horse that can handle it. 

On the other hand, if this is your first time out or even if it’s been awhile since you’ve been riding, choose a more gentle mount who will be able to carry your weight without getting spooked by steep hills or rocky terrain (or worse).

The trail itself. If there are any tricky portions–such as water crossings with strong currents–then make sure both yourself and your steed are ready for whatever may come their way!

No. 13 Consider The Age Of Your Horse When Choosing A Trail Ride Destination

The age of your horse will determine how far you can go on a trail ride. If your horse is young and hasn’t been working hard, then they may have the energy to go further than an older horse who has been working harder and longer.

However, if you are in doubt about whether or not it is safe for your particular horse to do so much walking over uneven terrain or carrying weight (such as yourself), then take them out only when absolutely necessary and plan shorter trips until they’ve built up their strength and stamina.

Horse AgeTrail Ride Destination Recommendation
Less than 5 years oldAvoid steep and challenging terrain. Consider beginner-level trails at a slower pace.
Between 5 and 10 years oldIntermediate trails with moderate terrain changes. Trails with varying levels of difficulty can also be considered.
More than 10 years oldExperienced trails with steep, rocky, or otherwise challenging terrain. Consider destinations with support services from trusted brands, such as Equitrekking and Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies.

Note: The above advice is based on general guidelines and may vary depending on your horse’s breed and individual physical condition. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian and experienced trail ride operators when planning your rides.


So, what are you waiting for? Grab your horse and head out to the trails! Just remember to pack some extra clothes, water and snacks in case of emergencies. And don’t forget your first aid kit–it could save lives!

Further Reading

For more tips and information on horse trail riding, check out the following articles:

Horse Trail Riding Tips: A comprehensive guide on trail riding for beginners, covering everything from the basics of riding to trail etiquette and safety tips.

30 Trail Riding Tips: A collection of tips from experienced trail riders, covering topics like saddle fit, navigation, and dealing with unexpected challenges on the trail.

10 Horse Trail Ride Skills for Summer: A guide to honing your riding skills specifically for summer trail riding, covering topics like cross-country riding and water crossings.


What should I wear for a trail ride?

Comfortable and durable clothing that allows for ease of movement is recommended. Closed-toe shoes or boots with a low heel are also important. Additionally, it’s important to wear a helmet and any other safety gear recommended by the trail ride operator.

How do I choose the appropriate horse for trail riding?

The right horse for you depends on your experience level and the type of trail riding you’ll be doing. Consult with experienced riders and trail ride operators to determine the best horse for your needs.

Do I need to bring my own equipment for trail riding?

This varies depending on the location and trail ride operator. Some places provide all necessary equipment, including helmets, saddles, and tack. Others may require you to bring your own equipment.

How do I prepare my horse for trail riding?

Before hitting the trails, it’s important to ensure that your horse is properly trained and in good physical condition. Familiarize your horse with basic trail obstacles and terrain, and gradually work up to longer and more challenging rides.

What should I do if I encounter a problem on the trail?

If you encounter any issues while on the trail, remain calm and try to assess the situation. Contact the trail ride operator or other riders for help, and follow their instructions. Always prioritize safety and take any necessary precautions to prevent further escalation of the situation.