19 Must-Have Items For A Successful Trail Riding Trip

The key to a successful trail riding trip is preparation. The more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be caught off guard, and the more likely you’ll have fun and come home with amazing stories. Take these 19 must-have items for your next trip into consideration:

What to Bring on a Trail Ride
Key Takeaways
1. Packing essential equipment for horse and rider is crucial for a successful and safe trail riding trip.
2. Properly fitting gear, including helmets, boots, and saddles, can make all the difference in a rider’s comfort and safety.
3. It’s important to pack first aid supplies, water, and identification, and bring a trail companion for added safety.
4. Gradually preparing your horse for trail riding with lunging, ground work, and obstacle courses can ensure obedience and control.
5. Always take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and enjoyable trail riding experience.


The most important item in your travel kit is your horse. You will need to make sure that your horse is healthy, strong and well trained before loading up for a long trip. Your horse should also be groomed and have all of its equipment in good working order so that you can enjoy an enjoyable ride together!

The next thing on our list is food and water for your pet:

Having the essential horseback riding equipment can make all the difference in your horseback riding experience. From helmets to stirrups and more, check out our guide on 15 Essential Horseback Riding Equipment Pieces You Need Now to ensure you have all the necessary gear for a successful trail ride

Saddle & Tack

When you’re packing for a trail riding trip, it’s important to make sure that your horse has everything it needs. You’ll want to bring along a saddle that fits your horse and a saddle pad that fits your saddle. 

If you have multiple horses, consider getting saddles with interchangeable gullet plates so they can share the same pads and blankets.

Saddle bags are also essential for carrying all of your supplies while on the trail: extra rope, first aid kit, water bottle(s), snacks and more! 

There are many different styles of saddlebags available on Amazon–I recommend checking out this article from Horse Journal before purchasing any new equipment for yourself or your animal friend(s).

Riding Helmet

When trail riding, it’s important to wear a helmet that is well fitted and comfortable. Your helmet should be made of lightweight material so that you don’t feel like you’re wearing an anchor on your head. 

It should also be able to absorb energy in case of a fall, protecting the head from injury by absorbing some of the impact force. 

A good riding helmet will have adjustable straps so that it fits snugly but comfortably around your head without pinching or squeezing too tightly against your face or neck (or even worse–slipping off!).

Properly fitting horseback riding boots are critical for both rider safety and horse welfare. If you’re unsure about the importance of proper boots and how to select the right pair, check out our guide on The Importance of Properly Fitting Horseback Riding Boots to avoid discomfort and injuries during trail riding.

Map & GPS

The map and GPS are your most important tools. They can be used together to help you find your way back, or they can be used separately to get where you want to go.

Once you have the maps loaded onto your device, simply follow these steps:

  • Start off by determining which way is north by using a compass or by looking at the sun’s position in relation to trees or other landmarks in the area (if there aren’t any trees).
MapProvides a visual reference of the trail and surrounding areaTopographical Map
GPS DeviceNavigates the trail and provides real-time location informationGarmin GPS

This table provides a list of recommended maps and GPS devices for trail riding. A topographical map provides a visual reference of the trail and surrounding area and is essential when exploring unfamiliar territory. To obtain one, research the trail beforehand, or search for downloadable natural resources maps covering the area.

A GPS device like the Garmin GPS is a necessary tool to navigate the trail and provides real-time location information, especially on longer rides. This device enables riders to navigate their way through tricky terrain and keep track of the distance travelled. It’s also useful in an emergency as rescuers can locate the exact spot where you are.

Water Source

Water container (preferably one that won’t break)

Purification method for your water source (e.g., iodine tablets)

Cooler, if you’re bringing a large quantity of water or if it’s going to be hot out. This can be as simple as an insulated bag with ice packs inside or a more sophisticated version like a Yeti cooler, which comes with its own built-in purifier and will keep your food/drinks cool for days without needing to be restocked on ice!

Some way to carry all of this stuff around with you as you ride!

A comfortable saddle is essential for both rider and horse during a trail ride. If you’re unsure about which saddle to choose, check out our comprehensive guide on The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Saddle for Your Horse for expert tips and advice

Proper Clothing

Wear layers.

Wear a hat.

Wear gloves or mittens, depending on the temperature and your personal preference.

Boots are best for trail riding because they’re sturdy, but if you don’t have any, sneakers or even tennis shoes can work in a pinch–just make sure they’re waterproof and have good traction for walking on slippery surfaces (like mud). 

If you do choose to wear sneakers or tennis shoes instead of boots, be sure to pack extra socks so that when one gets wet from walking through puddles or streams (or worse), it doesn’t ruin the rest of your day!

Also remember that changing weather conditions mean different clothing needs throughout the day: 

You might start out warm enough with just jeans and a T-shirt under a rain jacket; however by noon those same jeans will feel uncomfortably hot from direct sunlight exposure while standing still on top of an exposed ridge line where there’s no shade anywhere nearby…so maybe add some thermals underneath those thermals before heading back out into the heat again later on during lunch break?

First Aid Kit & Emergency Food

First, let’s talk about what should be in a first aid kit. You’ll want to include bandages of various sizes, a roll of gauze or cotton balls, some antiseptic wipes or alcohol pads (to clean wounds), tweezers for removing splinters or ticks (a good idea if you’re going into the woods), butterfly bandages (for small cuts), aspirin or ibuprofen tablets and/or pain reliever gel caps if you have sensitive stomachs like me!

 I also recommend having some sort of ointment like Neosporin as well as lots of cotton swabs so that you can apply it directly onto wounds before covering them up with gauze pads if necessary.

Exploring scenic trail riding destinations can be a breathtaking adventure for both riders and horses. Check out our guide on The Top 10 Most Scenic Trail Riding Destinations in the US for ideas on where to ride for an unforgettable experience in nature.

Stable Sheet or Rain Sheet

A stable sheet is a must for trail riding. It’s important to have a stable sheet that fits well and stays in place, which means you could use one of your regular blankets or sheets, but if you want something specifically designed for horses and horseback riding then look no further than our selection of stable sheets here at Equestrian Outfitters.

A good stable sheet should be made out of durable material such as cotton or polyester so it will last longer than other types of blankets/sheets. 

A good fit is also important: make sure there are no gaps between the saddle pad and your horse’s back where dirt can get stuck! When caring for your new stable sheet, keep in mind that these materials won’t hold up against machine washing–they need to be hand washed instead!

Stable sheetProvides warmth and protection while in the stable or trailerWeatherbeeta
Rain sheetProtects from rain while in the pasture or on the trailSmartPak Ultimate

This table provides a list of recommended stable and rain sheets for horses during trail riding trips. A stable sheet, such as the one from Weatherbeeta, provides warmth and protection while in the stable or trailer. It’s important to have a stable sheet that fits well and stays in place to ensure maximum comfort for the horse.

A rain sheet, like the SmartPak Ultimate rain sheet, is essential to protect the horse from rain while in the pasture or on the trail. The rain sheet should be breathable and waterproof to keep the horse dry and comfortable during wet weather.

Camera & Zip Bag

You should take a camera with you on every trail ride, no matter how short or long it is. You never know when you might see something that catches your eye and makes for an incredible photo opportunity. 

You’ll also want to bring along some zip bags in case of rain–this way, if there are any electronics in the waterproof bag (like a phone), they will stay dry until they can be safely removed from said bag.

Boots & Bells

When it comes to trail riding, boots are made of leather or synthetic material. Bells are used to warn other trail riders that you are approaching. 

Boots should be tall and have a good grip on the bottom so they don’t slip out from under you when you’re trying to keep your footing on hills or rocks. They should also be waterproof and have a good tread so they don’t get stuck in mud or snowdrifts as easily.

Understanding judging criteria is important for trail riding events, whether it’s for endurance, pace, or other factors. Check out our guide on The Importance of Understanding Judging Criteria at Horse Shows to equip yourself with knowledge that can improve your decision-making process when it comes to selecting appropriate trails and riding styles.

Grooming Supplies

Brush and comb: A good brush will help remove dead hair, dirt, and other debris from your horse’s coat. Combs are also useful for detangling manes and tails.

Hoof pick: If you plan on riding on rocky trails or in rocky terrain, it’s important to make sure that your horse’s feet are in good shape before heading out on your trip. 

A hoof pick makes this job much easier by helping remove rocks lodged in their hooves that could cause injury if they were stepped on while riding through rough terrain (or simply make walking difficult).

Extra grooming supplies: If you’re going on an extended trail ride–especially one where you’ll be camping along the way–it may be wise to bring along some extra grooming supplies like brushes/combs or even nail clippers so that nothing gets too outgrown while away from home!

Recommended Grooming Supplies

BrushRemoves debris and distributes natural oilsOster Equine Care Series
Mane and Tail CombDetangles and separates hairWeaver Leather Livestock
Curry CombLoosens dirt and dead skin from horse’s coatTough-1

This table provides a list of recommended grooming supplies for horses, essential for maintaining a neat appearance and good hygiene. A good brush, such as the Oster Equine Care Series, can help remove dirt and debris from the horse’s coat as well as distribute natural oils for a healthy shine.

A mane and tail comb, like the Weaver Leather Livestock comb, is also useful for detangling hair and keeping it manageable. A curry comb helps loosen dirt and dead skin from the horse’s coat, making it easier to remove with a brush, and a Tough-1 curry comb is a great option for this purpose.

Hay Bags & Feed Chute

Hay bags are convenient for trail riders because they keep hay off the ground, which helps to prevent it from getting wet. They also make it easy to feed your horse while you’re on the move.

Feed chutes are attached to both saddles and bridles, so you can give your horse a snack without taking him off his feet or distracting him from his work. 

Most feed chutes are attached directly to the saddle horn; however, some people prefer using a separate piece of equipment called an “ear bag,” which hangs down from one side of their headstall (or bridle).

Thermometer & Extra Medications or Herbal Products (cough syrup, electrolytes, stomach soothers)


If you’re planning to ride in hot weather, a thermometer is an absolute must. It’s easy to get dehydrated on a trail ride and not even realize it. 

If your horse starts acting sluggish or her gait changes, check her temperature with a digital thermometer. If she’s overheated and needs some time out of the sun (or at least off the trail), this will help determine when it’s safe for her to go back riding again.

Electrolytes & Stomach Soothers

Electrolyte powder supplements can come in handy if your horse starts showing signs of fatigue during or after exercise–they’ll help replenish what he loses through sweating! 

Also keep some stomach soothers handy in case he eats something toxic while grazing on grasses off-trail; they’ll help settle his stomach down quickly so there’s no lasting damage done by ingesting poisonous plants/trees!

Recommended Equine Medications and Supplements

ThermometerMonitor horse’s temperatureN/A
ElectrolytesReplenish lost nutrients during exerciseApple-A-Day
Cough syrupRelieve coughs caused by respiratory problemsRespi-Free
Stomach soothersAlleviate digestive issues and stressSucceed Digestive

This table provides a list of recommended medications and supplements for horses during trail riding trips. A thermometer is a must-have tool to monitor a horse’s temperature, especially when travelling. Electrolytes, such as Apple-A-Day, can help replenish the body’s lost nutrients during exercise.

Respi-Free is an herbal cough syrup that helps relieve coughs caused by respiratory problems. Stomach soothers, such as the popular Succeed Digestive, can alleviate digestive issues and stress caused by travelling and changes in diet.

Other Necessary Items (hoof pick, flashlight, multi-tool, etc.)

One of the most important things you can do for your horse is keep their hooves maintained. A good set of tools is essential to this task, as well as being able to see in the dark!


We hope this list has helped you get started on your next trail ride. We know that it can be overwhelming to plan and pack for a trip, but don’t worry! With these 19 items in mind, we’re sure that you will be ready for anything.

Further Reading

Here are some additional articles you may find helpful:

Essential Packing List for Equine Adventure: This article provides valuable insight on what to pack and how to pack for an equine adventure trip, from packing tips to gear essentials.

10 Essentials to Pack for a Trail Ride: This article suggests the top 10 essentials you need to pack for a safe and comfortable trail ride. From first aid and hydration to horse-related gear essentials.

10 Essentials to Pack When Taking Your Horse Trail Riding: Here is an article that highlights the 10 essential items you should pack when taking your horse trail riding, including horse and rider gear as well as important first aid supplies.


What equipment do you need for trail riding?

Essential equipment for trail riding includes a proper fitting helmet, sturdy riding boots, and comfortable riding clothes. For the horse, saddles, girths, bridles, reins, and stirrups, and saddle pads are essential gear.

What should you bring on a trail ride?

It’s always important to carry water, snacks, a first aid kit, a map or GPS, and identification. Sunscreen, lip balm, and a hat are also important to protect the rider from the sun’s rays. Insect repellent is another useful item to have on hand.

How do you prepare your horse for trail riding?

To prepare your horse for trail riding, start with lunging and ground work to ensure obedience and control. Gradually work up to riding on trails and introducing different obstacles, including water, logs, and ditches.

How do you ensure your safety during trail riding?

To ensure your safety during trail riding, always wear a helmet and appropriate footwear, have a trail companion, stay on marked trails, bring necessary supplies, avoid riding beyond your skill level, and be aware of your surroundings.

How do you choose a trail for your horse?

When choosing a trail for your horse, consider the terrain, distance, weather, level of difficulty, and your horse’s ability and fitness level. Start with easier trails and work your way up to more challenging ones. Always check if a trail is open and safe before you go.