Whether you’re a serious endurance trail rider or an avid show ring competitor looking for a little change of pace, some time out on the trails can be a lot of fun for both you and your horse – as long as you’re adequately prepared.
Dress for the Weather
Dress in layers, and bring along or wear a wind- and water-resistant outer layer in case of weather fluctuations. In the summer, apply sunscreen before heading out and reapply during long rides
No Hoof, No Horse
Hope for the best, and plan for the worst when preparing what to bring on your ride. Bring along a first aid kit including self-adhering bandaging and gauze, wound care treatment, and adhesive tape. Duct tape is always a good idea as well, and it has many practical applications for first aid, equipment repair, and more.
Choose the pommel or cantle bag that best suits you. The Easy Care Deluxe Stowaway Pack is made to fit most Western, English, and Endurance saddles. The main center pouch is very spacious and easy to access without items falling out, and each of the side pouches can hold extra water bottles or horse boots. Whichever bag you choose, make sure it fits enough water that is easily accessible and doesn’t bounce around to bother you or your horse.
Nothing will ruin your ride faster than a swarm of bugs annoying you and your horse. Apply fly spray before leaving the barn, and for horses with skin sensitivities or just to maximize your horse’s protection from biting insects, consider outfitting your horse with a fly sheet and/or mask. Some fly sheets are made for use while riding, and the Cashel Quiet Ride Bug Armor is a great option. You can even carry a fly whisk to keep the most stubborn bugs away.
If you’re just going on a short ride, your regular saddle may be fine, but if you spend a lot of time out on the trails, consider investing in a trail or endurance saddle. Tucker Trail Saddles feature the patented Gel-Cush™ Shock Absorbing seat to give hours of trail comfort. The GEN II Tevis Endurance Saddle features extremely close contact, centered seat and placement of the stirrup leather to put the rider in a correct equitation position for easy posting.
There are many options available for alternative bridles. Those made of synthetic materials are durable, easy to clean, and inexpensive. They often easily convert into halters so that you can tie up your horse without any hassle. The Zilco Deluxe Endurance Bridle is a great option. It offers quick removal of the headstall while leaving the halter piece on your horse.