Trail Etiquette

Rules, regulations, etiquette, etc…

No matter what it is that you’re doing, there are rules, regulations and/or etiquette that you have to or should follow and are meant to keep you safe. Trail riding is no exception and trail etiquette is really a combination of common sense and courtesy. I’m sure that most of you follow these rules of the trail, but you may know someone new to trail riding that may need a reminder. And if I’ve left any out, please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Here are some trail rules/etiquette that every trail rider should keep in mind:

1. Never gallop away from a group of riders as it can upset the other horses. If you need to move away from your group quickly, let the other riders know and begin by trotting away, then gallop. Everyone will appreciate your courtesy.

2. Even if you are riding on a well-known trail, do not gallop around a blind corner. You never know what’s going to be on the other side and your horse could get easily spooked or hurt.

Personal Space:
3. If you know that your horse kicks, tie a red ribbon prominently in his tail to warn others to keep their distance from your horse and keep everyone safe.

4. Give the horse in front of you a little space. If you aren’t able to ride side by side (perhaps you’re on a narrow trail), keep at least two horse lengths distance between you and the lead horse. If the lead horse gets spooked, you don’t want your horse to get bumped in a blinding spin move.

Property and Multi-Use Trails:
5. When riding on properties that have gates, here are a few things to remember:

If you come across an open gate, leave it open.
If you come across a closed gate and either you or someone else opens it, make sure that you close it.
If you are riding with others and are the first to get to a gate, open it and hold it open for the other riders and then close it behind you.
6. Even though etiquette dictates that hikers and cyclists should yield to horses, it doesn’t mean that they will. Don’t insist on the right of way, keep the safety of your horse in mind at all times. If the other party is not yielding when they should, hold yourself back and yield to them. In the end, everyone will be safer and you get to go home with a gold star on your helmet!

In the end, the safety of you and your horse is up to you…so is the total enjoyment of the ride. So, keep a great frame of mind, be courteous, smile and enjoy your ride!

If I’ve missed something that you think should be added, please add it in the comments!

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