A check-up for your manners on and off the trail
When I was about to graduate high school, my parents found it necessary that I acquire some manners, and sent me to finishing school. You see, I may not have been BORN in a barn, but I HAD spent the majority of the prior 10 years in one!
In my “finishing” lessons, I learned all sorts of Emily Post-like forms of etiquette: correct ways of walking and sitting down; setting a table; dressing myself conservatively; wearing make-up; and, more useless tips I rarely use today😊
My brain was constantly stuck on horses (funny, little has changed😊), so, I couldn’t help but notice there were no studies related to equine etiquette or really anything about horses, in general. (WHAT?!?! Shocked me!)
Fast forward 37 years, and now I’ve got a proper forum in which to post my own tips for using proper etiquette on and off the trail. Because I can’t possibly know EVERY trail tip, I want you to feel free to enter any more which you can think of, in the comments section below! It can be an ever-growing list of habits to ride by.
Dawn’s Tips for Utilizing Proper Equine Etiquette Practices; Both On and Off the Trail
- Good equine etiquette begins at the barn, so you, as a Top Trail Rider, should strive to be a responsible horse owner, and further, a positive example to others. You get what you give in life, and that definitely transfers to your life in the saddle.
- My dear, later mother, Doris, had so many pearls of wisdom, and this one applies here greatly: “If you haven’t got anything good to say, say nothing at all.” Cattiness never helped a rider, one. Don’t be the hater!
- Be certain you inspect the riggings on all of your tack BEFORE you leave. Maintaining clean and properly oiled tack could save you some serious headaches out in the great wide open.
- Once tacked up and mounted, you’ll need to plan out the order in which the horses will be lined up. Be sure your most experienced rider is in the lead, any kickers are in the back, and place any trail riding newbies in between two experienced riders.
- Do not stop your horse if your group isn’t aware you are about to do so. One stopped horse in a line of many can seriously mess up those behind you.
- Should you go under a bush or tree with a branch you need to move, move it up over your head, as opposed to out to the side, so it doesn’t snap back into the next rider’s face.
- Let quicker riders be on the left of the slower horses (riding on the right) on the trail, if space permits.
- Never run up behind a slower or even walking horse. You may spook that horse ahead of you, and chaos could ensue!
- When passing other riders, do so only on the left; ride only slightly quicker than the other rider’s pace; and, call out “On your left!” so the rider(s) know you’re coming. This also goes for any hikers or cyclists you may happen upon.
- Leave it as you found it! If you stop for lunch, be certain everything you brought goes back with you. Take your memories; leave only hoofprints.
Challenges—Ways to win with Too Trail Horse
Top Trail Horse Challenge
Leaderboard is monthly, based on total mileage for the month, has three divisions, awards given
Top Trail Rider Challenge
Leaderboard is quarterly, based on total mileage for the quarter, has three divisions, awards given
Trail Master GPS Rider Challenge
Based on the number of rides logged by the rider for the quarter, has three divisions, awards given