Riding Manners

by Hidden Trails 04/08/2010

One of the best parts of the Hidden Trails experience is riding with your new friends.  Just remember, good horseback manners go hand in hand with having an enjoyable time. Whether riding in an arena or out in the back country, being considerate of other riders and aware of footing conditions keeps the chances for an accident at a minimum.   

  1. Keep your horse under control and maintain a secure seat at all times. Clowning around, trotting or galloping when other riders are walking, or cutting across switchbacks on the trail can be dangerous for everyone.

  2. If your horse becomes frightened at a strange object, remain calm (your fear can be transmitted to the horse), speak quietly to steady the animal and give it time to overcome the fear. (Remember, a horse’s initial response to fear is to run away.) Then, ride or lead the horse past the obstacle.

  3. When riding in an arena, pass riders going the opposite direction to you left shoulder to left shoulder.  Yield the rail to riders going faster than you unless directed otherwise by an instructor. 

  4. When you wish to pass other riders, be sure that there is plenty of room. Let them know that you wish to pass, then, when there is an opening, ride by.

  5. Hold your mount down to a walk when going up or down hills. If he begins lunging, he could lose his balance and fall.

  6. Allow the horse to pick his own way at a walk when riding on rough ground, in mud, or on ice or snow. It’s easy enough to slip when he’s being careful. Trotting or loping could cause the animal to fall. Always walk when crossing paved roads or on rocky ground. Your horse might slip and fall on the slick surface.

  7. Never ride away from a group until ALL the members are mounted and ready to go. The other horses may want to move when your mount does and someone might not be secure in the saddle. If you ride through a gate, be sure to wait until it has been closed and the person who has done that chore is mounted and ready before you ride off.

  8. Ride abreast (if there is room) or stay a full horse length behind the horse ahead of you. This helps reduce the possibility that you, or your horse, might be kicked.

  9. If your horse becomes frightened and tries to run away, pull on one rein to turn the horse in circles, gradually decreasing the size of the circle. Eventually you will be able to bring the animal to a halt. The same technique can be used when you are on foot and leading your horse.

  10. If you notice another rider having troubles controlling his or her horse, halt your horse in a space that provides ample room for the rider of the out-of-control horse regain control.  This will help the rider to focus on his or her horse rather than worrying about running into other moving horses.  It also may help calm the horse.  If the out-of-control horse gets the other horses worked up, you may want to dismount until all horses are calmed. 

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