Here at Barakah Heritage Farm (in northcentral Pennsylvania near Ricketts Glen), when we aren’t escorting guests on our conscious horsemanship trail rides, we often ending up taking a relaxing horseback ride alone.
Even on our farm, the environment cannot be controlled. Loose dogs, wildlife, and other distractions occasionally make for an “interesting” ride. Here are some tips to trail ride safely with your horse when you are solo that we have tested here at the farm.
Exposure to unusual things: Dismount, and spend time walking with your horse to see and experience unusual things before you hit the trails. Everything is an opportunity. Contractors, landscapers, moving vehicles, barn dogs and cats, mailboxes, trash bags – learn to introduce your horse to everything and praise them when they show curiosity and calm with either affection or treats. Patience goes a long way.
The Right Gear: Wear a helmet. Consider using a protective vest. Keep a small kit in your saddle bag or trail bag in case of emergency. A small knife and vet wrap are handy in a pinch. Pack blood stop for heavy bleeding and some hose or flexible tubing to use to keep your horse’s airway open in case of snakebite. Pack a lead rope and pack or put a halter on your horse. Bring your cellphone and attach it to your body, not stashed on your horse.
Virtual buddy: Tell someone where you are going and what time you plan to return. Install tracking software on your phone (Our farm uses Sports Tracker) and share the tracking link with your virtual buddy.