It’s a bit of a shame that we even have to talk about safety on the trail. Once upon a time, it was you, your horse, and the countryside. If you did a good job with your horse, you were safe. Nowadays, there are outside factors. Besides the usual dogs, as the open areas get gobbled up with developments, it forces many of us to ride in more urban areas. That puts us into contact with more people who don’t know or care about horses. As homelessness increases, we encounter tents and encampments. People come out begging for money. Or as we ride along the river, they are along the bank bathing or doing dishes. The site of someone splashing around in the water unsettles many horses.
Thinking About Safety on the Trail
I’ve found that a little preparation goes along way from preventing disaster. Having a few basic tools at your fingertips can solve many problems. Pepper Spray is a powerful deterrent for unwanted advances from both people and dogs. Carrying a $2 whistle helps you alert others nearby that you may need help. Ensure that your cell phone is on your person and NOT in a saddlebag in case you get unseated from your horse. And, there are many more “little” things you can do to improve your safety on the trail.
Local Boarding Stable Gets Proactive
Our local boarding stable, Rancho Rio Equestrian Center, is being proactive about safety on the trail. They’ve hired trainer Elmo Sheeran. Elmo is a retired Sheriff Deputy who has trained many mounted police forces. Teaching civilian rider is quite different. The main difference, according to Elmo, is civilians need training in moving away from danger. Law enforcement moves carefully toward danger. Elmo will teach a class on Safety on the Trail at the equestrian center later this year.
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