Trail riding is enjoyable and safe for you and your horse only when you’ve considered all factors and eventualities and are using the right tack and equipment that you need on the trail.
The right tack ensures that your horse is comfortable and you are also safe while you ride! But right about now you are probably asking, “What tack do I need for trail riding?”
So, here’s what we promised – The Handy List of Trail Riding Tack& Equipment
1. A trail riding saddle fitted to your horse
The saddle is very important for both you as well as your horse. It is one of the things that the horse will have to carry, and if not fitted properly can cause soreness and injury. On the other hand, you will be sitting on it, so it will determine your comfort, and if not properly fitted, can also jeopardize your safety!
For the trail, it is usually advised that you get a Western saddle. And before you invest, you should look out for a good Western saddle that fits the bill.
2. Specially made bridles and halters
Halters are needed when you want to lead the horse, whereas you won’t be able to ride without a bridle to control the horse with. However, when on the trail, your horse tack and equipment need to be lightweight AND sturdy. Good investments would be synthetic or leather ones that are also lightweight.
Remember that you need both – because trying to lead the horse by the bridle will mean that the horse can injure himself. On the other hand, you cannot ride with just a halter.
3. A breast collar or a crupper that holds the saddle and other tack in place
Since your safety depends on the saddle, and if it moves around it can rub against and injure the horse, it is essential that this is kept in place. This is done either with a breast collar that goes around the front to keep the saddle in place or around the back, as in a crupper. Check out also this post about natural horsemanship. Very interesting.
Cruppers are normally better for smaller horses, whereas for bigger, full-grown ones, breast collars work just fine.
4. Extra saddle blanket
While on the trail, your horse is sure to sweat. And when this happens, the saddle pad or blanket will get wet. A wet saddle pad can be quite uncomfortable for the horse and also increases the risk of your horse being affected by, for example, the West Nile Virus. Therefore, you should carry a spare to change when this happens.
5. Basic first aid kit for you as well as for the horse
On the trail, you are at the mercy of nature, and you or your horse could accidentally get hurt. For these accidents, it is best to carry along a basic first aid kit that contains the necessary items. See also this post about that nobody is ever done learning,
6. Equipment to hold everything that you need to carry
Whatever extra equipment and things you need to carry – water bottles, lunch, camera, hoof picks, keys etc. – they need to be kept somewhere – since you cannot possibly carry it yourself. To hold these things, you need a pommel or cantle bag. So when spring will be there in a few months, clean up your tack and get ready for a few fine spring and summer months full of great horse riding.
Pommel bags are those that attach near the front of the saddle, whereas cantle bags go near the back of the horse.
Now that you have an idea about what tack you need for trail riding, get ordering and packing so that your horse and you are perfectly trail-ready next time!