Going trail riding for the first time or just want to get away for a while? Make sure that you are equipped with all the proper gear and necessities! Though trail riding is fun, making sure you are comfortable and safe is top priority on your ride. These are the top 10 must-haves to keep you safe on your upcoming trail ride!
1. Seat Saver
A seat saver is literally my best friend when riding on the trail. You can get seat savers for both English and Western saddles. The purpose of a seat saver is essentially to cushion your bottom and make riding your horse for long hours much more comfortable.
The western seat saver product that I personally recommend is the Impact Gel Seat Saver. I recommend this seat saver because not only does it have a gel inside that absorbs shock, but it is also cushioned with fleece which helps keep you warm in winter and cool in summer!
If you ride English (like I do most of the time) I recommend the Intrepid International Fleece Seat Saver. I like this seat saver because not only does it cushion your seat, but it also helps to protect your saddle and it is super affordable! The fleece, like the western seat saver, helps to keep your bottom cool in summer and warm in winter so it is perfect for all conditions.
2. A Riding Buddy
Having someone to ride with you is crucial! If you don’t, you risk not having someone there who may need to call emergency numbers or go get help if you or your horse is injured.
Not only is it important to ride with someone for safety reasons, riding in groups is so much more fun than riding alone! Not only do you have someone to talk to, but your horse will also have another horse to travel with which can help them to be more relaxed.
3. Saddle Bags
Saddle bags are so handy to have! Now, with saddle bags on your saddle, you have a place to store your phone, food, water bottles, bluetooth speakers, first aid supplies, and more!
My favorite pair of western saddle bags are the Tough 1 Nylon Saddle Bags with water bottle holders. These saddle bags are great for use on western saddles and attach quite easily behind the saddle. With these saddle bags, you have large pockets and water bottle holders so you have room to store everything you want to bring!
For English riding, I recommend the Trail Max Pommel Saddle Bags. These saddle bags attach to the D-rings at the front of your English saddle putting all your supplies right in front of you resting on your horse’s neck and withers. Not only do these saddle bags work, but they make all your supplies super easy to reach!
4. Water & Snacks
Taking water and snacks is crucial! Riding for hours upon hours can make you very tired and thirsty because of all the physical work that comes with riding for a long time. Having some water and crumb-free and melt-free stack bars and water are some great things to take with you on the ride!
Helmets are something that are essential whether you are riding in an arena or on a trail. If you take a tumble, protecting your head and brain is very important because that is probably the most important part of your body.
I personally recommend the Ovation schooler helmet for any and all riding. The reason I recommend this helmet so much is simply because it was this helmet that saved my life.
I was riding one January on a particularly fresh mare named Olivia. We were cantering and I began to ask her to slow down because she kept going faster and faster. It was at that point that she began to buck. I fell forward and she threw me off at the canter and I landed straight onto my head before somersaulting onto my neck, shoulders, and back.
Had I not been wearing that helmet, I could have suffered from a concussion, or worse, a serious brain injury.
So please, if you don’t have a helmet already, please consider buying one, especially this one. I can promise that you would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
If you are riding during any time of year, especially when in high elevation, sun protection is important. This sun visor helmet brim saved me and all my riding students this summer.
This visor just uses velcro around the helmet to hold it on and the wide brim will shield your face and eyes from the harsh sun.
7. First Aid For Both You & Your Horse!
Being out on the trails can sometimes be dangerous, especially if you are dealing with rocky terrain, low hanging branches, and other obstacles. If this is the case, having a first aid kit for both you and your horse is essential.
Some things you should include in the first aid kit for you include:
- water purifier
- anti-bacterial ointment
- pain medication
- sterilizing alcohol wipes
- emergency blanket
- compression wrap
- cotton swabs
- pocket knife
- head lamp
Some things you should include in your horse’s first aid kit are:
- vet wrap
- sterilizing alcohol wipes
- hoof pick
- flash light
- anti-bacterial wound ointment
- cotton swabs
8. A Phone
Having a phone is crucial! Without a phone of some sort, it can be horrible to get lost, injured, or separated out on a trail without the ability to navigate back, or call for help or emergency services.
Make sure that your phone is fully charged when you leave for your trail ride. You never know when you might need it.
I absolutely hate sun burn more than almost anything else. Having sunscreen on when riding helps with this issue. When you are riding, you probably don’t realize how much UV exposure you are getting and by the end of the ride you are completely fried.
Using a high-SPF sun screen like this one, you are bound to be saved from the painful sun burn we probably all have experienced.
10. Reflective or Bright Colored Riding Clothes/Tack
This is where the fun stuff comes in!
I don’t know about you, but I love to put all kinds of fun colors on my horses. You are so much more visible at dawn or dusk if you wear bright colors like:
- baby blue
You can buy all kinds of bright and reflective tack and equipment to make you more visible when riding during dawn, dusk, or even at night.
You can do reflective leg bands that fasten around the pasterns. These leg bands are reflective so when light shines on them they light up your horse’s lower legs making them easier to see.