Trail Etiquette

For some reason, this is a subject that just does not permeate the brain of some people, and by saying that, I don’t mean the “new” people who are either learning pleasure trail riding or even endurance riding; after all, we are not born knowing everything, but I witness poor trail etiquette at probably 50% of the rides I attend, and that most likely is a huge understatement.  AND it is not just new riders but seasoned riders as well.

For some reason, simple trail etiquette just doesn’t seem to apply to some people.  Why is that?  Is there a feeling that because you are doing a greater distance than others or because you are running up front, you should be given this allowance to disregard others’ safety?  Or is one just in their own head so much that all common sense goes into outer space?

These, to me, are basics in trail etiquette:

  1. Don’t ever assume the horse/rider you are about to pass 1) knows you are there; 2) knows you are going to pass and on which side; 3) doesn’t mind if you gallop past; 4) doesn’t mind that you have a red ribbon in your horse’s tail when you pass within inches, etc.
  2. Always ask when approaching a rider IF it is okay to pass and voice which side you are passing on.  TRY not to do this at a gallop.
  3. If you are a rider that has a nervous horse and someone wants to pass, pull over to let them pass if you must and when doing this, keep your horse’s head toward trail with your horse’s butt away from the passing horse.  Butt end does not go with head end and butt end does not go with butt end…No butts.
  4. If you have a kicker, pass people with a wide berth, especially if you have a side kicker, and don’t just swing right back onto trail in front of the horse you just passed.
  5. Don’t ride the horse’s butt in front of you whether they have a red ribbon, yellow ribbon, green ribbon… it’s just plain rude and you are asking to be kicked.  If that horse is not a kicker now, this is a good way to teach it to be one.  If you can’t see the horse’s hocks in front of you, you are too close and need to back off or pass.
  6. Don’t push your way into a water trough when others are drinking.  Wait your turn.
  7. Don’t allow your horse to stick his/her nose right into the space where another horse is drinking AND don’t allow your horse to lift his head, look over and drip water all over the horse’s head that is drinking next to you.
  8. Don’t drop your sponge right next to a horse’s head that is drinking; fine if you do this to your own horse, but don’t do it to someone else’s horse.
  9. Always ask if it is okay to leave the trough when other horses are drinking.  This rule applies to streams, lakes, ponds, etc.

Anyone think of anything else?  I would love to add them to the list… Happy Trails!!

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