365 Days in Horse Country – Organized Trail Rides
We all know that we, as horse people, can be as social as our horses. What better way to socialize with other horsefolks than on horseback.
The idea of having fun with your horse friends while you all go out for a ride led to the birth of the organized trail ride. Sponsored by riding clubs, equine community organizations, or just groups of horsy friends who want to spend a day together, organized trail rides enable riders to feel like they are part of something bigger as they head down the trail.
Organized trail rides can have as few as ten riders and as many as 400. The smaller the group, the easier it is to keep your horses under control and visit with people. Large group rides, while quite exciting, can also be cumbersome.
Before you sign up for an organized trail ride, do a little homework. Find out who is organizing the ride and what they have planned. If you are riding a horse that is green or doesn’t have much experience in groups, pick a ride that is small. Find out how fast the leaders plan to go, and only participate if they plan to stay at a walk.
Rules to follow when on an organized trail ride include staying at the same gait as the rest of the group (no trotting or galloping to get ahead of other riders), bring only well-mannered horses on the ride, and being generally courteous of those around you, Make sure the group you are joining has rules in place. This will ensure that your ride is a safe one.
Organized rides can be lots of fun, and they also offer a good training opportunity for your horse. Your horse will gain a new experience that will help him whenever he’s out on the trail.