"You’re headed back from your trail ride. You reach the trailer, unsaddle, brush off your horse, get him loaded, and head down the road. Twenty minutes! It’s a new record time. This is exactly the behavior that gets riders in trouble. After a long day of riding, and especially after multi day trips, it’s tempting to hurry up and get on your way. When you do this, you create chaos. You hurriedly go through the motions and leave yourself open to forget important things, such as a saddle left on the ground. You overlook the once-over that ensures that your horse is injury-free and your equipment is in good repair.
'Over time, your rushed process causes your horse to become anxious at the trailer, which makes your ride back more difficult and puts a sour tone on an otherwise-pleasant experience (Horse & Rider)."
Here are a few tips from the author to ensure a safe and smooth trip all the way around!
- After your ride, use your checklist to ensure that everything you’ve brought is accounted for and put away. If you break tack or lose a hoof boot, make note of it so you can replace it.
- As you head back to your trailer, mentally prepare yourself so you don’t become overly anxious and affect your horse’s emotional state. If you get anxious your horse will, too.
- Before you load your horse, he should be relaxed and comfortable. If you rush him, he’ll feel as you do when you’re rushed in and out of an appointment—emotionally run-over. Instead, tie him to the trailer and loosen the girth, but don’t get in a hurry to jerk the saddle off. Let him relax as you prep your tack room.
- Organize your tack room so that when you take off your horse’s gear you don’t have to struggle to put it away. Hang up your bridle, pull out grooming supplies and water buckets, and make sure everything’s clean and ready to use again.
- After your horse has cooled off, but before you load up, make water available.
- Complete a thorough check of your horse by rubbing your hands over his body after your ride to look for injuries.
- After your ride, inspect your trailer and the load-up position. Not all trailers have good internal lights so bring a flashlight or head lamp if there’s a chance you’ll load up after dark.
At Southwind we love our trail riders and adventurers!! With close access to several county parks and areas to ride in, there's always a spot to load up and go exploring! Learn more about our farm and boarding opportunities at: www.southwindfarminc.com!