Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tips for responsible horseback riding in nature

Published: 04/14/1012:10 pm | Updated: 04/14/1012:11 pm
But as one special group of outdoors enthusiasts will tell you, nothing beats navigating trails on horseback.
As with hiking or camping, Horseback riding on a nature trail involves some key dos and don'ts, which are designed to keep riders and foot traffic safe, and protect the integrity of the natural realm.
The nonprofit organization Tread Lightly! offers the following guidelines for responsible horseback riding:
- At trailheads or staging areas, park vehicles and secure horse in a manner that provides a safe distance between the horses and passing traffic.
- Riders should match their skill level to the temperament and ability of their horse. Less experienced horses and riders should ride behind more "trail-wise" horses and riders.
- Travel responsibly and stay on designated roads, trails and other areas open to horse use.
- Ride single file to reduce trail damage.
- Don't cut switchbacks (a turn on a trail).
- Spread out in open country where there are no trails, rather than following in each other's footsteps. This riding method will disperse impact and avoid creating a new trail.
- Comply with all signs and respect barriers.
- If you are "ponying" a horse (leading one horse from the back of another), go slow and never take a loose horse on the trail.
- Buddy up with two or three riders to reduce vulnerability if you have an accident.
SOURCE: Tread Lightly!
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