When the weather is finally nice and the rain has stopped, the first thing most people with horses want to do is hit the trails! In all of the excitement of trailering your horse to a new place, don’t forget to pack the essentials that will keep you prepared and safe on your ride. Keep reading to learn about the most important tools to keep in your trail bag.
Helmet. Keeping your head safe is of utmost importance in life and out on the trail. With today’s helmets being so comfortable (and fashionable) there is no excuse not to wear one while riding! Many horse-related accidents have been avoided simply by wearing a helmet.
Invite a Friend When it comes to being out on the trail with your horse, or without, it is always advised to take a buddy along. If anything were to happen and you couldn’t call for help or apply first aid, your friend would be able to. Don’t go out on the trail alone if you can avoid it.
Navigation. Always carry a map of the area you’ll be riding, even if you are familiar with the trail. An obstacle that was unanticipated can get you off course and get you lost if you aren’t aware of your surroundings. Take a compass, a GPS, and extra batteries on every ride. While Google Maps is something we all rely on in our everyday lives, if your phone battery dies, it will be no use to you.
Water. The human body can only survive a few days without water. Never neglect to bring several water bottles or a small water purifier on your ride with you. Dehydration is nothing to joke about and if you are miles away from everyone else, you will need a way to keep yourself hydrated.
Extra Clothing. Always bring one more layer than you think you’ll need. Simply taking an extra jacket with you can make all the difference if the temperature dips down unexpectedly. Additional clothing we suggest to take would be a raincoat, weather-proof gloves, and an emergency blanket in case you must be out longer than expected or you have to stay on the trail overnight.
First Aid Kits. You’ll need two first-aid kits; one for you and one for your horse. First aid kits (for humans) are available at most pharmacies as well as convenience stores and outdoor stores. Equine first aid kits can be bought or you can make them yourself as long as you have a list of the necessities you’ll need to include! While taking a full-size box of first aid supplies may be impossible, you can always pick out the most important things to carry in a small trail first aid kit.
Trail Tools. When out on the trail you never know what situations you may run into. Keeping several tools on board (in your first aid kit or separate bag) can help you get out of some tricky situations. When it comes to tools to consider, a good knife is essential because it can be used in a multitude of situations. It can be used in fire-building, first aid, and for food preparation. A fully charged cell phone is another go-to tool to take along. If you get into any trouble, you can always call 911 for help (one negative about phones is that you don’t have signal everywhere). Other helpful tools to carry along are matches, spare batteries, and an extra lead rope.
Food. Just like you did on your elementary school field trips, you should always bring a bag lunch on a trail ride. Besides the bag of chips and ham and cheese sandwich you’ve stashed in your saddle bag, always remember to bring an emergency snack in case things don’t go as planned on your ride. Small cans of tuna can keep your energy up if you get lost or in a bad situation, and they can easily fit in most bags. Almonds or nuts are also a safe bet and easily portable.
Light. Whether you are partial to a headlamp or an old school flashlight, it is always a good idea to bring one on your trail ride. Make sure the batteries are charged and the light is in good working order. During some months the sun goes down sooner than expected and a flashlight will keep you from getting stuck out on a trail with no light!
Carolina Equine Hospital
Are you planning a trail ride and have some horse safety questions? Do you have any questions about the medications in your equine first aid kit? Give us a call at 336-349-4080. We are open from 8-5, M-F and service horses in the Piedmont Triad area. We and always have an emergency vet on call for any of your emergency needs!