Keeping Your Horse Healthy on the Trail

Learn how to prepare for, prevent, and handle potential emergencies on the trail.

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Keeping Your Horse Healthy on the Trail
Knowing horse health care basics, first aid, and how to handle an emergency is important, especially when trail riding. | Photo: iStock

Ways to prepare for, prevent, and handle potential emergencies

There’s something special about trail riding. On the open road, horse and rider share a sense of freedom, adventure, and bonding. However, a nice ride can quickly become a nightmare if something goes wrong. Knowing horse health care basics, first aid, and how to handle an emergency is important for all who ride, but it’s especially crucial for those who spend time far away from civilization on the trail. In this article our three sources have provided tips for staying safe and handling potential trail emergencies.

“A precursor to any great trail ride is preparation,” says Robert Eversole, a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International instructor, trail riding and camping enthusiast, and owner of, based in Spokane, Washington. “Having a good idea of what to expect before arriving at the trailhead is the best way to ensure that memories from the ride are pleasant ones.”  

Training and Conditioning First

This preparation begins with physical readiness of both rider and horse for the rigors of trail riding. Lifelong horseman and veterinarian Doug Thal, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, owner of Thal Equine, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and creator of Horse Side Vet Guide, says trail riding can involve long hours in the saddle and more physical exertion for the horse than ring work requires

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Written by:

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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