During my 20-plus years in Washington state, I lived adjacent to beautiful woods and trails where we rode year around. Those woods were state-owned which meant that at certain times of the year hunting was allowed, so beginning in September we had to take precautions when trail riding.
While the fall weather is cooler and often more pleasant for riding, if you live near or trail ride in rural areas it is extremely important that you are aware of hunting season safety points. For many people hunting season is a celebrated event, usually beginning in September and extending into February. Before you ride, research where hunting is allowed and what the seasons are through your state’s fish and wildlife department.
Here are a few tips we’ve acquired over the years to keep horses and riders safe:
- Be visible – this is a good time to wear orange! Lots of reflective orange riding paraphernalia is available such as vests and helmet covers for riders. For horses there are orange split boots, neck collars and quarter sheets for starters. Cyclists also have night-time equipment available that can be useful such as blinking LED lights you fasten to your ankles or to your horse’s bridle.
- Make noise – put a sleigh bell on your horse’s breast collar or your stirrups. Or you might sing or talk to your horse. Carry a whistle should you need to sound an alarm.
- Don’t ride alone – you’ll be more visible and make more noise if you go out with a buddy. If you do ride alone, it is always a good idea to let someone know where you