17 Tips for Recreational Trail Riders
Tips to keep you and your horse healthy on the trail
With trail riding season in full swing, you might have already heard that one or more of your trail buddies’ horses are dealing with lameness or other health struggles. Layups due to injury or illness can cost you, both in veterinary bills and in time lost from your favorite activity.
Although it sometimes seems that horses disproportionately invoke Murphy’s Law, there are proactive steps you can take to increase the likelihood your four-footed trail-riding buddy stays healthy and happy all season. Riding the right horse is first and foremost. A level-headed horse will keep both himself and you safe and, on the trail (as in most life situations), health and safety go hand in hand. Although trail riding is a carefree stroll through nature for some horses, others aren’t cut out for it.
“A trail horse will come across challenges that are never seen in an arena or on the farm,” says Kristen Reiter, DVM, a veterinarian from Oak Harbor, Washington, who has participated in informal and organized rides for 23 years. “Riding a horse that sizes up the obstacles and creatures it encounters, thinks them through, and has minimal spook response will be safer than the horse whose flight response outweighs its reasoning and thought
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