Quick Links

How to Host and Organize a Trail Ride

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 6, 2011 13:49

 A simple step-by-step guide

 1. Gather the following information:

a. Ride location (include directions if needed)

b. Day and Date

c. Ready-to-Ride time

d. For everyone's safety, dogs are welcome in camp, but dogs, loose horses

and stallions are usually not permitted on rides.

e. Short description of footing, etc. (Some riders will have to decide to shoe

 or bring boots for their horses.) If the trail is difficult, riders should be

advised. Elevation gain is useful info, if available.

f. Approximate length of ride, whether it will be overnight, a pack trip, etc.

g. Contact phone & email

h. What extra things do riders bring with them? Potluck/meal, chair, lunch,etc.

i. Will there be a limit to the number of riders? If so they should RSVP. A deadline for the RSVP is a good idea.

2. Contact the Chapter chair or other exec. to let them know the details so that

there are no schedule conflicts.

3. If not leading the ride yourself, ask for someone with experience who will be the

Trail Boss. Some rides do not need a trail boss, if there are less than 4 riders or

so in a group a trail boss is not needed.

4. Arrange for the Trail Boss to have a first aid kit and a copy of the pre-ride

checklist below.

5. Add the information to the club calendar or newsletter or website. (edited by www.horseownertoday.com)

6. That’s it! Wasn’t that easy?

Pre Ride Checklist

The Trail Guide can use a Pre Ride Checklist such as the one below during the pre

ride meeting. This is also a good time to re-evaluate riders and horses while saddling.

About 10 minutes before Ready-to-Ride time, gather riders (preferably unmounted) and

introduce self, drag rider, other assistants. Discuss trail features, planned stops, length

of ride. It is also a good idea to tell the group why we have these guidelines and offer to

let any riders who want to ride fast or would rather not be in a large group the option to

go ahead or follow behind about 10 minutes apart.Discuss any Trail Hazards such as:

Auto rewind cameras, camera flash

Carbonated Drinks

Putting on or taking off slicker or jackets while mounted, Velcro

Riding through dips, jumping creeks



Vertigo or fear of heights

Slick rock, metal surface bridges, etc.

Unnecessary stopping on trail

Meeting hikers or other riders.Discuss Ride rules such as:

Gait – walk only or? (Proceed according to the ability of the least capable rider)

Stopping for water, photos, bathroom breaks

Communication up or down the line, turn to talk to rider behind you.

Who rides behind whom, passing


Liability InsuranceSafety check:

Ask if any riders have medical conditions, tell everyone location of first aid kit

Ask riders to help each other by watching the rider in front & letting him/her know

about loose cinches, gear coming untied, etc.

Cinches tight, inc. back cinch

Cruppers, breast collars, bridles, etc. present and adjusted.

Lead rope for each rider


Water bottle

Missing shoes

Insect repellant applied?

Ask if anyone has any problems, concerns, or other questions.

 Author: Jack Breaks (currently our Vice President and a CHA Wilderness Guide and Master Instructor)

These articles have been  used with the kind permission of the Back Country Horsemen Society of British Columbia.  More interesting articles and downloads can be found at their website at www.bchorsemen.org