Fall is one of my favorite seasons with my horses and can be the best time to go trail riding. The weather is cooler, there are less bugs out, and the colorful scenery is beautiful. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you hit the trails this fall.
Fall marks the beginning of many different hunting seasons so you will probably be sharing the trails with hunters. To help keep you, your horses, and the hunters safe, there are a few extra precautions you can take when trail riding during this time of year. Firstly, be aware of the different hunting seasons in your area and what hunting weapons are used during those times. If your horse is very gun shy, maybe avoid trail riding during gun season all together. While you can desensitize your horses to gunshot sounds in a training scenario at home, they may still spook in a different environment on the trail. Wearing a reflective neon vest and hat or helmet cover will help make you more visible. Use a neon saddle blanket over your regular saddle pad and attach reflective neon strips to your horse’s bridle, breast collar, or any other areas of tack to help them to be more visible should you and your horse become separated on the trail. Always ride with someone and keep a conversation going so hunters can hear you coming.
Cooler Temperatures and Winter Coats
Horses start growing their winter coats at the end of summer as soon as the days start getting shorter, so by the time the fall foliage comes around your horses are probably already pretty fuzzy. If you are the type of trail rider I am, you just mosey along the trail at a nice comfortable walk, so your horses probably don’t get too sweaty. If you’re the type of trail rider that can’t pass up a straight away for a good run (we’ve all been there!) or keeps things interesting with different paces during your ride, your horse may need more warm up time in the cooler temperatures and more cool down time to keep them from getting chilled if they get sweaty. If you ride a lot and your horses frequently get a good sweat worked up, you may want to consider a partial body clip to help them cool down faster than their winter coats allow.
After a long hot summer in the sun and constantly swishing and stomping flies, your horses probably feel pretty good when the temperatures cool down and the bugs go away! Even horses who trail ride all the time and are normally very quiet may have some more pep in their step during fall trail rides, especially on those brisk, crispy mornings. You may want to wait until a little later in the morning or do some extra ground work before mounting up to hit the trails to help give your horse the best opportunity to be calm and collected for the ride.
What are some of your fall trail riding tips? Where are your favorite places to enjoy the fall foliage from horseback? Comment below!
Jen and her husband, Clayton, bought their farm in August of 2018 and love living the simple country life. They share their home and farm with their dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. Jen loves learning and is always researching new things for the farm, house, animals, and natural wellness. Her favorite mantra is “thoughts are things” and hopes to inspire and empower people to create abundance and sustainability in their own lives. Follow Jen on Instagram @steelspoonfarm and read her blog at www.steelspoonfarm.com