Icelandic Horse Connection

Trail Riding Etiquette

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As Icelandic Horse owners, we need to observe appropriate trail etiquette when riding in public.

A trail ride should be enjoyable; for you, your friends, and anyone else on the trail.

  • Plan ahead. Determine gait and speed before hand. Will you ride single file? two abreast? Do you have partners? Who will lead, and who will bring up the rear?

  • Stay a horse-length behind the horse in front.

  • Advise all other riders if you have any specific areas of concern or need-to-know information about your horse (kicker, doesn't like other mares, spooks, etc.)

  • Plan to stop and wait for oncoming "traffic" (other horses, hikers, motorized vehicles, etc.)

  • If your pace is too fast for everyone in the group, slow down.

  • Realize that the sound of gaited horses at speed can upset other horses.

  • Riding at speed can sometimes upset or hype up horses in a group, which can cause serious problems for any type of rider.

  • Wait for slow moving horses so they do not get too far behind which may upset them.

  • Watch for low branches and call out to riders who are behind.

  • Walk down hills, and lead horses wait at the bottom for the rest of the group.

  • Stay on approved trails only.

  • If your horse is acting up, warn others; dismount; remove your horse from the area.

  • Aid riders who need to dismount by halting and standing near them to enable their horse to be reassured.

  • If possible, step off the trail and halt, to allow multi-use trail users to pass.

  • Take care not to ride up behind another horse at speed.

  • Announce upward and downward transitions for the benefit of the whole group.

  • Your horse may be another trail user's introduction to horses; what you do is a reflection of the local horse community and the Icelandic Horse breed. It is much easier to make a good first impression than to try to change a negative impression about Icelandic Horses and the people who ride them.

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