I truly think equestrians can feel the fall breeze before anyone else. It signals relief from the heat and boundless opportunities for equine fun. But before you grab your boots and saddle bags to hit the trail, there are a couple considerations I would encourage you to make.

Make sure you and your equine partner are ready for the planned activity. Some of us have been in the air conditioning throughout these hot months and our horses sitting in the pasture; I know that describes my herd. Conditioning your horse before hitting the day-long trail ride will make for a much happier trail companion. Just as you would not take off and run a marathon after munching on potato chips in your pajamas for a couple months, your horse might not be ready for heavier exercise quite yet. He will appreciate easing back into work, so take it slow. Limit the length of those initial rides, ride during cooler portions of the day, factor in rest days and listen to your horse when he says, “Wow, I’m out of shape.”

Riding is about you and your horse, so pack for both of you. A saddle bag on the trail is greatly underrated. It can be a treasure trove of useful equipment that you never think you will need, until you do. Think about including first aid items for you and your horse, spare tack, snacks, identification, hay string, insect repellant, knife, hoof pick, water and a lead rope.

Trail riding is an equine activity for all ages, so I hope you are able to enjoy this beautiful fall weather from the best view there is, the back of a horse.

Brooklyne Wassel, Pike County Extension Coordinator and Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent