trail hazards cowgirl magazine

A pleasant trail ride can take a quick turn when your horse stumbles onto a hidden hazard. You and your horse are at an increased risk when you take paths that are less manicured. It’s important you keep a close eye on your surroundings, especially when riding through unfamiliar trails.

Keep a watch for these hidden hazards!

1. Animal holes: Certain animals, such as ground hogs and prairie dogs, dig large holes. Your horse’s leg can easily fall through one of those! They can cause your horse to stumble and possibly fall. Even at a walk your horse can pull a tendon if they hit one. Keep a lookout for their activity, which indicates holes are nearby. You should also see a mound of loose dirt where one is located.

2. Dangerous water crossings: Sometimes a stream appears to be safe, but once you’re in the middle things become questionable. The footing, depth and water current can all influence your horse’s ability to safely cross it. Make sure to thoroughly inspect the crossing before you attempt it. Furthermore, keep your horse pointed upstream and focus on a point on the other side.

3. Hornet & wasp nests: These can be tricky to spot! Even a small bump from your horse can result in a hoard of wasps and hornets attacking. Stay alert to dips in the ground or low hanging branches, which could suggest a nest or activity.

4. Old wire: If you ride in abandoned fields, you’ll have to be extra careful to avoid old wire from fencing. Barb wire can easily loop around your horse’s legs and cause injury. Know your surroundings and keep attentive. It can be helpful to ride in a group, so there are more eyes all around.

5. Rocky terrain: You may think the ground looks stable, but loose rocks can quickly slip from under your horse. Additionally, a sharp rock can bruise your horse’s hoof or cut their leg. Go slow or avoid the path altogether!

Trail riding can be so much fun, but you have to make sure you keep alert! Furthermore, it’s a good idea to have proper gear while riding, such as these 5 Must-Have Items For Trail Riding.