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trail riding

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1. If you plan to ride alone, tell someone where you are going and about when you expect to return.

2. Ride a well-mannered horse.

 3. Do not play practical jokes and indulge in horseplay.

 4. Watch were you ride-avoid dangerous ground. Note landmarks. Study the country and view behind you so you will know how it looks.

 5. Courtesy is the best safety on the trail.

 6. Think of your horse first. Watch its condition, avoid injuries, and care for it properly.

 7. Carry a good pocket knife to cut ropes, etc., in case of entanglement.

 8. Don't tie the reins together.

9. Ride balanced and erect to avoid tiring the horse or creating sore backs, legs, etc.

 10. Check the equipment: - Have a halter and rope. Hobbles are fine if the horse is trained to them. - Have clean saddle blankets or pads. - Be certain the equipment is in good repair and fits the horse. - Include bad-weather clothing. - A pair of wire cutters is handy in case the horse becomes entangled in wire. - A lariat is handy for many needs, but know how to use one and be certain the horse in accustomed to a rope. - Extras should include pieces of leather or rawhide for repairs; a few spare horseshoe nails; and a few matches.

 11. If you unsaddle, store your gear properly and place the saddle blanket where it will dry.

12. Don't water your horse when it is hot. Cool it first.

 13. Always tie a horse in a safe place. Use the halter rope-not the bridle reins. Tie a safe distance from other horses and from tree limbs or brush where the horse may become entangled. Never tie below the level of the horse's withers. Be certain to tie to an object that is strong and secure to avoid danger of breaking or coming loose if the horse pulls back.

 14. Be extremely cautious of cigarettes, matches, and fires. Know they are out before discarding them or leaving.

15. Obtain current, accurate maps and information on the area. Become familiar with the terrain and climate.
16. If you ride on Federal or State lands, seek advice from the forest or park officials. Know their regulations on use of the trails and fire.

 17. Be certain the horse is in good physical condition and its hooves and shoes are ready for the trail.

18. Use extreme caution at wet spots or boggy places.

 19. Speed on the trail is unsafe. Ride at safe gaits.

 20. Avoid overhanging limbs. Warn the rider behind you if you encounter one. Watch the rider ahead so a limb pushed aside doesn't snap back and slap your horse in the face.

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