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What must you bring on every trail ride?

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The next time you hit the trails, check your saddlebag to add these trail riding essentials. They will help keep you and your horse safe whether you are heading out for a quick 30 minutes or a few hours, you’ll want to keep these with you.

A charged cell phone

This goes without saying. Keep it on you and not in the saddlebag in case you are separated from your horse. And did you know that even if you don’t have a cell phone signal, the GPS on your phone can still work? I love technology. Before you hit the trails, download a compass application to easily find your GPS coordinates if you are lost and need to give them to search and rescue. If you are heading out for an extended ride, I recommend a power pack to charge your phone on the go. There are even solar panel power packs to charge your phone, so that you can charge your phone throughout your trail ride.

A map of the trails and a compass

Even if you know the area, make sure to have a trail map with you. If you get turned around, you’ll be happy to have the extra guidance. Otherwise, the lost rider you come across will be equally glad to see a map. Bear in mind that a map on your phone is only as good as long as your phone’s battery lasts, and you certainly don’t want to have to decide between checking a map and calling for help. Where am I going with this? If you are going out on a short ride, the map on your phone may be enough. If you are heading out for longer, a physical map is worth your horse’s weight in gold!

A whistle to call for help

Get a whistle to call for help quickly. Yelling can be exhausting in the long run, but a good whistle will get someone’s attention quickly without your having to spend loads of energy. Avoid the whistles with a steel ball as they can corrode. It is a trail essential for both riders and walkers.

A helmet

Wear it: It may save your head. You never know when your horse will spook at something and dump you. The cost and hit to your “look” are well worth saving your brain in a freak accident while trail riding.

A foldable hoof pick- a trail riding essential

We all know rocks are evil. The day you try to pick a rock out of your horse’s hoof using a random rotten branch is the same day you will want to pick up a foldable hoof pick! Avoid the headache and be prepared by picking up one of these now. It takes up no room but can be a lifesaver in so many other ways! Not to mention, your horse will be more than happy when you get it out instead of hobbling home on a bruised hoof. 

A paracord bracelet

This little gem is lightweight, sturdy, and versatile. You’ll wonder why you didn’t have one before. The bracelet itself is easy to carry around (you can even match the colour to your gear), and in a pinch, you can unravel it with one firm zip to get about 8 feet of extra sturdy 550-lbs paracord. Ever wished you have a length of rope to catch an errant horse or dog found on the trails? To temporarily fix a piece of tack until you get home? Your imagination is the limit! There are even some paracord bracelets that come with a fire-starting core. If you need to make a fire in a snap, you unravel, cut a bit off and light it. This brings me to my next point:

Paracord Bracelet for trail riding

A knife

You never know when you need to cut something when trail riding. Not to mention knives are always handy around the barn; having one on you in the case of an emergency can be a lifesaver. Most knives don’t take up much room, and with technology these days, they can be very light. These can found at your local hunting shop or outdoors store, like SAIL.

Knife for trail riding

A water bottle

It goes without saying that staying hydrated is a trail riding essential. Horseback riding is a sport after all, right? Stay hydrated and enjoy your trail riding for longer with either a water bottle for short rides or a camelback for longer ones. Bonus, a cold camelback will also keep you cool during the summer months!

A snack

You may plan to only go out for a short ride, but sometimes you get turned around, meet up with some friends unexpectedly and go for longer than intended due to an issue with the onboard GPS (the rider). Keep a quick snack on hand to stave off hunger pains and keep your brain in the game. Trail mix is a great solution for this because it doesn’t take up much space and keeps a while, even in the sun!

A halter

I always ride with a halter just in case I need to get off and walk my horse. It makes it easy to just snap my reins onto the halter and use them as a long lead rope so that I don’t have to drag my horse around by the bit. A lightweight rope halter under the bridle does the job without interfering with your bridle and bit.  

A basic first aid kit for trail riding

For your short rides, this could just be vet wrap and a sanitary pad until you get home. For longer trail rides, you’ll want to take along a compact first aid kit with the essentials to treat wounds and pain.

Next time you hit the trail, remember to bring these things with you. You never know when you might need them, and you’ll be glad you packed them when you do! Keep in mind that this is a minimal list of things to keep with you. You also need to check the weather before leaving and dress appropriately. Also, get acquainted with particularities of the trails you’ll be riding that day, such as if venomous snakes are in the area; bring a snakebite kit. 

So now you’ll want to pack these trail riding essentials somewhere, right? Who wants to ride with a backpack that throws your weight and balance off? Not me. I’ve ridden with one long enough to know that it really isn’t fun. Check out our line-up of saddlebags for Western and English saddles to store your essentials for trail riding. I especially love the trail kit that works with most saddles. 

Happy trails!


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