As long as someone knows that you're out, you should be fine. I know that a few times both myself and a friend have told both the BO and his mother to come search for us if neither of us answered our phones on the first call. Both our horses were reliable trail mounts and bush-whacked like no others at the barn. Very sure-footed, we both know the woods (not just the trails), we know the area around the woods on 3 sides, and both of us have an amazing sense of direction. My friend's horse wouldn't even try to run off if he would've fallen off, but mine was still working on standing, but would never book back to the barn. We regularly explored the woods for possible new trails, and we were always the ones to clear them out in the spring. We went both on horseback, and walked down on foot. We were actually caught in a -huge-, horrid thunderstorm while making our Pine Tree Path, and we had to sit down in the woods under the trees we hadn't whacked branches off to stay even relatively dry/warm. Kinda wished we had taken the horses so we could've ran back, but BO called while they were in the barn tacking up asking where we were since it was storming.
That's the good thing about letting people know that you're going down to the trails and to call if anything seemed bad/suspicious. People usually make sure everything is okay if you're 5 minutes late if you give them a time, because no one wants to feel guilty because they didn't call when you asked them to and you end up in a creek or caught up in a fence in the middle of the woods for hours.
I tend to go out alone on trails, because I enjoy being inthe woods and just listening to nature's sounds, not chatting with someone the whole way. I definitely go out alone now if at all possible because Lucky's training I put into her is gone, and I constantly make up excuses for when her new owner constantly wants to come out with me. I'd like to buy her when I get out of college and leave for a farm/ranch, I don't need her new owner hearing me spazz out with words against her about how she ruined all my training.(; I don't have an issue risking the possibility of me falling (improbable) and not having anyone to drag me up on their horse, get my horse for me, or to send for help. I can generally land just right so that I don't break or injure anything too badly, and I know my directions as to which way the roads are and where the different trails are at. I may not know them by name, but I can describe exactly which trail I'm on, or where I went off trail, about how far, and what has happened to me. I'm also very tolerant of the cold; I have thick blood, and I generally prefer around 50-55*F for shorts and t-shirt weather, so the 30s in jeans, boots, and a hoodie shouldn't be too difficult for me to get through. I usually have a utility knife, lighter, cell phone, and wallet (ID) on me when I ride out, so I can start a fire to stay warm, call for help, and I have my ID on me if some hiker just so happens to stumble upon me while I nap or something. :p
But, I definitely agree with the snow issue for off-trail. I know quite a bit of off-trail as to where holes, logs, fences, etc are, but I generally stick closer to the trails since I do sometimes get paranoid that for whatever reason the time I don't have a horse, I won't be able to navigate as I do while I'm on the horse. Nor do I want to be responsible for a broken leg of someone else's horse if I can do something to avoid higher risks of it. I don't run on the trails aside from very few spots because of that reason as well. Her new owner might have no issue running her over h*ll and back, but I'm not willing to risk that. :p Posted via Mobile Device