I always viewed riding at night as somewhat taboo. I don't know anyone who does it, so I didn't do it. Unfortunately, I am typically only able to ride very early in the morning or later in the evening and with the onset of DST and the days growing shorter, it is usually dark then. About a month ago I started going on short rides in my neighbor's field right around dusk...eventually building up to riding out farther and staying out later. Most recently I have completed several longer rides in complete darkness. Call me crazy, but it allows me more time in the saddle and it's even fun!
With hunting season now in full swing, I have been sticking close to our country roads and generally staying out of the woods/fields. I usually take 3-4 "emergency" glowsticks, ($3.44 ea in the Sporting Goods section at Walmart), a headlamp ($5 at Walmart) and a reflective vest. Horze.com also has a ton of reflective gear at great prices - including a reflective breast collar, tail/leg wraps, etc. The glowsticks have both a steady glow and flashing mode[s], they emit a good glare and I usually hang them around mine and my horse's neck. I take my saddlebags as well, and throw in an extra jacket, emergency blanket, pocket knife, baling twine, extra glowstick, flashlight, etc.
I admit, I won't take just any horse out at night and my new gelding has been getting neglected a little, since I don't have as many daylight hrs to ride. Instead I take my pony, whom I have a really strong bond with. After all, I don't want to chance falling off and my horse disappearing into the darkness! Riding at night is a whole different ball game, particularly for your horse. Although I am able to see a fair amount with the headlamp, I have gathered that my horse can't see nearly as much. While I am able to spot wildlife from a fair ways off (due to their eyes reflecting back at me), it seems he cannot see them until we are close (and sometimes not at all). My pony is great in that he still freeze or start (but not spook) when deer go crashing into the woods. He does seem to have some trouble discerning depth....I am trying to teach him voice commands such as "step up" and "step down" in order to aid him when we encounter rough ground. I'm fortunate that my pony is very intelligent and tends to stop, look, and feel things out rather than just blindly leaping over every shadow he sees. There are also the headlights from oncoming traffic...my pony isn't bothered by them but I can imagine that some horses might be have a problem when essentially blinded by their brightness.
My only real complaint is that for some reason, people seemed less inclined to slow down/move over at night. I KNOW they can see me, they just don't seem to feel the need to yield. That being said, there is less traffic and at night I am generally able to ride a bit farther off the shoulder, since I don't really have to worry about someone coming out of their house and yelling at me to get out off their property (for real I had someone cuss me out and threaten to call the cops once when I was literally not more than 18 inches off the pavement).
Anyway, sorry for the book here:) Has anyone else done any night riding? I'd love to hear your take on it!