Just wanted to comment on how very fortunate you are to be able to ride that much. I truly envy you !
Thank you! I know I am very lucky! I work at an awesome barn with a handful of horses to ride every day. And I'm looking forward to warmer days, when I can bump it up to 4 or 5! This winter has been pretty inconsistent, unfortunately.
In regards to riding alone, I forgot to add that I often have a dog with me. People have mixed feelings about dogs on rides, and I would never do it in a group, but I usually have my dog at the barn, and one of the barn dogs who love to tag along on the trails. They both know how to act around the horses, and keep their distance.
I've been trail riding around the property alone because I couldn't get into the arena. I took my cell phone with me just in case but she did fine. I'm still getting to know my horse so I'm not brave enough to take her off the property by myself yet.
It's probably best to ride with at least one other person if you are planning on venturing out very far, and always carry a cell phone, just in case.
I ride alone all the time for hours at a time. My hubby does not ride horses he rides dirtbikes so we camp together where I ride my mare and right down the highway from where our dirtbike lease is. I prefer to ride alone. I became more in tune with my horse once I rode alone. My mare also just does better alone. It is nice not to worry about others and the behavior of their horses. I wear my helmet, take a cell phone and walkie talkie. I always tell hubby which trail I will be on and since I ride at a private ranch of a friend and know it well and so does my mare I really do not worry. My hubby knows when I go out where I am headed and about how long I will be out. I laughed last time we were at the ranch we were riding our Polaris RZR on a trail I ride my mare on and one of the guys in the group said I can not believe you ride your horse up and down this canyon. There is nothing wrong with riding alone.
I don't ride at home. I prefer to find a remote trail head and see some new country. Going with several others allows me to fill the trailer and split the cost of fuel. As well as enjoy their company.
Also, It is usually all my horses. Since I have a bunch that all need exercise, bringing a couple of friends puts butts in saddles so all my horses get exercised.
The one disadvantage to that is my horses are pretty herd bound. They want to stick together. So the occasional ride alone helps to break them of that habit.
I've gotten to know some of the ranchers in the areas that I ride and I'll bump into them and help them push cows. They appreciate the help and I think they enjoy the company, they often talk my leg off.
I don't join really big rides. 4-8 people is more than enough. Occasionally you bump into others on the trail heading the same direction that I'm heading and I'll fall in line and enjoy the company for a bit.
I love to trail ride alone both at home and at the many State Parks and Forests here in the Midwest. It's nice either way but sometimes you just need to be alone with your thoughts. So glad there are cell phones now-they really reduce the worry. I do also keep the halter on under the bridle with a lead rope around the neck tied in the old calvary knot just in case.
Since I know of several cases of horses dumping their riders and then getting lost I have begun to put those engraved metal dog tags with my name and several phone numbers on all of my halters. It sure will help to have my horses identified if they ever get away from me!
I usually ride alone. Even if I haul out with someone, I usually go my own way. My mare is super safe. She never bucks or rears or bolts or anything like that. I carry my cell phone in a holster on my belt and make sure someone knows where I am and when I'll be back. I usually call home once or twice during long rides to give them an update. I try to stick to high-traffic trails and avoid going across risky areas or go down trails where I might get lost. Oh, and I have an ID tag on my horse with my cell and home numbers, plus our home address.
Honestly, I don't think my horse could get rid of me if she tried, and so the only reasons I can think of that would separate me from her, would be if I was shot off her or we fell down a cliff. :P
I am currently riding alone through a strange country with four horses. No-one really knows where I am and certainly the only people looking out for me are more than 5000 miles away so not much help in an emergency.
Good sense goes a long way. Know your horse, know your capabilities, take basic precautions like the ones mentioned on this thread, but donīt let worries over statistically-unlikely events stop you.