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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I never considered this issue until recently. I've ALWAYS done trail riding, or road riding, or whatever, by myself without a second thought. You get on a horse and you go--and I always liked being out there with just me and the horse and nature--or the sights of the road. Now, however, I am realizing the safety concerns inherent in this behavior. LOL My husband is reluctant to let me "go off" into the woods on my own. Even the best horses can spook at something and in thick woods, there's always the chance of getting knocked off by branches overhead, doing something stupid yourself, etc.

We thought we have this problem licked by having my husband on the farm property, in the car, while I ride with either a walkie talkie or cell phone on me. But then he said the other day--what if you fall off and are knocked unconscious? Ugh, too much logic! :)
I know to many of you, this may seem like a ridiculous topic. Every TV show and movie your watch with horses ("Heartland" comes to mind) the people are out on a trail or in the back country on their horse--alone--it's just the norm. So I'm curious if any of you have thought of this? Do you have plans in place? Do those of you over 40 (or 50) still go out there with a renegade cowboy attitude, and it's always been fine?

I do have a couple people at the farm that I can do trail riding with, occasionally, but not consistently--we are not always going to be able to be at the barn on the same day. My husband might hike with me while I ride. But that just seems silly. Is horseback riding just one of those things where you know it comes with inherent risks and you accept them and carry on?

I mean--I DID walk into tigers' and lions' cages every day for 3 years. When you have a 500lb predator rubbing against your legs is NOT the time to be squeamish about safety. I mean, you do things as safely as possibly, and with precautions in place--but there's only so much you can control and you just accept those risks as part of what you want to do with your life. Is this was trail riding by yourself is like?

I am having Spring Fever really bad. The trails at my barn are closed October/November-April because the family hunts on them--regularly and often. It's disconcerting for me. And it sucks that there will be no beautiful Fall trail riding. I'm itching to get out of the darned arena!! But I want to be sure I'm also not being a reckless idiot. :)
 

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I think it comes down to personal choice. If you're okay with the extra risks of going it alone then that's your decision to make, as long as it's an informed one. T.V. shows can show all sorts of things we shouldn't do in real life (gotta love that Hollywood magic...most of the actors in a lot of shows I've seen don't even know how to ride anyway...I mean what are they even doing with their hands?), so I wouldn't really judge what is the norm based on those.


Riding with other people is fun and can be safer because there's other people there to help if something goes wrong but it also requires scheduling rides with those people and having them around in the first place. Some people simply don't have that luxury, perhaps they're at a boarding barn that doesn't have any other trail riders or doesn't have the same schedule as the other barn goers or any other number of conflicts (perhaps they don't board and so don't even have the option to try and get people to go with them) and they're left with the choice to either ride some trails alone or not ride them at all.


Again, I think it's personal choice. If you're informed about the risks and decide to do it anyway it's really up to you. Ideally we'd all like to be as safe as possible but any number of things could go wrong even on a group trail ride. That being said things can go wrong in an arena too. The only difference is your horse doesn't have a chance of escaping in the woods in that scenario.
 

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My sister thinks like your husband, and I think like you. I've not ridden alone often, but thought nothing of it until talking with my sister about how nice my ride was. Her response was to tell me how foolish I was to ride alone...' if you fell off and were unconscious it might be hours or days until someone found you'. I did have the presence of mind to tell a friend what time I was riding out, where I was, and to raise an alarm if she didn't hear back from me in 4 hours...for a 2 hour ride. That wasn't good enough for Sister....'if you have a broken neck or a bleed, and no one looks for you until after 4 hours, you could die before they find you". Sigh.....All true, but there is risk inherent in anything we do...I could go off the road on a rural road and be in a ditch and not found for hours. I have only ridden once alone since Sister told me how FOOLISH I was, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much,,,I kept thinking how I'd never hear the end of it from her if something happened and I lived thru it. Guess she has me spooked about it now. I did post on here pretty much like you are now, after I was told how foolish I was. Can't remember all the responses, u probably will get about the same results and I will follow this thread as well. I think the bottom line is for each of to decide if the risk is worth it, and to minimize the risk as best we can if we decide to do it....wear a helmet, have a cellphone on us , not on the saddle, tell people where and when. I dunno, Sister spooked me pretty badly.
 

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I've debated this a LOT lately. Not for a lack of having riding partners, but because I realllly want to see how Mr. Trigger will act in a setting where it's just him and me, away from home, with no barn, no pasture buddies, to hurry back to.


There's pros and cons to it... I am VERY close to trying it, just to see how he does.



The way he's acted lately, I think we'd do just fine, maybe better than ever. Maybe WORSE than ever if we ride up on another group, and he tries to stay with the group. I'll have a fight on my hands. I know how to deal with his spastic self these days but anything can happen.


I'd make sure I rode where I had a solid cell signal, keep my phone and a good knife on my belt, not in the saddle bags, and expect the best but be prepared for the worst and adjust accordingly. Let your spouse know when you arrive at the trail head if you haul away from home, let them know when you're about to ride out, when you take a break on the trail, when you head back to the trailer, and when you're loaded and heading home.
 

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Hmm...I never thought of riding alone as unusual. I'd say I'm out alone on rural roads/trails 80% of the time I ride. There are some woods trails I don't tend to go if I'm by myself because the footing can be tricky (feels more risky) but there are other places I don't mind. If I didn't ride alone, I'd only ride on the weekend! Generally if I go out alone and no one is home, I will text my husband when I'm leaving with a rough plan for where I'll be, and text him again when I'm back. I use an app where he is added as a user and can log in and generally see where I am (though unfortunately most places I ride, we don't have cell service so it would be a rough approximation of the trail/road I've taken). So to answer your question, yes, the vast majority of my trail miles are solo.
 

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There are riding apps that will send a distress signal to alert someone if you have not moved for a set amount of time. There are inherent risks in riding and any other sport. You have to determine if you are willing to accept those risks. I trailer out and ride alone a lot. I do not have the vision limitations you do and cannot say if I would ride that way or not. It really is a personal choice. You should walk the trail you plan to ride on with your hubby - if there is a spot he can park the car near to watch out for you then that would help ease his mind. Being familiar with the trail on foot may help your confidence level as well. I personally do not ride a horse I would trust to carry me safely on a technical trail if she did not have me to help her navigate. Don't get me wrong she is a lovely horse but seems to have no sense of self preservation! She will gait or walk down the steepest hills with not a second glance and go between trees that only allow for her and not for my knees - so I need to help her "choose" her trail for my safety in mind
 

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I ride alone often in the spring/summer/fall. I always go to the same park and my husband knows I'm going and when to expect me back. Thankfully there's only 9 miles of trails there ( a 6 mile loop and a 3 mile loop that I almost always do in the same order) so he should be able to find me pretty quickly if something were to happen. I only ride 2 (possibly 3 this year as my 4 year old has been proving herself pretty reliable) of our horses alone which are generally the more trustworthy ones. I do wear an Apple Watch that has fall detection on it which should presumably attempt to call emergency services if it detects a fall and no motion afterwards. Obviously it's not fail safe, but it is a nice accessory to have.

My husband also rides our horses alone but always tells me when/where he's going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My sister thinks like your husband, and I think like you. I've not ridden alone often, but thought nothing of it until talking with my sister about how nice my ride was. Her response was to tell me how foolish I was to ride alone...' if you fell off and were unconscious it might be hours or days until someone found you'. I did have the presence of mind to tell a friend what time I was riding out, where I was, and to raise an alarm if she didn't hear back from me in 4 hours...for a 2 hour ride. That wasn't good enough for Sister....'if you have a broken neck or a bleed, and no one looks for you until after 4 hours, you could die before they find you". Sigh.....All true, but there is risk inherent in anything we do...I could go off the road on a rural road and be in a ditch and not found for hours. I have only ridden once alone since Sister told me how FOOLISH I was, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much,,,I kept thinking how I'd never hear the end of it from her if something happened and I lived thru it. Guess she has me spooked about it now. I did post on here pretty much like you are now, after I was told how foolish I was. Can't remember all the responses, u probably will get about the same results and I will follow this thread as well. I think the bottom line is for each of to decide if the risk is worth it, and to minimize the risk as best we can if we decide to do it....wear a helmet, have a cellphone on us , not on the saddle, tell people where and when. I dunno, Sister spooked me pretty badly.
Yeah, way to ruin someone's equilibrium hey? :) Hope you find your inner balance again! And me too.
 
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I prefer to ride alone for the peace and connection to nature. As an older rider, my bushwhacking days are gone, if my younger self saw my older self riding I'd be floored! I feel that the benefits to health - mental and physical - are worth the risks.

Yes, walk the path with your hubby. Be prudent, and get a feel of what your horse likes and dislikes about the trail. Some horses will run home if you fall off, some will take off to parts unknown, some will just stick with you. All these things will dictate how you go about it, but yes, it's well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've debated this a LOT lately. Not for a lack of having riding partners, but because I realllly want to see how Mr. Trigger will act in a setting where it's just him and me, away from home, with no barn, no pasture buddies, to hurry back to.


There's pros and cons to it... I am VERY close to trying it, just to see how he does.



The way he's acted lately, I think we'd do just fine, maybe better than ever. Maybe WORSE than ever if we ride up on another group, and he tries to stay with the group. I'll have a fight on my hands. I know how to deal with his spastic self these days but anything can happen.


I'd make sure I rode where I had a solid cell signal, keep my phone and a good knife on my belt, not in the saddle bags, and expect the best but be prepared for the worst and adjust accordingly. Let your spouse know when you arrive at the trail head if you haul away from home, let them know when you're about to ride out, when you take a break on the trail, when you head back to the trailer, and when you're loaded and heading home.

Well, I'm just riding on the farm where my lease horse is boarded. The trails are not extensive. I've been told it's about 45 minutes if you do the entire trail circuit. But it IS dense woods, unless I ride the edge--along the edge of the woods and hay fields. There is not much cell service out there at the farm in general, so that's why we got the walkie talkies, which are working great for communicating between the arena, barn and car. Don't know if you know, but i'm legally blind and can't drive anymore so my husband is always on property with me b/c he drives me.

I think small visits to the trail to see how the horse does and how far the walkie talkie range is would be ideal here. Ride to the trail head--callback to hubby. Ride 10 minutes in and come back--do more the next time, etc. My horse has never been on these trails either because she was new to this barn last Summer and no one was riding her then. I hand walked her on the trail in early October (when I didn't know they were closed), but only about 10 minutes in b/c of mud. That's all we've seen. And hubby was along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great responses! Thanks everyone. I look forward to reading more. I'm realizing that yes, there's a risk, but these are not extensive trails. My hsuband and I can walk them together--with horse in hand (then WE get some exercise too) so we know the layout. He can come looking if I'm not back in an hour. The car is parked only a few minutes walk from the trail head. And if the walkies reach each other the whole way, then I can just keep checking in. :) I'm sure we'll talk about it more. It really does help to hear other people's experiences and thoughts on this!
 
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Great responses! Thanks everyone. I look forward to reading more. I'm realizing that yes, there's a risk, but these are not extensive trails. My hsuband and I can walk them together--with horse in hand (then WE get some exercise too) so we know the layout. He can come looking if I'm not back in an hour. The car is parked only a few minutes walk from the trail head. And if the walkies reach each other the whole way, then I can just keep checking in. :) I'm sure we'll talk about it more. It really does help to hear other people's experiences and thoughts on this!
I think your above plan is excellent. Take it slow and see how the horse does. Maybe walk the trails first with the horse and hubby. Or, you can ride and hubby walks along. If no issues, then next time he can stay behind and you can try a short solo ride and keep in touch by walkie talkie. But make sure the horse is calm about it first. Because you don't need any accidents.

I ride alone quite a bit, at least 1/2 the time, because I only have one or two other people to ride with and they can't always go. I prefer to go with someone because I love talking horses with a captive audience, but riding alone is good too!

To me, the most important thing is having a horse I can trust. I trust my current horse. If you have total trust in your horse, riding alone is fun. If you have some fear, it can be a nightmare. I had the most beautiful, big, sturdy young gelding I raised from a foal and I ended up rehoming him at about age 8 because I just didn't feel safe on him. His only fault was an occasional spook, but after coming off him several times I began to dread riding him and rides were scary instead of fun or relaxing.

So.....make sure the horse is reliable going out without another horse and isn't spooky. Any horse CAN spook, but some are more prone to it than others. I like the idea of you riding and hubby walking just to see how the horse is out on the trails. And then, if she proves reliable, try it with hubby waiting nearby.

I always carry a cell phone on my body and let my family know when I am going. If the don't hear back in a couple of hours, they usually call to check on me. Then, when I get back home, I always call from the barn to say I am home so they don't worry, because I usually take even more time to unsaddle, groom, and sometimes feed or do other chores. I do wear a helmet. I know it can be argued how much good they do, but I would be wearing a hat anyway, so I might as well wear something that helps protect my head.

If I ever did come off and get badly injured, finding me may not be quick because there is a lot of land out back and I ride all over the place. They might have to call a friend who knows the trails to help find me because my family aren't horse people and haven't been out in the woods a whole lot. But if I trust the horse (which I do) I LOVE riding out in the woods, even alone. Sometimes I will pack some snacks and have a "picnic" with my horse, things we can both share, like apples, tangerines, carrots, etc. :Angel:
 

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This might sound obvious, but test the walkies talkies around your horse from the ground first, then when seated in the saddle, and then finally when you're out in the open riding. I don't know how modern systems work but I'm picturing the old ones we had as kids that beep and squeak and static a lot. Don't want to catch her by surprise if you make a strange noise when she's in a new environment.
 

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I always ride alone. Whether I'm just riding in the pasture, or field, or on the trails. I'm just used to it. I don't have anyone to ride with, so I always venture out alone. I do keep my phone on me, & if I go on a big trail, I make sure my BF has my location (I can set my phone to send my location to him) in case I were to have any issues.

I enjoy riding alone because I don't have to worry about anyone else/their horse & it's just peaceful. But some horses do better in groups, my mare is fine alone OR in groups, but just be sure the horse has the confidence to go out alone. It can take time.
 

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Over the years, if I didn't want to ride alone I would not have done much riding. In fact I would rather ride alone than with some people that I have ridden with in the past, with them, riding alone would be the safer option.
Now in my old age I am fussy about who I ride with as I am not interested in careening about the countryside at top speed;

I ride with my sister most but often alone as I ride more than she does. She know all the trails I would take and if she is home I will tell her which direction I will be heading for. I now carry a cell phone with me and I have a first aid pouch attached to the pommel of the saddle.

In my younger days I never even thought of safety until I was riding an extremely spooky horse that had dumped so many riders that if I couldn't do something with him, he was headed for the knackers as the owner was afraid he might kill someone or injure them badly. At that time I was living alone so I started to take I.D. and hospital info with me. I also left a note on the table where I was going in case I didn't return home.

As others have said take a cell phone or your walkie talkie and it seems your husband is supportive and will be around when you ride and if you are only on a certain part of land and a 45 min ride you should be ok. Is your horse a dependable type that is not into bad spooking or bad behavior when you are out by yourself? This would be important for your peace of mind while riding.

good luck and many pleasant rides to you.
 

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I've always ridden alone more than with someone else. Used to have a neighbor lady that I rode with but, she has got out of horses. Never really felt it was any more dangerous by myself than with others. I guess I have been spoiled by having some pretty good mounts. Closest I've ever came to getting thrown riding was when I spooked some deer once at a neighbors and after they took off I decided to chase them. Nudged my yellow horse and the race was on, all was good till we caught them and when she got a nose full of whitetail deer she broke from a run into a pretty good bucking fit. LOL, still remember that as a lot of fun.
 

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99% of my riding is alone. I always carry my cell phone with me (on me, not the horse) and both hubby and I have the "find my iPhone app". If I am laying unconscious somewhere, as long as I am in service, he can "find my iPhone" to locate me.



He also knows when I am riding, when I expect to be back, etc. This year will be new territory for us b/c I will have the horses at home for the first time! I probably won't always tell him where I am riding, but there's only so many places I can go.



Yes, there is risk. But I'm okay with that.
 

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Well, I'm just riding on the farm where my lease horse is boarded. The trails are not extensive. I've been told it's about 45 minutes if you do the entire trail circuit. But it IS dense woods, unless I ride the edge--along the edge of the woods and hay fields. There is not much cell service out there at the farm in general, so that's why we got the walkie talkies, which are working great for communicating between the arena, barn and car. Don't know if you know, but i'm legally blind and can't drive anymore so my husband is always on property with me b/c he drives me.

I think small visits to the trail to see how the horse does and how far the walkie talkie range is would be ideal here. Ride to the trail head--callback to hubby. Ride 10 minutes in and come back--do more the next time, etc. My horse has never been on these trails either because she was new to this barn last Summer and no one was riding her then. I hand walked her on the trail in early October (when I didn't know they were closed), but only about 10 minutes in b/c of mud. That's all we've seen. And hubby was along.

I think little rides out and back would be a perfect way to test things out. I'm wondering if there's such a think as hands free type walkie talkies, like a blue tooth. I'm guessing you wear a helmet to ride, right? Wondering if there's something like a blu tooth that would strap onto your helmet?


Also wondering if they make a safety alert thing... IDK... now I'm thinking about Life Alert for Equestrians... HELP I'VE FALLEN and can't get up!



I'm just spitballing here... seems like there should be something not cell phone dependent, y'know? Someone needs to get on this and invent it!
 

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Same here, more often than not it’s alone. In addition to letting someone know where and when I also take our GSD with me. He’s intimidating enough that would make people think twice about approaching too close. A horse I trust. And a riding tracker which also shows my location to my husband.

The more you ride the trail, the more comfortable you’ll get. Try shorter rides at first and only go further when you’re ready.

For me a lot depends on the weather and the feel i get from my horse, as far as how far I venture out.
 

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Is horseback riding just one of those things where you know it comes with inherent risks and you accept them and carry on?
Ever since I was a child, I have ridden alone, long before there were cell phones. It never occurred to me to tell someone where I was going. I still ride alone quite a bit, and one of my horses can spook big. I've had long walks home a couple of times, and a few injuries. I figure it just comes with riding.
 
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