Horseback riding alone doesn’t appeal to everyone but for me it is a necessity. None, and I mean none, of my family rides or even shares my affinity for horses. I own only a single horse that lives alone on our personal farm. That means I don’t board anywhere that might have friends that I can ride with. Before you start to feel sorry for me it’s really okay. I’ve come to enjoy riding alone almost as much as when I am riding with friends. When I do ride with friends we have a fantastic time traveling to horse shows and even trail riding together but the bottom line is that I do much of my riding alone.
There are those who advocate for only riding when there is at least someone else around, perhaps not a riding partner but at least on the same property as you. However, with my family’s widely varying schedules, if I waited for that to happen I might never get any time in the saddle at all. If you are like me and are forced to go it alone often, I’ve follow the tips below to keep me safe:
I let someone know when I’ll be riding.
That includes when I anticipate starting and ending my ride in addition to where I plan to ride. I include whether I’ll be riding in my arena or out trail riding around the farm. I don’t change those plans.
I keep my cell phone on me and not my horse.
Should my horse and I part company I don’t want to think about my cell phone riding off into the sunset without me. I want to be able to access it quickly call for help should I need it.
I stick to the familiar.
On days that I ride alone I don’t attempt anything too risky. These are not the days to introduce your horse, no matter how steady, to something you’ve never done before.
Don’t get distracted.
While it’s a good idea to stay focused whenever you are riding, it becomes even more important when you are riding alone. Stay in the moment. Don’t let your mind wander. Don’t make texts or accept phone calls while you are riding.
Make certain that your tack is in good repair.
Also a good idea whenever you are riding but critical when you ride alone. Accidents can happen.
Determine if your horse enjoys being solo.
Of course most horses don’t mind working alone in an arena but some aren’t quite as comfortable alone on the trail. While my own horse doesn’t mind it, determine if yours is comfortable with this scenario before heading out on the trail alone.
I wear a helmet.
Every time. Every ride. Period.
While these are my tips that I personally employ to keep safe while riding along, it’s important to remember that you should only ride alone if you feel completely safe in doing so. If for some reason you don’t feel completely safe, for example your horse isn’t yet trustworthy enough or perhaps on any given day is feeling particularly fresh, you should forgo riding alone until both of you are prepared. However, in most situations, by keeping these safety tips in mind you’ll be safer the next time you ride alone and if something unfortunate does happen you’ll be ready.