Riding your horse off-property can be a fantastic experience, and an opportunity to get away from the barn or arena and into nature (here’s five reasons why you should do it). But it’s imperative that you and your horse stay safe out in “the big, wide world”—if you’re not visible to cars, hunters, or other trail users, there can be unhappy consequences. Luckily, there is a variety of reflective tack and apparel that will help you and your horse stay visible while trail riding, whether during the day or at night.
Reflective Horse Tack
When it comes to high-visibility, more surface area is better. A reflective riding blanket or sheet is ideal, as it offers a lot of reflective coverage, without impeding your horse’s movement. Horze even offers a sheet that wraps around the horse for 360° visibility.
In addition to riding sheets, there is a multitude of smaller tack that will help your horse stand out in dim-light. From reflective halters to harnesses, protective boots and even tail guards, you can practically cover your horse from top-to-toe in reflective tack. While it may be excessive to use everything at once, outfitting your horse with several pieces in different places on their body is an effective way to increase their visibility. Stick to bright yellow or orange tack; if it has reflective patches or lights, then that’s even better.
If you’re not riding at night, but are trail riding during the day, it may suffice to select your tack wisely rather than use outright reflective gear. A bright, contrasting-colored saddle pad or protection boots can help you be spotted by other trail riders or pedestrians.
Another tip for riding in the woods is to add bells to your horse’s harness, warning hunters and walkers of your approach. Bells have the added benefit of alerting wildlife that you are in the area, making it less likely that you and your horse will be startled by deer or other animals.
Reflective Riding Apparel
Your own outfit can also add visibility to you and your horse. Before heading out on the trail, opt for a riding shirt that has light, noticeable colors like orange, yellow, or white. Some shirts include patches of reflective material – these will help show up in headlights if you will be riding in the near dark.
Finally, make sure you have a source of light in case you need it. A glow stick or three hung from your saddle can make you stand out in the dark, as well as providing you with a light source if you need one. A small flashlight or a helmet lamp is another great addition to your trail riding kit—just be aware that using one may impair your and your horse’s night vision; you may want to use it sparingly, or in mid- to low-light settings where the light will stand out extra to vehicles and other people.
Trail riding is an excellent way to get out and explore nature and your local area with your horse—but there are also dangers that you need to account for. Wearing high-visibility, reflective riding apparel and tack is a simple and effective way to make sure you and your horse stay safe and seen. Explore the full collection of reflective gear at equinavia.com.
Have you been trail riding in the dark before? What are your best tips & tricks for other riders? Let us know in the comments below!