Published in the August 2008, edition of the Western Horse Review.
Allan Johnson of Rocky Mountain Outfitting, Springbank, Alberta, offers this checklist of seven essential items to prepare you for the unexpected on a trail ride.
1. First Aid Kit including such items as bandages, wraps, disinfectant, scissors, etc.
2. A good quality, multi-purpose knife. Look for one with a variety of built-in tools and always keep your blades sharp and in good repair.
3. Maps and GPS are important for mapping out where you are going. Inform someone back home of your planned route and when you expect to be off the trail. If you get lost, don’t take short cuts – stick to the trail.
4. Cell phone, carry one and be mindful of its range. If you plan to trail ride in isolated areas out of cell range, it may be wise to invest in a satellite phone.
5. Matches/Lighter come in handy if you need to start a fire (where permitted).
6. Saddle bags are essential. They will keep your stuff safe, dry and secure. Ensure to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. Your horse will thank you for it!
7. Rain gear: a ¾ length or longer oil skin slicker will keep you and your saddle dry. A waterproof hat also comes in handy.