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Trail riders’ famous last words and other dos, don’ts and dilemmas.
By Jennifer Nice
The trail is washed out and impassable. Your friend’s horse is showing signs of heat stress. You have a sneaking suspicion that you are lost. It’s getting dark and your feet are killing you. These are some of the many predicaments that trail riders seem to get themselves into.
It’s not that trail riders are more accident-prone than other riders, but their sense of adventure does occasionally lead to perils and pitfalls. Here is some advice so you don’t find yourself uttering every trail rider’s famous last words: “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
You’re several hours into a ride and your feet are throbbing. You realize that it was a mistake to ride in a brand-new pair of boots. Your new jeans are making you wish you’d bought a roomier pair. What’s worse is you still have two hours of riding left. You’re so desperately uncomfortable that you would do almost anything to get out of the offending articles of clothing. What are your options?
Dismount and walk for a little while. You can also adjust the length of your stirrups to relieve the pressure on your feet, and some of the restriction of your tight new jeans.
You want to be adequately protected in both hot and cold weather, so choose your clothing carefully. Dress in layers that you can shed if necessary. Wear comfortable shoes that you have already broken in, with heels that are designed for riding so your feet won’t slip through the stirrups. Stories of riders who are critically—even fatally—injured as a result of getting a foot caught in a stirrup are all too common. You certainly don’t want to be one of the statistics. The same goes for riding helmets. The body heals; the brain doesn’t...
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