Generally trail riding at night is a bad idea. But sometimes you get caught out on trail after the sun goes down or you just can't resist a ride under a full moon. Here are a few suggestions that may increase your safety when trail riding at night.
- Review trail safety rules. These basic guidelines will help you stay safe (and have fun) night or day.
- Carry a flashlight. Headlamps (Buy It Now) can be worn on helmets. Sometimes headlamps and flashlights make it harder to see at night, rather that easier. Use your judgment, especially if you have to find trail markers, or check if the footing is safe.
- Avoid riding on roadsides. The bright headlights of cars can be blinding and upsetting for horses. And, in reduced visibility, drivers may not be able to see you as easily.
- Wear brightly colored and reflective clothing. At least wear light colored clothing. A lot of riding gear and clothing is being made with highly reflective strips sewn on. Or, try a reflective vest, which may also come in handy when trail riding during hunting season .
- Walk. At a faster pace, hazards such as bad footing can come up faster and low tree branches may not be visible.
- Stay in the open where the light is best. Sometimes riding through a forest trail is unavoidable, but if you can, stay out in the open where you and your horse can see best.
- Don't ride alone. A buddy can help everyone stay more secure and provide extra eyes when the light is poor.
- Stay together. Many horses dislike being on trail alone. Alone in the dark can be even scarier.
- Stay on known trails. Night time is not the time to go exploring. Stay where you know the footing and the hazards and are least likely to run into 'surprises'.