Packing for Travel Riding Success

by Darley Newman
as seen on Equitrekking

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Going horseback riding on your next vacation? You may want to bring some special items with you on your trip. Here are some things to consider not leaving home without.

Hard sole shoes with a small heel will keep your foot from sliding through the stirrups and give you the proper support. If you purchase riding or cowboy boots make sure to break them in before you hit the trails.

Many ranches in the United States and Canada may be Western riding destinations, so a pair of jeans with some stretch, but without an inseam will do. The stretch is helpful when getting in and out of the saddle. Other items to consider are riding tights or breeches and chaps. Chaps protect your legs from brush and thorns, things prevalent along the trails in places like Arizona.

For long days in the saddle, consider wearing gloves or bring some with you in your daypack or saddlebag. Gloves help protect your hands from the sun, help you grip the reins and also help prevent a blister.

Sunscreen, sunglasses and lip balm
If you are going to be active outside, pack and/or lather on some sunscreen and lip balm with SPF. Get sweat proof sunscreen if you can. Nothing’s worse at the end of a day’s ride than finding out that you look like a tomato. I forgot about this one day in Ireland. I had imagined that the entire island would be under a constant cloud. Boy was I wrong. I ended the first day in the saddle more worried about my burnt skin than my sore bum.

An ASTM approved riding helmet protects your head on the trails. If you are riding a long distance, get a lightweight, vented helmet designed for long distance riding.

Rain gear
Look for lightweight rain gear that doesn’t rustle a whole lot when you are moving around, so that the noises that you are making in the saddle won’t bother your horse. When the sun takes a break and the clouds gush open, you’ll be happy you strapped a rain jacket to your saddle.

Warm or cool layers
For cooler weather rides, layers of fleece or wool will keep you cozy. Even on a warm day, it’s a good idea to bring a lightweight long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms from the sun and brush.

First aid kit
Where and for how long you’ll be riding will determine what you need to pack into your human and/or equine first aid kits. Always remember to bring any prescription medications on any of your travels.

Some other items to consider bringing on your trip are insect repellant, plastic bags to hold your muddy boots, water for you and your horse, snacks, maps, a wristwatch with an alarm and possibly a seat saver. This seat cushion fits onto your saddle and can make long days on the trails a bit more comfortable. Remember to pack lightly and smartly.

Keep it simple and practical and you’ll find happier and longer trails ahead.