View Full Version : Favorite trail essentials/goodies??

Sep. 10, 2007, 12:26 PM
Hello all!!

For my mom's birthday, I'm completely outfitting her for trail riding. We plan to do some big LONG trips in the future, but as it is, she hasn't been on even an afternoon trail ride in twenty years, and it's been about two years for my short trips out. But, in the spirit of giving, going overboard, and having fun, I'm getting her all SORTS of stuff!

Top two on my wanted list right now - what are your recommendations for saddle pads (western) and cinches? I want something shock absorbing and cushy, but don't want extra hot, pinching, or nasty when when wet ;)

After that...what are some of your favorite goodies, must haves, or indespensible items while out on the trail?? I'm planning on stuffing the saddle bags I bought her, but so far I've just got a Trail Rider magazine and a book of Michigan trails! :lol:

Sep. 10, 2007, 12:59 PM
Very nice idea!

My most essential take along, be it for short trail rides or long, is a cell phone pouch that I attach to my belt loop (not my horse or his packs) that holds my phone, a hoof pick, and my car key. That way, on the chance that I get stranded, I've got phone (My horse, three horses ago, used to do this to me regularly. He's retired now. :D).

For our packs, we always have a small bottle of bug spray, a small pair of branch clippers (we ride the same trails regularly, so we clear along the way), some sort of beverage and those little packs of peanut butter crackers (peanut butter is my miracle food). If we're going on a really long ride we bring a sponge so if it's hot, we can cool off the boys at a stream.

We also bring at least one crop, so whoever is in lead can swat away the spider webs. I really wish someone would come up with some sort of web blaster! :winkgrin:

Dapple Dawn Farm
Sep. 10, 2007, 01:28 PM
gatorade for me and a crochet (sp.?) fly mask for my horse...as well as a cell phone for emergencies

Sep. 10, 2007, 01:55 PM
Toilet paper or tissue for when nature calls;)

I am not an endurance rider or anything, just enjoy doing long trail rides. I carry the following :

Small first aid kit
hoof pick
small bug spray
sun block (I'm a red head and forever getting burned)
Tube of Electrolytes
Something small for me to eat
cookies or carrots for my horse
Fly mask for me
Fly mask for my horse
Bottle of water
Collapsable bucket (actually got a small camping sink that folds down really tiny) could use gallon size plastic bag as well. This is in case the only water on the trail is inaccessable to the horses.
Lead rope
Cell phone
sponge if it is a really hot day
cheap rain poncho
maps of the area that I am riding
clippers to trim overgrown trails and a tiny folding saw

I think that is about it. It's amazing what you can jam into a cantle bag and not have it be heavy.

I encourage my friends who need them to carry inhalers or epi pens.

For saddle pads I use a Saddleright pad with a liner. When I have money (yeah right) I want a Dixie Midnight pad to replace the liner.

Oh and these are super comfy!! http://www.bygayle.com/seatsaver/horse_seat.html

Sep. 10, 2007, 04:04 PM
You've gotten some great ideas already, but I just wanted to add that the most important item ever for shorter (1-4 hrs) trail rides is a water bottle holder. I have a saddle bag too, but I find that I rarely use it for day rides, as I can fit the essentials and a bottle of water in one of these, and it isn't in my way at all. http://www.bigdweb.com/WATER_BOTTLE_HOLDER_CLIP_ON_P13642.cfm

Sep. 10, 2007, 04:31 PM
I thought of something else that's not pricey -- how about putting a neon orange vest in it too, to wear during hunting season? I actually have a neon orange helmet cover for hunting season. My SO calls me "pumpkin head." :lol: It's hideous, but it works!

Sep. 10, 2007, 05:26 PM
Thanks everyone!! I actually did get her a nice insulated water bottle holder. No orange vest yet, but I DID make us a few blaze orange quarter sheets, and we've got jingle bells/rhythm beads too. A 14 hand Haflinger...heck, even I'D probably think she looks like a deer through a site!

Please keep the ideas coming...I'm having too much fun with this!

Sep. 11, 2007, 10:41 AM
Trail pads really depend on how your saddle fits. I have different ones for each horse. My old QH has a very thick and cushy one. My freisian cross has a felt pad, not too thick. I use a rope cinch, because it breathes. Neither of my horses have to be cinched up tight, as they have great withers. Be careful of the neoprene ones as they can gall the horse easily.
I have saddle bags in the back, and a water bottle that clips to the buckle on the front side of my western saddle. One of the most important things to remember is to distribute the weight on both sides as evenly as you can. I bought a really cool pad that fits between my dessage saddle and the dressage pad. It has clips on all four corners and strings, so I can ride on the trail in that saddle, if I want to...There is so much stuff out there...have fun!!

Sep. 11, 2007, 10:45 AM
VERY important to have orange or bright red during hunting season.....good idea...!!!

I thought of something else that's not pricey -- how about putting a neon orange vest in it too, to wear during hunting season? I actually have a neon orange helmet cover for hunting season. My SO calls me "pumpkin head." :lol: It's hideous, but it works!

Sep. 11, 2007, 01:25 PM
A plastic "red heart" dog tag for the horse's bridle. I have one on each of my breast plates for foxhunting and endurance use. The tag contains my farm name, address, and phone number. Even though it has never happened that one of guys has parted company with me out on the trail, if it ever does happen, I won't have to worry. Their home is only a phone call away.

I've got these too, except mine are bright yellow. Gives me peace of mind.

Sep. 11, 2007, 06:15 PM
I know there are some people who claim that these pads irritate their horses, but a must for me is the weird looking rubbery textured pad for under your good pad. They keep the good pads completely dry and clean. It took me awhile to buy one because it didnt look like something you'd want to put on your horse's skin, but I've done 65s with them in the heat with no problem. Dixie Midnight is one expensive brand name and places like Country Supply have cheaper imitation ones for like $40. I've used mine on 3 different horses for 3 years now and have never, I mean never, had to wash my $200 Equipedic pad.

Sep. 11, 2007, 06:22 PM
Dixie Midnight Pad or the knock-off sold by Country Supply (search for vent pad or no-sweat pad)

Sep. 11, 2007, 07:00 PM
wow...what a ton of great ideas! I would be careful with the treeless saddles, though. Make sure they really work with your horse. Because there is no tree, the weight distribution can be a problem for some horses. Not all, of course, and the people they work for swear by them....just be cautious...try one for a while, if you can, before buying...

I think this is such a sweet idea! Your mother is going to love this! :D

More gift ideas:

A cheapo plastic rain poncho. Indispensible when the weather turns wet and nasty...and that can happen in the blink of an eye out on trail! You can get them for a few bucks, small enough to squish in a pocket. I have a breathable fabric raincoat called a "pocket raincoat" that folds in on itself to stuff into one of it's own pockets! I came with a clip for hanging on the saddle, and more than once I'm am SO glad I had it along with me.

A GPS unit. Expensive, yes... but such fun toy to have on the trail to know your miles, your speed, etc.

Endurance clip ends for reins. There is nothing nicer than being able to quickly clip, or unclip, your rein ends to convert your reins to a long lead rope. No need to throw reins over horse's head anymore -- simply clip/unclip.

Small pruning nippers for cutting back brush/prickers. I *always* pack along my set of pruning nippers. You'd be surprised at how handy they come in when something nasty and prickery decides the night before to block your way. Save your fingers and hands from being pricked and hurt. One quick snip of the nippers... and you're on your way once again.

A plastic "red heart" dog tag for the horse's bridle. I have one on each of my breast plates for foxhunting and endurance use. The tag contains my farm name, address, and phone number. Even though it has never happened that one of guys has parted company with me out on the trail, if it ever does happen, I won't have to worry. Their home is only a phone call away.

Bright colored riding gloves. Easy to see, easy to find. No more hunting in the grass to find them, or searching the barn to find where you've thrown them. They stand out like a beacon. And you always know they're yours -- who else would wear neon blue, passion purple, or "kiss me" red riding gloves? Besides, they look so cool out on the trail!

Treeless saddle. If you seriously expect to do some long hours, or multiple days, in the saddle trail riding, take a hint from endurance riders and consider a treeless. They are incredibly comfortable - heads and tails above any treed saddle -- for both human and horse, and make the hours of riding just a joy to be in the saddle. You can get them in western models. Recommendations (that have western models) are Barefoot, Sensation, Bob Marshall.


Sep. 11, 2007, 07:17 PM
I also carry a bear bell and pepper spray. But if you're not where that's a problem, not necessary. Actually, the pepper spray is for protection from drunken hunters this time of year, sadly.

And I carry duct tape and some rolled up baling twine. You'd be amazed at the many uses for twine in a pinch. Saddle ties, a rein, even used it once as a sling.

I carry a whistle and a small mirror, too, in case I get lost and can then signal rescuers.

Sep. 11, 2007, 07:51 PM
Wool saddle covers such as "Lady Godiva" ones my daughter got me for Mother's Day for the RIDER are lovely:


They come in both English and western styles, full or partial saddle covers.

Also a tush pad to put under the saddle cover really makes the ride softer (another very nice gift from my daughter). Long Riders Gear has these as well as full and partial saddle covers:


Rope halters are nice to put under the bridle unless you have one of those convertible bridles.

Bank of Dad
Sep. 11, 2007, 11:08 PM
I have this small plastic covered wire coiled cable sort of dog lease that I clip one end on to the saddle, and then the other end on the reins when the horse is drinking or standing in a stream. It prevents the reins from falling over their head or in the water. I unclip it when we ride off.

Sep. 11, 2007, 11:13 PM
Yikes - good ideas everyone. I want a daughter like you!! Well, I have one, actually, but this tops everything! I like Medjool dates and mixed nuts. Also a Leatherman.

Sep. 12, 2007, 10:04 AM
I like the spur strap idea!! Thanks!!! I've been looking for something to use to tie my rain coat on with.

Sep. 12, 2007, 11:14 AM
Thought I would post my favorite place to get "dog tags". They have plastic ones that hold up really well. The name doesn't wear off like a metal one will.


Sep. 12, 2007, 12:26 PM
Thanks so much everyone!!

So here's the contents of the back of my car thus far:

Circle Y Park and Trail - the saddle she wanted
Tucker breastcollar - the type that goes over the neck too
Tucker crupper
I went with a 100% mohair string cinch (with roller buckles!!) - it's what I've always used and I love it, so I stuck with it and bought her one ;)
Nylon saddle cover (with stirrups exposed, so she can ride in it)
Insulated saddle bags
Cantle bag
Horn bag
Insulated water bottle holder on a clip
Trail Rider Magazine
A Trail/Packing how-to book (has lots of knots, how to set up camp, stuff like that)
A book of Michigan Trails
I bought one of those 3-ring nylon/see-through plastic pencil cases (sort of like this, but not quite (http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&splCatType=0&catalogId=10051&productId=149491&cmArea=SC1:CG821:CL141253)) and put it on a caribiner hook to clip to a D-ring....figure she could put a trail map in it and be able to see the map, the but the pouch is waterproof.
Sponge and sweat scraper
Hoof pick
Some human and equine first aid supplies in a pouch, along with bug spray and sun block
Blaze orange quarter sheet
Rhythm beads/bells
Horse cookies
A pretzel/peanut trail mix she likes

I'm going to order a few "dog tags" to put on various pieces of equipment.

Rope halter the pony has. Fly mask and ear net the pony has. For now she can use my tacky too pad....

Still shopping, of course. But I swear, she's not getting anything for Christmas!! :D I can't wait to hit the trails with her though!!

Fiat Lux
Sep. 12, 2007, 12:30 PM
Your mom is so blessed! Isn't it fun to just make someone's day in an overboard, over the top, totally excessive way? Have fun shopping!

Sep. 12, 2007, 02:06 PM
Man if you want anyone else to shop for, my favorite color is hunter green;):D

Sep. 12, 2007, 06:50 PM
Stirrup turners to save her knees! I use dog collars to turn my stirrups, but you can buy commercial stirrup turners.

How about a fly whisk or a fly mask that she can ride with?

Sep. 13, 2007, 12:02 AM
You've gotten a lot of great ideas, but here's one for what to wear for Mom...full seat boot cut pants/jods. I'm a re-rider also and coming back to riding felt loose and uncoordinated in the saddle. I know that feeling is only cured by more riding but I swear after I got the full seat jods (the leather patch went all the way down the leg to the ankle so no need for half chaps or tall boots) I felt like I was velcroed to the saddle! The boot cut also looked more flattering.

Sep. 16, 2007, 12:37 PM
Cashela: what size hearts do you get? I am going to get one for the bridle, the halter, and the breast collar. Thanks for the link!

Ironbessflint, I was going to add a portable hoof boot or repair kit in case you lose a shoe or have foot problems out on the trail.

Sep. 18, 2007, 11:06 AM
I actually got the large round ones, they show up great.

Sep. 18, 2007, 01:57 PM
One thing that I haven't seen anyone mention is a GOOD SHARP knife.

Also, you can get little *mini* rolls of Charmin at WalMart. :D

Sep. 18, 2007, 03:03 PM
You can actually get a mini Leatherman that comes with a tiny LED flashlight for about $20 in the Target camping section.

I don't know if someone already mentioned this, but I like to carry a compact waterproof fanny pack with a small human first aid kit, poncho, emergency blanket, waterproof matches, glow sticks, my Leatherman, my cell phone, lip balm, tylenol, benadryl, and a small roll of duct tape or electrical tape. That way if I get separated from my horse, everything I might need is on my person.

The one I have is by Eddie Bauer and it has pockets for extra water bottles as well. I think it was $19.99.

Sep. 18, 2007, 10:12 PM
Re. those tags... Back when I trail rode alone all the time, I used these: http://www.doggoneclean.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=160 Cheap, easy and they shrink up small enough not to be a bother where ever you clip them. I had one on my saddle, one on the bridle and one on me in case I got knocked out or disoriented.

Sep. 19, 2007, 05:50 PM
Thanks guys! I'll get those tags now!

Gaited gal
Sep. 21, 2007, 09:40 AM
I have a tag on my saddle with important phone numbers. I put it on the saddle because I figured it wouldn't take much to get the bridle off if the horse was loose. I hoped I would never need it but I fell off 2 weeks ago out on the trail. The women who found her only called the barn number and not my cell so when I got back to the barn and there was no horse I was worried she was wandering around the 1000 acres. I am going to get a new tag that has the barn address so if this should ever happen again they will know where to take her.

Mtn trails
Sep. 21, 2007, 01:12 PM
The 10 essentials:

1. Map
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2. Compass
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
3. Flashlight / Headlamp
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
4. Extra Food
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
5. Extra Clothes
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
6. Sunglasses
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
7. First-Aid Kit
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
8. Pocket Knife
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
9. Waterproof Matches
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
10. Firestarter
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I also carry a survival kit consisting of the above plus:

-Identification - an expired driver's license works
-waterproof notebook
-waterproof pen
-30 gallon size garbage bags for quick raingear or ground cloth
-survival blanket
-wool socks and wool sweater (wool pants are also good to have)
-granola bars - more than you think you need
-water purification tablets or small water filter
-nylon string

If space allows, I add a collapsable bucket and a survival type tarp with grommeted holes to tie down for shelter

I can pack everything except the socks and sweater into a pommel/horn bag and still have room leftover. Of course, ideally, these items should be carried on your person in a fannypack.

Have fun on the trails!