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How to get more people intereseted in trail riding?

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  • How to get more people intereseted in trail riding?

    Hello,
    I am part of a local horse club that has many different divisions ranging from English to western to trail. However, our trail division is failing. Most rides only see 2-4 riders if at all.
    Is there any fun things to do to get more people coming out to these rides?
    We are planning on doing a poker run later in the summer.
    Thanks for your help

  • #2
    If your only goal is to increase participation, get in touch with one of your local, horse-related non-profits and see if they would be interested in your club sponsoring a benefit ride. You increase your numbers and they get help with their expenses.

    Comment


    • #3
      I can tell you what brings a crowd for my Driving Club:
      Potluck lunch

      Everyone brings a dish to share.
      Coffee & donuts start the day.
      We drive, feast & drive again.

      Favorite spots are a local arboretum (where we are the only horses allowed) & a historic homestead of several hundred acres that keeps trails groomed for riders & drivers.
      Club members with acreage also host drives.
      We attend The National Drives - where riders are welcome - as a group too.

      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the trail rides with fewer horses are more fun because the horses tend to be calmer.

        In fact, looking back I don't know why we even wanted to go on those huge rides in which a lot of the horses would get all worked up?

        True that the potlucks were more fun with more riders, but we had potlucks at our meetings so really didn't need a big group of horses to go trail riding.

        The advantage to the group was that we took turns leading the rides on our own trails, so got to go ride in lots of different places with guides who knew where they were going.

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        • #5
          I got my own rig two years ago and I haul out to local trails in the summer. My preference is to ride with one other person that I know, trust, and like to spend time with ( several meet this criteria) and who is at a comparable level of stamina and bravery.

          I don't participate in any group rides with people I don't already know. It doesn't feel safe or fun to me. And it's too hard to accommodate different skill levels in a large group.

          Before I had my own rig, the thing that would have encouraged me to trail ride would have been someone organizing transport!

          Anyhow, is the problem that no one in your area trail rides, or is it that noone who trail rides, joins your association and goes on your rides?

          We have a provincial Backcountry Horseman's Association that has local chapters everywhere and does great work in trail maintenance and advocacy, both in suburbs and up in the bush and ranch country. I would say there is not a lot of crossover between the dedicated trail riders and the show disciplines.

          Anyhow if you want to pull the back country trail riders out of the woodwork, you might consider clinics or workshops or lectures they'd find interesting.

          Trail obstacles. First aid for human and horse in the bush. Working with pack horses and mules. Fitness conditioning for the trail horse (maybe given by an endurance rider). Basic dressage for opening gates.etc.

          You might also work on getting the show horse members relaxed on the trails. Maybe have a day of Trail 101 for show horses, led by someone on an unflappable ranch horse.


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          • #6
            From the things I hear around my neck of the woods the large group rides end up being a dangerous, drunken affair.

            Small , intimate groups of like minded riders might be the way to go.

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            • #7
              I'm a very avid trail rider (I go out almost every day) but I HATE group rides. I will only go if it's a charity ride for a good cause or a new unmapped place that I want to learn the trails for. If it's going to be a yahoo ride and people are going to be out there drinking and smoking and out of control- nope, not happening. So basically if I'm going to do a group ride, I'll look at who is organizing it and if they require helmets, waivers, etc. And I'm the opposite of the previous poster, potlucks are a big turn off. I do not want to eat random food made by strangers lol!
              If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Anna.m View Post
                Hello,
                I am part of a local horse club that has many different divisions ranging from English to western to trail. However, our trail division is failing. Most rides only see 2-4 riders if at all.
                Is there any fun things to do to get more people coming out to these rides?
                We are planning on doing a poker run later in the summer.
                Thanks for your help
                If you're trying to get horse show people to come to trail rides, I can't think of many groups were that works well. Even if it's just an association or Saddle Club type of group, the horse show folks oftentimes don't see themselves as Trail Riders and may not enjoy or like riding the trails.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have ridden alone more often than not.

                  Imhave ridden with close friends, ranging from two to six horses/riders.

                  i have ridden on organized rides with 50+ horses.

                  I have ridden in groups as large as 299 horses (at least that was the head count. The ONLY reason I was able to tolerate those big rides was because my beloved horse was a fast moving power house, who always came back to camp with more energy than most horses left with. That means we were in the top 10-15 riders all day long. I didn't have to put up with people who were more interested in looking like they stepped out of Western Horseman than knowing how to ride safely & politely.

                  yes, there are the drinkers but I have to say, that was always less of an issue and I consider myself lucky. I have heard some real nightmare stories from friends.

                  If 2-3 horse and riders is all that consistently go out on the trail --- let it go at that

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks for your input!

                    We are a group that does mostly shows, but our trail ride division used to have about 50 riders coming. In the past few years, the division numbers have majorly dwindled to the point where we are discussing cutting the division. Just looking for ways to bring people back out so we don't have to lose it. The rides are free (you just have to be a club member or purchase a day pass membership) but there is a prize at the end for the rider who does the most trail rides in the year. And each trail ride counts as points to an overall versatility award.
                    We do not allow drinking, and there are designated smoking spots so there is no smoking on the trail. We also do not tolerate any racing or unsafe riding.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anna.m View Post
                      Thanks for your input!

                      We are a group that does mostly shows, but our trail ride division used to have about 50 riders coming. In the past few years, the division numbers have majorly dwindled to the point where we are discussing cutting the division. Just looking for ways to bring people back out so we don't have to lose it. The rides are free (you just have to be a club member or purchase a day pass membership) but there is a prize at the end for the rider who does the most trail rides in the year. And each trail ride counts as points to an overall versatility award.
                      We do not allow drinking, and there are designated smoking spots so there is no smoking on the trail. We also do not tolerate any racing or unsafe riding.
                      Those actually sound like the type of rides I would go on Where are you located out of curiosity?
                      If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Be careful what you wish for.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post

                          Those actually sound like the type of rides I would go on Where are you located out of curiosity?
                          Were located in Ontario Canada.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Anna.m View Post

                            Were located in Ontario Canada.
                            Darn- that would be quite a haul from Maryland lol!!
                            If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Anna.m What you describe is not what I meant to convey.
                              Our drives (with or without riders) are purely social. No competitive aspect at all.
                              Even timed/scored events at National Drives (Cones or Driven Dressage) are done just in the spirit of fun.

                              Sorry I had nothing to offer that might attract riders seeking points/recognition for the ride.
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Anna.m View Post
                                Thanks for your input!

                                We are a group that does mostly shows, but our trail ride division used to have about 50 riders coming. In the past few years, the division numbers have majorly dwindled to the point where we are discussing cutting the division. Just looking for ways to bring people back out so we don't have to lose it. The rides are free (you just have to be a club member or purchase a day pass membership) but there is a prize at the end for the rider who does the most trail rides in the year. And each trail ride counts as points to an overall versatility award.
                                We do not allow drinking, and there are designated smoking spots so there is no smoking on the trail. We also do not tolerate any racing or unsafe riding.
                                You really need to ask those 50 why they aren't there anymore. Just ask. I have done AQHA rides that were like forced marches- outriders with radios zipping up and down the string of nose to tail all one speed horses. Gross. I've done fun and enjoyable and very popular fundraising rides where there were drawings for prizes at X time, hot dogs for a dollar, and here's a map, go have fun on 1800 beautiful acres. Not Gross.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, ask the folks that were mainstays back then.

                                  Indeed OP or other club members may know the answer. It could be some key members retired, moved away, or joined another riding club that better meets their needs. It could be there was personal drama. Nothing like a good messy affair and divorce among members to bust up a social group.

                                  Or did the club not meet the perceived needs of members? What came first, losing 50 members or scalimg back on events?

                                  After doing some organizational soul searching, two more questions.

                                  My first question would be: is trail riding on the decline in your area because horse ownership or trail access is declining?

                                  If not, my second question would be, ate trail riders joining a rival organization that better meets their needs?

                                  This is really a market research problem. Do potential customers exust? If yes, do they want or need your service? If yes, what is your organization doing to drive them away?

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