Horse Trails for All Seasons

Trail riding on your property doesn't just have to be a summer pleasure. With the correct construction and maintenance, trails can be used year-round.
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snow trail ride from rear

Trail riding on your property doesn't just have to be a summer pleasure. With the correct construction and maintenance, trails can be used year-round.

When planning to build riding or obstacle trails on your property, it’s important to decide if the trails will remain open year-round or be off limits during certain seasons of the year. Evaluating the path for safety and your ability to maintain it during rainy and snowy seasons factor into the decision.

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Plenty of riders enjoy trail riding regardless of the season. Their skill level and comfort in on challenging obstacles or terrain dictates where they can or will ride. However, you might have to assess the skill level of your trail users and decide what is in their best interest from a safety standpoint.

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Before opening the trail for use in every season, look at the topography of your land and determine if any areas might become slippery or have unsafe footing. Depending on your trails, it could be possible to leave portions open and divert some trails to an alternative course until the ground dries out or becomes safer.

It’s also important to consider your ability to maintain a trail during a rainy or snowy season. If a user reports a downed tree or a washed out area, do you have the equipment and manpower to fix it in inclement weather?

Developing partnerships with other users, such as ski or snowmobile clubs, is one way to keep trails open year-round and have assistance with maintaining the surface. Consider partnerships. 

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A few years ago, a local snowmobile club approached Barbara Bouck, who owns Salmon River Stables in Altmar, New York, and asked permission to build trails on her property. Her property boarders a large network of public trails and the club was looking for a way to connect one trailhead to another.

“The snowmobile club asked if they could clear a two-mile-long path by chopping down trees so they could connect back up with the public trails,” she said. “They cleared it out, made a beautiful path, and it added to my horse trails. Plus, we got all the firewood they cut down.” 

Trail riding on your property doesn't just have to be a summer pleasure. With the correct construction and maintenance, trails can be used year-round.

Check Out These Books

Trail Riding Arizona
Rails-Trails Washington Oregon
Training on the Trail: Practical Solutions for Trail Riding
Rail-Trails Pennsylvania: The definitive guide to the state's top multiuse trails
Rail-Trail Hall of Fame: A Selection of America's Premier Rail-Trails
Kansas Trail Guide: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Riding in the Sunflower State
Tahoe Rim Trail: The Official Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians
Training on the Trail: Practical Solutions for Trail Riding

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