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Toronto Outdoor Club - Etiquette: Equestrian Considerations

  • The trail user is responsible for knowing and understanding where designated trails are located.
  • All horses should be kept under control and may not be left unattended for any reason.
  • Horses must not be tethered to trees, shrubs, or other park structures.
  • Tether horses to your stock trailer at the trail head or to tethering devices where provided.
  • It is highly recommended that riders wear protective head gear that is ASTM/SEI approved.
  • Ride with a friend. Inexperienced riders should be mounted on well-trained horses and accompanied by experienced riders.
  • When being passed, stay on the right and travel single-file. Excessively spooky or hard-to-control horses are not recommended.
  • Horses may need time to learn camping and become acclimated to the new smells, sights, and sounds of a natural area. Arena horses may spook easily at first and shy away from unfamiliar tree stumps, odd-shaped rocks, and streams.
  • Terrain is another factor to consider. Horseshoes are a must on rugged terrain. Unshod horses accustomed to soft, sandy soils, or grassy road sides will find rocky hill country trails a painful experience.
  • Hikers should move to the side of the trail when approaching horses. Allow skittish horses to pass.
  • Do not ride horses or bicycles in a manner that is likely to cause alarm or injury to another person or animal.
  • Hikers and cyclists should always yield to horses and make their presence known well in advance. Never attempt to "hide" from approaching horses, since this may cause the horses to shy.
  • Hikers and cyclists should stop well in advance and move aside to allow horses to pass from the opposite direction.
  • When passing horses from behind, hikers and bikers should make the rider aware of their presence and then pass on the left.
  • Never pass too close to a horse; try to keep a six-foot buffer zone.
  • If the horse's ears are flattened all the way back, the horse is irritated and may kick.

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