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Trail riding etiquette

Krishona Martinson, PhD

Minnesota has an active equine industry with an estimated 90,140 horses and 13,048 farms, ranking Minnesota 13th in the nation with a $1 billion impact on the state annually. In Minnesota, more than 1,000 miles of horseback riding trails are managed by the Department of Natural Resources, with more than 200 miles of additional trails on other lands. Minnesota is home to over five million people, of whom 4.5% participate in horseback riding. In a recent survey, horseback trail riders identified seven major reasons for trail riding, including to view the scenery, be close to nature, get away from the usual demands of life, experience nature, explore and discover new things, relax physically, and be physically active. However, all riders should remember basic trail riding etiquette. Trail etiquette and safety are closely related since poor trail etiquette typically leads to an unsafe riding experience. Basic trail riding etiquette includes:

Many trails are open to multiple users (i.e. hikers or bicyclists) and part of good trail etiquette is ensuring horseback riders are respectful of trails and other trail users.

This includes:

Good trail riding etiquette includes ensuring safety of horses and riders and consideration for fellow horseback riders, other trail users and the environment. Remember to expect the unexpected and be prepared to cross paths with other trail users. Finally, make sure to enjoy the ride!


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