Trail riding is an activity that, similar to hiking, involves following a trail while riding your horse. This may seem relatively simple, however, you and your horse do need special skills for this activity. Your horse needs to be calm, fit, and willing to maneuver natural obstacles such as cross streams or rivers, climb over downed logs, and tolerate meeting other trail users or animals (wild or domestic) on the trail.
You need to know how to handle your horse in all situations out on the trail, but also how to plan your trip, locate your route, read a map, administer first aid on your horse or other riders, and other similar back country skills.
Note that not all trails are designated for horse use, so it is important to research your trip. Local land managers, such as Alberta Parks, National Parks, public lands, as well as various GPS/trail apps maintain updated descriptions of various horse trails. Online forums or local Facebook groups of trail riders are also good sources of information.
When starting out trail riding, it is advisable to join an experienced rider or small group of riders who recognize you and your horse are novices. They will help you choose a skill-appropriate trail, so you can save the advanced ride for when you are ready. We have a directory that includes many trail riding clubs and associations, so visit our directory and find a group in your area.
Every year, more individual and families of riders enjoy the trails with their horses and friends. The trail riding community is constantly growing and the AEF continues to advocate for horse access to trails and horse camping facilities. Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful
- Trail Safety & EtiquetteTrail Safety & Etiquette
- Trail AdvocacyTrail Advocacy
- Trail Supporter FundTrail Supporter Fund (TSF)
- Horse Camping & Backcountry RidingHorse Camping & Backcountry Riding
Alberta Trail Riding Association (ATRA)
Explore some of the popular riding trails around Alberta. With so many trails to explore, no two rides will be the same.
ATRA is an AEF Club Member, and a non-profit family oriented organization that encompasses a variety of equestrian activities promoting safe horsemanship, ongoing education, responsible use, maintenance, and development of trails. Join them for a trail ride.