Top Ten Things Not to Do on a Trail Ride

Trail Ride

The inspiration for this list was receiving a photo of a couple who had gone on a trail ride. My last ride was in Aspen Colorado, but I still remember the experience. We were riding at 8,000 feet in the Rockies, and the sights were hard to describe. Hope you enjoy the list knowing not many of your take trail rides routinely.

10 If you are on a trail ride, do not think beach wear is appropriate on a horse. If you do, at best the little chaffing will be soothed by lotion. At worst, a cactus ride by will yield a trip to the ER. (Those thorns certainly make a mess huh, Buford?)

9 If you are on a trail ride, do not let your horse bite the mount of Tiny the WWF champ who is on a horse for the first time. If you do, at best Tiny will keep his seat. At worst, Tiny will be airborne and once he lands He’ll want to “talk” to you. (You know Tiny tends to talk with his knuckle megaphone right, Tex?)

8 If you are on a trail ride, do not think you can ignore your guide. If you do, at best you’ll not get lost. At worst, you will only be lost until the forest service helicopter spots you. ( How do you like that five-figure search and rescue bill, Ferd?)

7 If you are on a trail ride, do not think your needs are the only ones that need to be addressed. If you do, at best someone will set you straight quickly. At worst, you may find yourself walking back to base by yourself. (It might have been that statement about needing a china plate for lunch that was the last straw, Bosco.)

6 If you are on a trail ride, do not get off your horse unless the guide tells you. If you do, at best you might find a way on your own to get back on. At worst, you frightened the horses behind you, and now all are running for the barn. (Wonder why no one is talking to you, Pal?)

5 If you are on a trail ride, do not ask if there is a vegan choice for an entrée at the campfire dinner. If you do, the grizzled guide will give you a look not to be forgotten. At worst, your guide will hand you a plate that he swears is meatless.  (You should have arranged your choice ahead of time, Buster. Is that something moving in the meatless dish?)

4 If you are on a trail ride, do not forget to take water. If you don’t at best, you have to hope the guide has bottled water. At worst you’ll have to drink from the guide’s canteen. (Was that a hint of chewing tobacco backwash in that last drink, Bunky?)

3 If you are on a trail ride, do not irritate your horse. If you do, at best he won’t dump you on the trail. At worst, at 8000 feet your horse will decide to trip slightly giving you the opportunity to apologise. (The apology better be sincere, Roscoe.)

2 If you are on a trail ride, do not think you have to act like John Wayne on a cattle drive. If you do, at best your fellow riders will ignore you. At worst, yippie yi ki yay is horse language for dump this idiot. (How you got on the ground so fast, Putz?)

1 If you are on a trail ride, do not try to keep up with your texts and e-mails. If you do, at best you’ll finally lose a signal in the mountains. At worst, your horse will detect you are not paying attention and will take the opportunity to gallop to the barn early. (Looks like you are barely holding on, Roy. That screaming is very becoming as well.)



  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    I’ve never been on a trail ride, though I’ve ridden horses and suffered the consequences of a sudden stop. 🙂 Your image says it all. LOL.

    1. I loved that photo even though the horse is wearing a blanket and probably didn’t have a rider. (nitpick) Thanks, Gwen

  2. Ha! You slayed me with Tiny! Great list, John. And spot-on with the texting (finale). I never see anyone in DC look where they’re walking — the heck with street intersections. Horsefeathers! They didn’t look before stepping into the intersection even before the Age of Thumb-speak. Mega hugs.

    1. I hear there is an app that warns texters of an impending collision while texting and walking. Might be helpful. Thanks, Teagan.

  3. All this helps to solidify my belief that I shouldn’t be on a horse. Best for all species involved.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Charles.

  4. I grew up horseback riding and did it into my 20’s, but then life got in the way. I have told my better-half that it IS on my bucket list – no matter how old I get!! [I did get a chance to take a whirl on a camel about 3 years ago, though – lol]

    1. I can imagine a camel ride would be a challenge. Good luck on the ride. I hear there are some nice trails in Florida. 😀 (Hint)

  5. I actually did an elephant ride with my wife and granddaughter – could not wait to get off!!! Great list, John!

    1. I’ve never done an elephant ride. I could see why getting off would be a good thing. 🙂 Thanks, John

  6. The only ride I’ve been on as an adult was a battlefield tour of Gettysburg. I’m 0 for 10, John and proud to be able to say that.

    1. Excellent, Dan. That is one tour I would like to take as well. 🙂

      1. I’ve done this tour twice – highly recommended!

      2. I need to do it.

      3. You’ll thoroughly enjoy it, John. As you walk the battlefield, you’d swear the battle took place a short time ago. It is very well preserved and the guides are excellent!

      4. It was a great tour.

      5. You and John F. have convinced me.

  7. Now I know why I’ve never been on one of these! 😛 Thanks for the tips, John 😉

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Jan. 😀

  8. I don’t get along with horses. I can probably cook one for you, but riding it isn’t for me.

    1. Ha ha ha. I hope I don’t have ask for a recipe. Thanks, Craig. 😀

  9. Horses and camels and elephants, oh my! I’ll stick with my sofa! 😀

    1. I don’t blame you. Move over.

  10. Love the pic. I’ve never been on a trail ride, but I’d imagine there’s a lot of #2 going on.

    1. I’m sure there is. Thanks, Teri.

  11. Ha, ha! Love these! I’ve gone trail riding before but never at 8000 feet. 1-3 were my favorites, especially #2. My husband (who isn’t a fan of horses) naturally ended up with the most “argumentative” of the horses in our group 🙂

    1. It is always that way. The guides and horses work in cahoots. Thanks, Mae. 😀

  12. I loved the “hint of chewing tobacco backwash” in the guide’s water. If his horse bites Tiny’s I’d suggest he direct the horse to head for some hidden place or a medical clinic at full gallop. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. I think you are right. Thanks, Suzanne. 😀

  13. And do not forget that your horse weighs ten times more than you. This is important when considering where to place your feet and knowing who is the boss.

    1. Good thoughts, Greg. Getting stepped on is very painful.

  14. I really enjoy these lists of yours – they always make me smile! “Is that something moving in your meatless dish?” 🙂 You’ve got a great sense of humor, John!

    1. Thanks, Leslie.

  15. Great list, John. I’ve never been on a trail ride though!

    1. I’m not sure you have missed anything, Debbie. 😀

      1. Me, either.

  16. Having experienced a trail ride in the Rocky Mountains also, you nailed it! I loved #10. LOL!

    1. It was so beautiful. Snow, rain, hail and that was in July

      1. I agree…I was there in August and it was snowing while we were in the outdoor pool. 🙂

  17. YAY! Ten tries and it went through!

    1. Yay. I’ve missed you.

      1. It’s nice to be missed! I don’t know why I was denied earlier. 🙂

      2. Me either. Oh well let’s hope it is over.

  18. Reblogged this on mallie1025 and commented:
    Good one

    1. Thank you, Micki

  19. karpetlapangan · ·

    Nice Sir,

  20. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Here is another great top ten list from John Howell’s blog. This one is the Top Ten Things Not to Do on a Trail Ride

      1. You’re welcome.

  21. I’ve been on a donkey trail ride, does that count, John? Love #1 – I wonder how long it will be before horses come with built in wi-fi?

    1. Donkey does qualify. Tell me you weren’t on a donkey with flip flops. Horse with WiFi. Love it. 😀

      1. No flip-flops, John, but my niece and I were the only British people on the trail. The rest of the party (around 40) were Russian. Great fun, though.

      2. Love the Russians. Someone always has some Stoli on them.

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