Equipment, Horse and logistics
6.1 Horse Suitability
Procedures shall be in place to assess horses for their suitability before being used for trail rides.
Procedures shall be in place to assess horses for their suitability for trail rides on an ongoing basis.
When assessing their suitability, horses shall be categorised as being suitable for different levels of riders and for routine trail rides and/or advanced trail rides.
Procedures shall be in place to ensure any relevant horse behaviour and/or idiosyncrasies are made known to the relevant people interacting with or riding the horse.
6.1.1 Routine trail rides horse suitability
Where a horse is supplied by the provider, considerations as to its suitability for the rider should include but are not limited to:
- its size
- being desensitized to the environment
- being socialized with other horses
- suitably tested for behaviour and responses to different types of rider behaviour
- behaviour does not present an unacceptable risk
- fitness and ability to work effectively on the trail ride
- relevant horse behaviour and/or idiosyncrasies are known.
Horses shall not be used for routine trail rides where their behaviour includes bucking, kicking, stumbling, shying, aggression to other horses, bolting, over reaction or over responsiveness.
6.1.2 Advanced trail rides horse suitability
Where a horse is supplied by the provider for an advanced trail ride, considerations as to their suitability for the rider should include but are not limited to:
- the level of competence of the rider to safely handle the horse’s behaviour
- those ‘considerations as to their suitability’ listed in the Routine trial rides horse suitability section 6.1.1.
Where a horse is supplied by the participant for an advanced trail ride, considerations as to their suitability shall include but are not limited to:
- that the participant is able to appropriately control the horse
- the horse’s behaviour is not aggressive towards people or other horses
- its fitness & health
- its hoof condition is suitable for the terrain and length of ride
- tack is well fitted, suitable and safe
- relevant horse behaviour and/or idiosyncrasies are known
- appropriately vaccinated where deemed necessary.
Yarding horses not already familiar with each other shall be avoided to prevent conflicts and injuries.
6.2 Horse Trail Ride equipment requirements
6.2.1 Safety equipment
Helmets used shall be approved horse riding helmets compliant with the relevant Australian Standard or equivalent.
It is recommended that a compliant helmet should be worn while horse riding.
Additional personal protective equipment that may be considered includes:
- eye protection.
Additional equipment that should be considered includes:
- high visibility vests or helmet covers to enable easy identification of trail guides.
Procedures shall be in place to ensure appropriate clothing for the expected and foreseeable weather conditions is available.
The minimum clothing requirements shall be:
- short sleeves shirt with a collar
- full length trousers.
Considerations for determining appropriate clothing include but are not limited to offering protection from:
- physical injuries
- distress to the rider (g. grazes, sunburn, rubbing etc.).
Footwear shall fully enclose the foot and be suitable for the activity.
Procedures shall be in place to ensure appropriate footwear is worn at all times while riding and interacting with horses.
Considerations for determining appropriate footwear include but are not limited to:
- having heels which deter the foot from slipping through the stirrup, and allows for uninhibited removal of the foot from the stirrup iron
- providing appropriate protection to the top of the foot in the event of a horse stepping on the foot
- for advanced trail rides having a sole that prevents slipping in the event of a dismount on steep slippery ground.
Where it is uncertain that dependent participants will have appropriate footwear, stirrups used shall be of a design that prevents footwear jamming and/or will dismantle if a fall occurs and the footwear becomes jammed.
6.2.4 Personal items
Personal items (e.g. bags, cameras, loose jewellery) shall be carried in a way that will minimise the likelihood of it becoming entangled and causing injury.
6.3 Horse Trail Ride use of safety equipment
6.3.1 Routine horse trail ride participants equipment
A compliant helmet shall be used by all participants.
6.3.2 Advanced horse trail ride participants equipment
A compliant helmet shall be used by all participants who are minors and/or inexperienced riders.
6.4 Horse Trail Ride Tack requirements
Saddlery shall be a good fit for the horse.
Saddlery shall consist of:
- saddles securely attached to the horse in a manner that keeps the saddle properly and securely in place and this [may] require the use of cruppers and breastplates
- saddles secured by at least two points of attachment (e.g. double-buckle girth, girth and surcingle) or by a double-wrapped latigo made with appropriate material that provides sufficient friction to prevent slippage
- where a stock saddle with a girth and a surcingle is used and the surcingle is attached in such a manner that it blocks the release of a stirrup leather in an emergency, then additional equipment [shall] be fitted to the stirrup to ensure a rider will not be trapped by their foot in a fall.
Considerations regarding the saddlery used include but are not limited to:
- the lack of support bareback pads provides when used by new riders
- use of straps to hold saddle cloths in place
- use of bitless bridles where there is evidence that the horse has been educated with this equipment and is totally in control using this system.
All horses should have halters and ropes either fitted or available, to enable them to be tied up at rest stops or in an emergency.
Considerations for equipment requirements are listed in appendix 1 – equipment lists.
6.5 Horse Trail Ride use of tack
A pre-activity equipment safety inspection shall be completed.
All tack shall be:
- in good repair
- correctly fitted.
The type of saddle used by inexperience riders shall be either a stock, western or hybrid saddle.
The safety inspection shall include but is not limited to:
- fit and condition of tack,
- tack is appropriate for the rider.
Participants shall be instructed on the use of tack. (Refer Leadership – Routine activity briefing section 7.7.1 for further details.)
Girths/cinches shall be checked before commencement of ride.
Girths/cinches should be checked again after the horse(s) have warmed up and then periodically as required thereafter.
The location of the saddle cloths should be periodically checked by visual inspection throughout the ride.
6.6 Support vehicles
The use of a support vehicle to aid and assist a group during the activity may be useful or necessary and the hazards and risks associated with vehicle operations need to be managed.
Where a support vehicle is required to operate in terrain that the Four Wheel Driving Activity Standard would apply, then the Four Wheel Driving Activity Standard should be adhered to.
It is foreseeable that a dependent participant will ride in the support vehicle and compliance to the Four Wheel Drive Activity Standard may ensure that support vehicle operators are suitably competent.
Support vehicles shall comply with the laws, regulations or requirements for the relevant jurisdiction(s).
Operators of support vehicles shall:
- hold a current and appropriate licence to operate the vehicle
- be competent to operate the vehicle in the foreseeable conditions
- understand and have immediate access to the emergency management plan.