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When my family first approached me about a day on horseback … let’s say that I was a bit taken aback. It had been quite some time since I had been on a horse, even though I grew up around horses. So I turned to a few of my horseback riding pals that just happen to be experts on the subject. After reviewing all their advice and my own experience, I have come up with a few of my top tips for having a glorious day horseback riding and making memories with your family.

Plan a day of Horseback Riding

Where to Giddy Up

Find a place that knows their horses and what they can handle. Some horses don’t mind a novice like possibly yourself to take the reins. The build of the horse can also decide the body type that works best in their saddle. Horseback riding at Rockin’ M Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming is one of the places that really knows their horses. They take into consideration the body type and experience of the rider before matching it with the appropriate horse.

If you wonder just how experienced of a horseback rider you are considered to be, take a look at this article on Writing Horseback to spot if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced.

Plan a day of Horseback Riding

Do I Need Chaps?

Do you need chaps? Well no not really, unless you are an experienced rider and wear them regularly. Per Nancy Brown of Writing Horseback, “Purchase riding boots ahead of time and break them in BEFORE your trip. Wear clothes that offer range of motion, especially on the upper body so arms may move freely.”

My tip is to not try to relive your day of riding in your youth. I decided to pull out my old riding outfit and it was not quite as comfortable as it was when I was a teen—many moons ago!  So feel free to put on your cowboy hat, but you can leave home the heels. Bottom line is that almost anything works that covers both your legs and your feet.

Plan a day of Horseback Riding

What Should Tag Along

The first thing that one can’t take along is your pet, unless they and the horses are extremely trained to be around each other. Please contact the ranch before letting your pet tag along. Another thing you may not want to bring is your largest camera lens. Yes, I found this out myself. Galloping and a huge camera around your neck is not the most pleasant experience. So leave the scenery for your eyes unless you are stopped for a break. There will be plenty of time for photos at the beginning and end of your ride.

Definitely bring a bottled water and ask your guide if there are saddle bags for rides longer than one hour. Bring a carrot or apple to reward your horse AFTER the ride. Always check with your guide to see if horses are allowed an apple or carrot first. Sometimes they prefer to put the apple in their feed bin so no hand feeding. (We want you to keep all of your fingers.) “Listen to your guide and enjoy the ride. There’s nothing better than seeing new country from the back of a horse,” says equestrian travel expert Nancy D. Brown.

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Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.