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Designated Bridle Trails | Did You Know? | Bridle Safety and Etiquette
Appreciate the beauty that surrounds you while you ride your noble steed through the nearly 14 miles of designated bridle trails throughout Lake Metroparks. You and your equine partner can explore mature woods, ravines, and meadows. Travel on primitive and gravel-surface trails.
Enjoying nature by horseback offers a unique perspective of Lake Metroparks. When you’re nine or ten feet tall, the views of the parks are enhanced. Deer and other wildlife rarely flee from a horse, but watch instead with curiosity as horses pass. Many visitors enjoy the aesthetic beauty of seeing horses in the parks and will frequently ask to pet the horse and ask questions giving the rider an opportunity to share their special equine friend.
NOTE: Chapin Forest and Girdled Road are closed to horses in the winter when there is snow present on the trails.
- Horseback riding and activities associated with riding (mucking stalls, grooming, etc) expend enough energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise.
- Total calories used per hour by a 150lb. person during horseback riding are similar to those used during jogging (6mph) and cycling (9mph).
- Horseback riding is especially well-placed to encourage physical activity for people of any age.
- Horseback riding stimulates mainly positive psychological feelings, and riders can gain a sense of well-being from interacting with horses.
- Horseback riding is recognized as having excellent therapeutic qualities.
- Horseback riding is a great sport for the entire family!
Please keep in mind that the trails throughout Lake Metroparks are multi-purpose trails. Horseback riders share the trails with hikers, bikers, joggers, and dog walkers.
- Always practice ‘Leave No Trace’ ethics:
- Stay on trails
- Pick up all your trash, including cigarette butts,
and pack it out
- Pick up other people’s trash to keep places as pristine as possible and set a good example
- Be respectful of those who live there and those who will visit behind you
- Take only pictures, leave only footprints
- Make sure your horse is reliable and safe before bringing it to a public place. Training begins at home. Exposing your horse to a variety of sites and sounds can make your day in the park much more enjoyable for yourself and others around you.
- WALK your horse on the trail. Most of our trails do not lend themselves to faster gaits such as trot or canter. You could come around a curve quickly and encounter someone coming the other way, without adequate time to stop your horse.
- When possible, stay to the right as you approach oncoming visitors on the trail, passing left to left, as you would on a roadway. Hikers and bikers should yield to horses if the trail is narrow, and joggers should slow to a walk and advise riders if they are approaching from behind.
- When crossing roadways and parkways, riders should yield to vehicles and pedestrians.
- Stay on designated trails. Although an area may look inviting to ride in, you could find yourself damaging fragile areas and degrading or destroying vegetation and natural habitats. You may be cited if caught in these areas, as could any park patron, for not remaining on designated and improved trails.
- Be sure to cross rivers/streams at designated areas only, both to minimize negative impact on the environment and for the safety of you and your horse.
- Make sure you have a shovel in your trailer to pick up any manure in the parking lot. Please put it in your trailer and take it home to dispose of properly.
- Please follow the rules and posted signs. They are there for a reason, whether you understand or agree with them or not. You may be able to get away with skirting the rules, but your hoof prints will give your entire family of horsemen a bad name.
- Trail riding can be either a wonderful or miserable experience. Just a few common sense guidelines can make the trails pleasurable for everyone that uses them.
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