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Horse riding safety

Horse riding is an exciting way to experience many of the national parks in NSW. These include some of the most challenging and remote riding terrains like Kosciuszko, Blue Mountains and Oxley Wild Rivers national parks. Before you hop on your horse, read these horse riding safety tips to keep you and your riding group safe.

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Plan your ride

  • Check the webpage of the national park you’re planning to visit for safety alerts and to see if horse riding is permitted.
  • Research your horse riding route and make sure that every rider is comfortable with the distance and terrain type.
  • Familiarise your horse with hazards they may encounter in parks. For example, wildlife, cyclists, motorcyclists and campsites.
  • Check that all equipment is in good working order and tack fits the horse properly.
  • Check availability of parking places for your floats, trucks and other horse-related equipment like portable yards.
  • Make sure you and your horse will have access to clean, fresh water.
  • Check the weather forecast before setting out.

Tell somebody

Give your route details to family and friends who are not riding with you. Tell them when you expect to return and let them know when you have returned. For longer trips, consider filling out a trip intention form.

Ride safely

  • Never ride alone.
  • Place the most experienced riders at the front and tail of a group.
  • Ride at the pace of the least experienced rider.
  • Ride within your own abilities and your horse’s capabilities.
  • Consider that you may encounter people who are unfamiliar with horses and who may be intimidated by them. Ride in single file at a walk past other park visitors.

Stay on marked tracks

  • Only ride on tracks marked for horse riding.
  • Riders must give way to walkers in a shared zone.
  • If riding on shared roads with vehicles, ride on the left-hand side with the flow of traffic.

What to wear

  • We strongly recommend that all riders wear an Australian Standards approved riding helmet. Riders under 18 years of age must wear a helmet while riding in a park.
  • Wear riding boots or closed shoes with a low heel.
  • Wear or take suitable clothing for predicted and changes of weather.

What to bring

  • Drinking water
  • Your mobile phone or a satellite phone. Download the Emergency Plus app.
  • In remote areas, carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) because you might not have mobile phone reception.
  • On longer trips take a topographic map, compass, food for you and weed-free feed for your horses. For example, pellets, extruded feeds and some chaffs. Many national parks do not allow hay.
  • On longer trips take a first aid kit for both horse and rider.
  • Bring emergency gear such as rope, a spare halter, lead rope and torch. Carry these in a backpack (not saddlebags) so it isn’t lost if you’re separated from your horse.