Trail Riding Rules and Etiquette



Trail riding is a great activity for young and old alike.  To make trail riding enjoyable and safe for all

participants as well as their horses there are a number of rules or courtesies to follow.  The list below is

not all inclusive and not necessarily in order of importance but if followed will make everyone’s ride

safe and enjoyable.  Rides leave the trail head PROMPTLY at the stated time.   All riders must have a signed release of liability form on file with our club.  If you have not filled one out, PLEASE CLICK HERE, print, sign, and bring to the ride.  The form will be kept on file for the current year.


1.  The Trail Boss is in charge.  Never pass the Trail Boss without permission.

2.  Minor children MUST be accompanied by a legal guardian at all times.

3.  Do not start the ride until everyone is mounted.

4.  Maintain at least one horse length behind the horse in front of you.  You should be able to see the heels of the horse in front of you between the ears of your horse.

5.  The Trail Boss will make sure someone who knows the trail is assigned to ride drag.   Never fall behind the drag without permission.  We do not leave anyone behind.

6.  Help the Trail Boss and Drag communicate.  The Trail Boss may point out a trail hazard, or someone may call for a halt.   Pass the communications up or down the line.  Do not assume the people behind or ahead of you have heard the direction.

7.  If you loose sight and sound of the riders behind you, call a halt.  If needed, someone will go back and check on the rest of the group.

8.  At major trail intersections make sure the riders behind know what direction the group is going.

9.  If you want to change your place in line let the riders around know what you intend to do.  Our trails are narrow, horses are claustrophobic, and suddenly shoving pass them can cause  a negative reaction such as kicking.

10.  Keep loud noises and fast movement to a minimum.  It is a very good idea to desensitize your horse to flapping rain coats and slickers.  Be courteous.  If you intend to pull yours out, check with those around you.

11.  When a ride stops for any reason do not start again until every one is remounted.  Let the riders ahead of you know there is someone off their horse.

12.  If your horse bites put a red ribbon on the forelock.  

13.  If your horse kicks put a red ribbon on the tail.  Inform anyone behind you.  Not everyone knows the significance of a red ribbon.

14.  If your horse has an issue with crossing water or needs to be near the front let the trail boss know.

15.  If your horse chews trees make sure that he is cross tied at lunch stops.

16.  If you intend to ride a stallion, check with the trail ride beforehand to see if stallions are allowed.

17.  Do not smoke during the trail ride. Please be courteous and wait until lunch or during a rest stop.

18.  No alcohol is allowed.

19.  Leave No Trace!

20.  No dogs are allowed on DCFTHBA or NTR rides.

It is always a good idea to call ahead if you are going to be riding with a new group or to a new place.

Make sure that your horse is in condition for the ride’s length and terrain. Will your horse need to be

shod? Find out if you need to pack a lunch. Get good directions to the trailhead and plan on getting

there ahead of time to tack up your horse. Most trail rides leave at a planned time and if you arrive late

you might be left behind.             

Questions? email us at:

Please note the many local businesses that help sponsor the Douglas County Fox Trotters. It is their generous support that makes possible the many services that we provide to the Greater Ava Community. Please support them with your business. Shopping locally makes us all stronger.  Click on the listing for more information.

Gold Ribbon Sponsors

Blue Ribbon Sponsors

State Farm Insurance

David Coday Agent

Ava MO  888-686-4141

FCNB Insurance

Carol Terry Agent

Ava Mo 417-683-2139

Signal Food Store

1012 NW 12th Ave

Ava, MO


Jay Loveland General Manager


Red Ribbon Sponsors

Mountain Springs Trout Park


H&S Heath and Son

Feed & Supply


Clinkingbeard Funeral Homes



Century Bank of Ava


FCNB Insurance

Frank & Mary Williams Agents



Ava Tire Shop

American Legion Post 112

Bob Wheeler Cattle Co

1st Home Savings



Work Horse Western Wear


KT's Fox Trotters


Home Pride Bank of Ava


Casper's Foxtrotters

George & Judy Casper


Ray's Electric


Shannon Heating and Cooling

Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association

Marriot Music

Craig and Megan Carter






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