Avoid Stinging Insects
Stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, hornets, or wasps, nest in holes in the ground or trees near trails. Often, a small group of riders can pass a nest without incident. If the group is larger, the first riders may upset the wasps, which will likely attack somewhere near the middle of the group.
When this happens: Riders being attacked should yell “hornets!” and quickly move out of the area of the nest, then dismount, and swat the hornets off their horses, if possible. Riders in front of the rider being attacked should continue down the trail at least 50 to 100 feet or until out of range. Riders behind should stop out of the nesting area and wait.
If these insects are common in the area, the trail guide should carry a can of bug spray and use it to kill the nest. The alternative is to detour wide around the nest on the way back. The leader or guide should then gather the group and check if any riders were stung, and if any may suffer allergic reactions. (It’s rare that horses have allergic reactions.) – Excerpted from Certified Horsemanship Association’s Trail Guide Manual
What do you do when you become fearful on the trail or suspect that wildlife is near? Denise Hayden of Cleveland, Ohio, suggests singing childhood songs. “I sing my favorite kid songs when I ride alone,” Hayden says. “It calms me, calms my horse, and alerts the deer.”
Singing encourages full breaths, which will help you to relax. Your horse will pick up on your calm state and will tend to relax, as well. Singing can also lower your center of gravity, so you’ll sit deep in the saddle, for security. You’ll also alert wildlife to your presence.
When you feel fearful on the trail, sing a song to help you relax. You’ll also alert wildlife to your presence.
USDA ARCHIVES PHOTO If someone in your riding group is attacked by stinging insects, clear the area, and wait until all is safe.