Avoid Sting­ing In­sects

Trail Rider - - HOT ON THE TRAIL -

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.

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