A Trail Rider's Dictionary

I present to you a non-comprehensive dictionary of common phrases and words often heard during trail rides.  These may be somewhat useful should you be writing about someone going trail riding or wish to go on a trail ride yourself.
The words and phrases are not in alphabetical order, but arranged in such a way that as you progress through a trail ride, you may use them in the order in which they are presented.

Let's Go Trail Riding Sometime!
A phrase used by horse people to indicate that they would like to meet up sometime in the next 3 years.  Also used to replace common phrases like "hello" "goodbye" "I like you" and "I'm just trying to be nice".

Can You Go Riding *insert date*?
 99% of the time, the answer is no.  Some other important (but not as exciting) event will have been already scheduled.

Would You Like to Ride One of My Horses?
Translation: I have more horses than I really need, but I don't want to sell any them, and they all need exercise.  So having someone else ride with me kills two birds with one stone (or exercise two horses with one ride).
Note:  Can also be used to save on time.  If one person gets straight off work at 5 and meets the person who left earlier and got the horses ready, then there is more time for actual riding.

What you should do, but don't.  Everything's probably still in the trailer tack compartment from last time, anyway.

Caked with mud.
What your horse is when you go out to get him in the trailer.

A death-defying process consisting of blood, sweat, tears, handfuls of grain, squeezing past large animals while in tight spaces, and lots of regret.

"On My Way"
The text you send as you leave the house while wondering if you forgot to bring anything important.
What you do as you unload your horse and talk to the people you're meeting about how you don't ride enough and why don't we meet up more often and how nice/horrible the weather is and please ignore the messy tack compartment and the filthy horse, haha.

Tacking Up
When you finally remember what important thing you forgot to bring.

Tightening the Girth
A customary ritual you preform before getting on your horse.  There's no real value in the process, as your girth will still be incredibly loose at the first hill.

"Which Way?"
Usually asked once you climb in the saddle and begin looking for the entrance to the trail.  Also repeated multiple times during the trail ride.

"The Trail Goes This Way"
A blatant lie.

A sheet of paper with squiggly lines depicting where you need to go.  For convenience, you keep it in your pocket, where sweat, creek water, and rain will turn it into a soggy mess.  Sometimes it's kept in your truck during trail rides, so it doesn't get wet.

Fly Spy
A sticky substance that you spray on your horses and in your face so you smell weird and attract flies for the entire ride.

You either forget you brought it with or you forget to bring it at all.

Steep Incline
Where the trail goes.

Huge Mud Puddle
Where the trail also goes.

Pile of Rocks
What the trail doesn't bother to go around.

Hanging Gardens
The mouthful of long overgrown grass that your horse keeps in his mouth during the entire ride.

Severe pain in your knees, thighs, back, and neck.  They do be polite and take turns, though sometimes they attack all at once.  Getting out and walking can help relieve the pain, but getting back on the horse afterward is an even bigger pain.

Noise you make when your horse spooks at nothing and jumps halfway off the trail.  Or when your horse decides to lay down in the creek crossing with you still in the saddle.

Die of Laughter
What the other riders do when your horse decides to lay down in the creek crossing with you still in the saddle.
A Snack
What you conveniently left in the car to keep the map and water bottle company.

Mushed Packet of Crackers
The only thing edible in your saddlebags, unless you enjoy rotten apples.

Lots of Fun
How you describe the trail ride to your family when you get home.

Look forward to going trail riding now?  Trust me, it's lots of fun!


  1. Lol, why are all these so relatable!?! XD

    1. Nice to know I'm not the only one with wild trail rides!!

  2. Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! I. Just. Died. LOL This is sooooo good and soooo true, Julian!!! xD

    This is definitely a gem. 100%. Thanks for this!

    ~ Lily Cat (Boots) | lilycatscountrygirlconfessions.blogspot.com

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it!! I certainly had fun writing it, lol!

  3. Oh wow this is so accurate. I felt like I was out riding just reading it.
    My horses seem to load nicely only when I have the time to deal with them being fussy. I don't remember who told me, but "when loading horses, if you have five minutes it'll take an hour and if you have an hour, it'll take five minutes."

    1. Oh, wow, that's so true...thankfully I've never had huge loading issues, save for one time: took me an hour to get a horse loaded. Ended up saddling him up and riding him for 15 minutes up and down the road before trying again...and he went right on!

  4. Yes my horse always have grass in their mouth....

    Great post!


    1. Like "I already feed you too much, now we go out riding and you act like I starve you!"