Due to the unique nature of each location, a specific assessment of suitability should be made prior to the trip.
Your choice of location should be based upon the recent and first hand knowledge of at least one member of the planning and supervising staff. Where this is impractical, planning and supervising staff should be thoroughly familiar with the general characteristics and conditions found in similar locations, and have consulted with people who can supply recent and first-hand knowledge of the locations being considered.
When assessing the suitability of a location, consider:
- the potential to support your educational objectives
- the level of access to the resources, services and facilities that you need or would like to use. These might include campsites, water, walking trails, toilets, shelter from extreme weather, or interpretive information
- the level of access to communications and external assistance, in the event of an emergency, or extreme weather conditions. The more effectively remote your location is, then the more self-contained and self-reliant your group must be
- the potential exposure to environmental hazards and difficulties
- the activity ability and fitness of students.
Contact authorities and relevant local organisations to access the most up-to-date information on the location, and to determine access and permit requirements. These may include:
Permission from the relevant land manager where the trail ride is taking place may be required. Contact the DSE or Parks Victoria in your region for more information.
Horse riding sessions should begin in an enclosed area where instructors can assess student ability. This area should be separate from the non-riding public.
The enclosed area where riding occurs or trail rides begin should have solid fences at least 105 cm in height with effective gates, and a surface that provides good footing and is free of obstacles.
Trails should provide safe footing and clearance for the horses, be located away from main highways, be rated for levels of difficulty, and have emergency access.
Staff need to be aware of the possibilities of extreme conditions. Staff should be prepared to cancel, modify or relocate the activity.
Riding on or beside roads
If the ride does include sections alongside or beside roads special care needs to be taken. Staff and students should be aware of relevant safety measures, which include:
- documented procedures for crossing roads and when vehicles pass
- a designated instructor at the front and back
- (where possible) keeping all riders on the same side of the road.