• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Horse Safety & Etiquette

Equestrians and Bicyclists yield to one another on a trail in Cheeseboro.

Part of having an enjoyable experience in the Santa Monica Mountains is ensuring that everyone is safe. Riding a horse in a multi-use environment requires even a higher level of awareness. Remember, safety starts with the individual!

Reading and following these tips will make sure we keep our parks a pleasant place to visit.

Safety
  • Stay on maintained trails and observe all posted signs. It is best to ride with a buddy and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Watch for overhanging branches from shrubs and trees.
  • Keep horses at a walk when passing other visitors and stay to the uphill side.
  • Carry first-aid and your vet’s phone number in case of emergency.
  • Bring water for yourself and have water in your trailer for your horse. Stream water may not be suitable for all horses, and is unavailable in many areas.
  • Walking dogs while riding horses is not advised since dogs must always be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. (*Dogs are not allowed on State Park backcountry trails.)
  • Loose horses are not permitted on park trails.
Etiquette
  • Be courteous to other trail users. Hikers and bikers should yield to horses, but may be unaware of protocol.
  • Horses are only permitted to walk, trot, or canter on park trails. Galloping is not permitted.
  • Horses are not permitted in picnic areas, campsites, and lawn areas.
  • Please, do not lunge horses in park.
  • Manure must be picked up from parking lots and other developed areas.
Resource Protection
  • Horses are allowed only on designated trails.
  • They must keep out of ponds and only cross streams at designated trail crossings.
  • Off-trail use is not permitted.
  • DO NOT tie horses to trees. Please use hitching posts or ground tie or hobble.
  • After rains, check with national and/or state parks for trail conditions and closures.
  • Trail use is not recommended when trails are wet and prone to damage.
  • Grazing is not permitted.

Did You Know?