Good health and proper shots prevent diseases from spreading. Virginia State Law requires that all horses must have proof of a negative Coggins Test within the past year. Horses from other States must also have a valid certificate of health. Recommended, but not required, inoculations are: influenza, rhinopneumonitis, and eastern and western encephalitis.
Before going out, make sure that your horse’s shoes are secure and that the animal is sound on all four feet. If your horse’s respiration becomes jerky or irregular while on the trail, stop and let it recover, then walk out.
Always hobble horses or tie them to a hitchline or picket line. NEVER tie them to a tree, even for a few minutes. Camp and tether horses at least 100 feet from streams or springs. Wash bodies and dishes well away from streams & springs.
Always stay on the trail. CUTTING ACROSS SWITCHBACKS IS ILLEGAL. Taking shortcuts will quickly destroy the beauty you came to enjoy. Equestrians may use nearly every trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (except where indicated as no horses) including those in wildernesses. The major exception is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail which is reserved for hikers only. A few other trails off limits to horses are clearly signed. Please do not trespass on these trails.
Pack it in, pack it out! This goes for food, drinks, gear, cigarettes and anything else you pack into the backcountry. When it has been unusually rainy, avoid using fragile trails — use hard packed forest roads instead. Always practice Leave No Trace principles while in the backcountry. Build only small campfires, use a stove for cooking, and clean up after yourself. Keep in mind that most maintenance work on trails is done by volunteers. If you’d like to have better trails, volunteer! There’s no finer way to maintain and improve the good image of horseback riders than pitching in with trail maintenance.