Any Night Riders out there?

Tis the season where we start to lose daylight in the midwest :frowning:

I have access to an indoor arena that is about a 10-15 hack across the property that I am thinking about utilizing more this year for training rides. I would be leaving during daylight, but the ride back to our stable would likely be in the dark, especially through the winter. We would have to cross one street that isn’t too terribly busy.

Is some reflective gear and a headlamp the way to go for this? I have an orange hunting vest already with reflective stripes that I wear during bow season. Would riding back in the dark be a bad idea? (Never done it before).

Is most of your riding not on the very edge of the street?

If you are riding on the street itself I would suggest some lights too. So a person coming up behind you will know what is going on (more than just a bit of reflectiveness).

If you are riding in fields, as long as you know your route and you know the footing is safe, then I think you will be fine.

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Years past, I used to ride with a club in London. Each evening the horses were ridden through the streets for 30 minutes from stable to riding school, regardless of darkness, weather, traffic etc. Horses see better in the dark than we humans, apparently. Everyone had reflective clothing, horses and riders alike, and the riders wore lamps on their boots like a vehicle, white to the front, red to the rear. It worked just fine.


Oh now that’s smart. Boot lights!


We have what are essentially farm road type gravel trails that we can access year round that go throughout the property that I would be riding to get to the indoor. They are only utilized by riders, no other traffic, and are not near any main roads once you cross the one.

I like the idea of lights too, probably a good idea even though we wouldn’t be by roads for any significant amount of time.

Footing is ideal and I know my way through them well, as does Charlie.

I need to look into boot lights!!

As an aside, I’ve gotten to visit London twice and on one of the trips, happened upon a stable in the middle of the city. It was really cool how not-noticeable (?) it was until it was right there! I loved all the cobblestone. I also happened upon a big to-do in front of Buckingham Palace where all the horses were out with their riders and pulling the fancy carriages, one with the Queen inside. The horse activity there seems really interesting!

I ride outside at night. Sometimes to the indoor arena at the farm nearby through fields, sometimes just around the fields. Lately just around the fields.

There are nights it may just be too dark, but for the most part there is enough light pollution, combined some nights with the moon, so I can see. The horse sees fine. With snow on the ground it is bright. I love it!

I have a reflective riding rug. It is one of my favorite things. I refer to it as her construction vest.

There are other things you can get for the horse to wear - browbands, leg bands, tail wrapper, etc. Don’t forget to make yourself visible, too. If you get separated out there, you both need to be seen. For us, the short way home is on the road, and I know that is the route she would chose if left to her own devices.

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There’s a Facebook site called “Through the Ears” where folks post pix and video shot through their horse’s ears —many of the most northern members (Canada, Norway, Faroe Island) post pix and video of themselves riding in the dark, because it says dark there for a long time in the winter (I think Faroe Island has a couple of months of darkness). As a kid, I used to love to ride in the dark, very peaceful. I’d say start slow, riding in twilight-to-dark, then gradually ride in darker and darker hours.

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On clear sky nights here with the moon, it is quite bright! Not a lot of light pollution though which does make it nice. The snow definitely brightens things up too.

Is the construction vest pretty lightweight? I have one similar to wear during hunting season so we would match and no-one would miss us coming through a trail haha. I saw that yesterday searching around for ideas but hesitated because of the amount of coverage. Charlie gets so much winter fluff in, that last year at least I had a trace clip on him in the fall because he was dying from mild temps and he was totally fine blanket free throughout the winter. I wouldn’t want him to get too warm, but it it’s light it should be fine.

I love night riding. I do carry a flashlight (one that is also a glow stick love it), but rarely use it. The horses can see fine and I don’t need to mess with their night vision. I’m usually in the forest, it’s dark even if there is moon. Sometimes I go out near a lake, the reflection off water and sand are so bright!

I only have to cross one rarely traveled road, so I don’t wear safety equipment then. I’ve also been a sweep rider for Tevis at night, and then I do have a vest and other safety equipment with me.

I will say, if riding in forest-type areas, that I always wear my glasses, and recommend people who ride with me wear some clear safety glasses. A stick in the eye will sure ruin your ride!


The reflective riding rug that I have isn’t insulated at all. It is like a thin rain sheet.

There are options that would be cooler, with less overall coverage, some are just a quarter sheet. You can get a narrow band to go across the chest, like a breast plate. I liked the rug b/c it has the most visibility from every angle. The breast plate with leg bands, saddle pad and tail thing might be good for when it is hot.

Not the only source, but Horze has reflective gear. I’ve seen some that are more for police & other working horses, probably more expensive.

It looks like they have reflective people gear, too.

I have a breastplate bookmarked that has usb powered lights that go for 5 hours that should cover us there! I have my own “construction” vest that has reflection material that is big enough to wear over coats so im good there, and have a headlamp with the red light option. Ill just need to get used to the dark myself!

Im bummed. Both Weatherbeeta and LeMieux have reflective saddle pads that would be perfect, but I cant find any for sale in the states. There is a store out of Australia that has them but with shipping, its astronomical.

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Have a look at specialist firm and see what they offer. A UK firm so no problem speaking to them if necessary.

One useful thing is they do two coloured hi-viz. Yellow, orange or pink work better at different times of the year. Yellow and orange, for example, can disappear amongst fall-coloured leaves when pink will show up nicely.

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Charlotte has a safety collection!! Who knew?

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I have an Equisafety winter coat that is still going strong 8-9 years later. I also have an Equisafety reflective neck strap.

I found a Shires hi-vis yellow with reflective stripes mesh quartersheet years ago - if they still make it Charlie wouldn’t get too hot in it.

I lost a horse at night once and quickly realized that if he was standing in the ditch or long grass his reflective boots would be useless.

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I have both of these, they are obnoxiously reflective and very warm (I have different options for warm weather)

Try riding warehouse, they have lots of options

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Thanks much!

So far, the lighted breastplate has been a great addition and a hit with our barn friends!

We’ve gone on a couple group rides where we’ve left in daylight and came back in moonlight which has been super cool. One of our friends is an endurance rider and has no qualms about riding in the dark which has been a good start getting used to it! Charlie doesn’t seem to be bothered one way or another; I have to let go a little and realize that even though I think I have more control during the daylight being able to see, I probably have less than I think :joy:.