Bridle path

Bridleway in Hillingdon, England
A horse riding path in Oulu, Finland
Marker for the National Horse Trail in Australia.

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a trail or a thoroughfare that is used by people riding on horses. Trails originally created for use by horses often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, hikers,[1] and cyclists. Such paths are either impassable for motorized vehicles, or vehicles are banned. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.[2][3]

In industrialized countries, bridle paths are now primarily used for recreation. However, they are still important transportation routes in other areas. For example, they are the main method of traveling to mountain villages in Lesotho.[4]

In England and Wales a bridle path now refers to a route which can be legally used by horse riders in addition to walkers, and since 1968, by cyclists. A "ride" is another term used for a bridleway: "a path or track, esp. one through a wood, usually made for riding on horseback" (Oxford English Dictionary).

In the US, the term bridle path is used colloquially for trails or paths used primarily for people making day treks on horses, and usually used only on the East Coast, whereas out West the equivalent term is trail. The term bridleway is rarely used in the U.S. Most of the time horses are presumed allowed to use trails in America unless specifically banned, although rules differ among locations.[5]

In some countries long-distance multi-use trails have been created, including the Bicentennial National Trail in Australia, one of the longest marked multi-use trails in the world, stretching 5,330 kilometres.[6] Rail trails can often be used by equestrians.

  1. ^ "AMC-NH - Trailwork: Old Bridle Path". amc-nh.org. Archived from the original on 2018-04-26. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ "bridle path". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  3. ^ "Bridle Path". The American Heritage Dictionary (Fourth ed.). 2007.
  4. ^ "Lesotho." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 24 June 2007
  5. ^ "Horse owners upset with the state's proposed changes to trail riding on state land got some good news yesterday. State". www.concordmonitor.com. Archived from the original on Mar 3, 2016. Retrieved Jul 26, 2022.
  6. ^ Bicentennial National Trail Archived 2008-07-19 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29-11-2013.