Horse riding

Holding horses

Hold horses at least 30 metres from lakes, streams, huts and camping areas unless otherwise directed by park staff.

Horses may be held by the following methods:

Holding method During the day Overnight
Permanent yards Yes Yes
Tethering trees, holding rails Yes No
Tether line between trees Yes No
Picket-line Yes No
Electric fencing Yes Yes
Hobbles Yes Yes
Ground tether Yes Yes

Permanent yards

  • Use yards and paddocks where provided.
  • Do not cut green timber to repair fences.
  • Use hitching rails or other holding facilities where provided.

Tethering and picket-lines

  • Avoid damage to vegetation when tethering – Do not tie horses to small limbs, saplings and shrubs. They are easily damaged if horses pull back.
  • Strong head stalls and leads should be used – Leads should be long enough to allow use of larger trees. Many lost horses in parks are the result of broken reins or weak leads.
  • Tethering to trees during the day may be prohibited in sensitive or heavily used areas.
  • Avoid tethering horses that do not stand easy or paw the ground. This results in bare ground around trees in a short time.
  • As a trial measure, picket-lines (nightlining) may only be used for tethering horses for up to 24 hours and must be set up in accordance with the code of conduct used by the Australian Trail Horse Rider’s Association.
  • Tethering directly to trees overnight is prohibited – This causes unacceptable ground damage.

Temporary yards (electric fencing)

  • Low power portable electric fencing is the only temporary yard construction permitted. Use of wire (plain or barbed) around trees is prohibited as it causes unacceptable damage to trees.
  • Yards should be as large as possible as small yards cause excessive ground damage and increase the risk of fighting and injured horses. Allow at least 15 square metres for each horse.
  • Avoid including areas with saplings and shrubs which may be trampled.
  • Move fences to a new location or enlarge yard area if it begins to show signs of excessive ground damage. Temporary yards should not show any bare areas when a campsite is vacated.
  • For safety reasons, low power energisers only are permitted in national parks – minimal power is sufficient to hold horses.
  • Ensure that horses have been trained to electric fencing in a large yard or paddock prior to being confined to a small yard.
  • Portable electric fencing has many advantages for trail riders:
    • it is inexpensive and readily available
    • the electric tape or cord used is brightly coloured and easily seen by horses
    • it is lightweight and easily transported on horseback or packhorse
    • large yard areas can be created allowing free movement of horses thus reducing impacts. More than one yard can be electrified using the one energiser. Horse numbers can be split up and difficult horses separated.
  • Electric fence warning signs must be prominently displayed on the fence.

Hobbles and ground tethering

Hobbles and ground tethering may be used where facilities are not provided. A lead rope from a head stall to the hobble chain can further reduce straying.


Studies have shown horses can retain weed seeds in their gut for up to 14 days and these can then germinate in manure in national parks.

Restrictions on the type of feed you can bring into the park exist to help minimise the potential introduction and spread of weeds associated with some types of horses.

Feed permitted includes commercial grain, proprietary and processed feeds, e.g. pellets. Make sure your horse is used to this diet before your trip. (Lucerne chaff is permitted in Victoria’s Alpine National Park).

All horses must be fed using a nose bag. Make sure your horse is familiar with this practice before your trip. Do not spread feed on the ground. Clean up any spilt feed.

Prohibited or unclean feed may be confiscated.