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  1. #1
    Reputation: Empty_Beer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Good job! X-post from NorCal: MTB/Equestrian Clinic

    Inspired by similar events in Santa Cruz and Montana, earlier this month, upwards of 50 student-athletes and 15 coaches representing five high school mountain bike teams in the Folsom Lake area spent part of their Saturday practice getting an up-close-and personal lesson on what to do when encountering horses on the trails they ride. Thanks to the interest and enthusiasm of four local equestrians who want to keep our trails safe and trail-user relations positive, the high school riders and their coaches gained a better perspective of what horses might think and see when encountering a mountain biker.

    The key points discussed were:
    1. Horses are prey animals and can have a "flight" instinct when encountering something new or something that startles them.
    2. Upon approaching an equestrian, stopping and talking to the equestrian is very important. Let the equestrian dictate what happens next in terms of passing each other. Most of them often say "You're fine. Thanks!"
    3. When yielding to a horse on a slope, it's best to pull your bike over on the low side of the trail.

    While educating the teenage mountain bikers was the primary goal of the clinic, improving the relationship between the local mountain biking and equestrian communities was of equal importance. By all measures, this was a very successful and positive event. We hope to offer more in the area soon!

    Special thanks to the high school mountain biking program, Cycling Development ( and the equestrians representing The Friends of the El Dorado Trail (El Dorado Trail) for putting this together. Special thanks to El Dorado Hills Trails ( for producing this promotional video:

  2. #2
    Your Best Friend
    Reputation: Silentfoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    That's awesome! We've done this kind of training as well and it is always somewhat frustrating. Horses should be well trained BEFORE they are taken on to a multi-use trail. It is not my job to help you train your horse, especially if they are skittish. Also, I will never put myself downhill of a 1500lb animal that could stomp me at any moment. I've found that without fail, I always end up passing horses on trails with steep side slopes and if I was to go on the low side, I'd pretty much be stepping off a cliff.

    With all of that said, I (we) obviously try really hard to be good trail ambassadors and we go out of our way to be super friendly.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  3. #3
    Reputation: Empty_Beer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Common sense will always apply! On steeper slopes, nobody should be stepping off the trail towards a big fall. I've had equestrians get their horses upslope enough to let me pass safely. It's all about communication.

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