MacDunn equestrian use?
I'm looking to do some riding at MacDunn but I hear that the trails are also open to horses. I'm not looking to plow into an equestrian. Are there some trails closed to horses? For those that ride the area, do you see horses much?
Calloway Creek and Intensive Management trails are open to hikers year-round and mountain bikers seasonally, and are never open to horses. Official trail information here for McDonald Forest:
McDonald Forest Trails | College Forests
Official trail etiquette from the College of Forestry is posted here, including expectations of right of way:
Trail Etiquette | College Forests
I don't see horses very often when I ride. Encounters with hikers or trail runners are much more common, especially on a popular trail like Dan's or around the Oak Creek gate. I slow before going into any corner I can't see the exit of, and every single one of those corners at some time has had someone else on the trail.
One time I did encounter two horses with saddles and bridles but no riders, walking up the 680 rd, just below the top of Uproute and Extendo trails. I found someone looking for them on horseback, headed up Patterson Rd towards Dimple, and got him turned around.
I rarely see equestrians out in Mac forest. Plenty of horse apples on certain roads and trails and occasionally a soft trail post holed.
I certainly dont base any riding decisions in the Mac on equestrian encounters.
I have encounted them most often during high usage times in the forest (nice weather, early weekday evenings, and Saturday late AM) and on popular trails like Dans and Horse.
I try to avoid those trails and riding times anyway, so I honestly dont remember the last time I have encountered one.
Even then, the encounters are generally no big deal. I yield the trail, get off my bike and talk to the rider. Most are cool about it, but there are a few tools in every group including equestrians and mountain bikers.
About the worst of it is coming up behind a slow moving group of equestrians on a downhill and trying to get their attention. Had one group purposely ignore me and not let me pass.
So...maybe 1 or 2 negative encounters for me in 15 years of riding out there 2-3 times a week year round.
Just make a sound like a rattlesnake & watch the fun ensue. (I'm kidding, people)
Must be luck (bad?), but I've only ridden in the area 3 times and I have run into 4 groups of horses. Extendo, Dimple Hill x2, and once on one of the roads.
That said, all four groups were very aware I was around, stopped until they saw that I was yielding the trail, and were very pleasant!
My go-to joke is, "My ride doesn't get scared and try to throw me off, I do that on my own!" I honestly don't mind yielding, as long as they don't have an attitude about it.
I too have only a couple of encounters with horses, and like others, they were in the more higher traffic, or multi-use trails like Dan's. Although, an interesting encounter on Narnia did surprise me a bit as I never thought I would see horses there. But those encounters were all pretty positive, and the people were nice. Horse people like you to get off your bike and talk or say something. From what I am told, the horse can't tell that you are a human when you are on a bike and seeing you off of it helps them understand what you are and feel more confortable.
There are trails up there that you will not see horses on though, as they may be much too technical or steep.
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