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  1. #1
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    Horses and Bikes - good, bad and deadly

    Hi Bikers,
    There is a lot of tension between the mountain biking community and the equestrian community and the fact is, all our trails are going to be closed if we don't learn to get along and band together to keep them open. We all like to ride fast at times. Nothing like being on my four-legged ride at a full gallop up and down some nasty trails. I am positive you feel the same way. However, there are those who just don't get the fact that doing this around a blind corner is a disaster for the three animate objects and probably your bike too if we all collide at full force. A man with his two young kids came careening around a blind corner at Cheseboro and if my husband's and my horse had not jumped sideways 10 feet in the air, and we had not stayed on, the paramedics would have had a bad day. So, please, if you are come up to a blind curve - especially if you see horse trailers in the parking lot, please know that a horse and rider are probably just on the other side. Just slow a little and MAKE A LOT OF NOISE! The absolute worst thing you can do is think you can get by a horse without him seeing you. They are flight creatures and see almost 360, with the exception of a fist size spot between their eyes. They can cow-kick you off your bike - they are precise - without so much as a missed step. Anytime you see a horse and rider, slow down and talk. They need to hear a voice to know you are human. If we see you, we will stop and let you pass. Just give us a minute to get the horse's rear end away from your head, okay???? We all have the same idea of fun, we just ride different vehicles. Thanks! Happy trails, SaddLLP

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddLLP
    . Just slow a little and MAKE A LOT OF NOISE! The absolute worst thing you can do is think you can get by a horse without him seeing you. They are flight creatures and see almost 360, with the exception of a fist size spot between their eyes. They can cow-kick you off your bike - they are precise - without so much as a missed step. Anytime you see a horse and rider, slow down and talk. They need to hear a voice to know you are human. If we see you, we will stop and let you pass. Just give us a minute to get the horse's rear end away from your head, okay???? We all have the same idea of fun, we just ride different vehicles. Thanks! Happy trails, SaddLLP
    Why do I have to be responsible for the lack of control you have over your animal? I can control my bike just fine and it's never spooked or tried to trample other trail users.

    If you're out there on a horse it's YOUR responsibility to ensure they are calm around bicycles. You are endangering other trail users if you're out there on an animal that you can't control. If you are unsure about your animal it doesn't belong out there on the trails.

    I follow the rules and yield, as we are supposed to. I usually don't meet bad equestrians, just like most people don't usually meet bad riders, but I do have an issue with a 1000lb dumb animal that is "spooked" by other trail users and even other animals on the trail. It wouldn't be much of an issue of equestrians took responsibility and rode bicycles around their own horses to get them familiar, but it's not my experience that they are that responsible, they want everyone else to be responsible for the lack of control they have over their animals.

    Maybe this is comming off a little harsh, as I said I meet a lot of equestrians that seem to be nice people, but answer me this: Have you ridden bikes around your horse to familiarize them for the mutli-use trails you are evidently riding?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
    trail rat
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    Huh. I'll be damned!

    In our area we have many equestrians, bikers, hikers, and no conflicts. We build trails and maintain them together, shoulder to shoulder. Our primary source of land acquisition and funding is the local equestrian groups, and they turn the money over to us for trail maintenance.

    http://www.slopost.org/
    http://www.cccmb.org/

    We all ride fast when we want, are courteous, friendly, and non accusatory toward each other. It works.

    You live in the wrong place and place too much blame on someone else.
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  4. #4
    How do I do that?
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    I have no problem stopping and talking to you folks (I always do) but would you please pick up the huge piles you leave in the middle of the trail. Thanks

  5. #5
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    all the more reason to keep your horses on private property. i can at least keep my bike under control. its comical that mountain bikers were labeled as being more damaging to trails. i hate riding thru horse manure and i loathe the ruts and trail damage done by horses on wet trails. 1500lbs of horse and human on wet trails = major damage.

  6. #6
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    Well, I guess we all read what we want to read. Sorry to have taken space on your forum. Let's hope we all meet under good circumstances on the trail. Sorry to have seemed accusatory - thought I was opening a good dialog to tame the tension, not give it a forum to get worse. Back to my own forum to talk about our uncontrollable poop-machines....

  7. #7
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    The horse thinks we are predators looking for an easy meal. You have to understand that horses are prey animals, and their fight or flight instincts are hardwired and no human will ever be able train that out of them. They can be acclimated to bikes, but a fast moving object coming towards them still throws up the flight mechanism. The unpredictability of an animal is why hikers and bikers yield to the equestrian.
    I was sitting on a green-broke mustang mare when a biker came up from behind to fast, and scared the horse, causing her to kick the biker on the thigh, effectively ruining his day. I did not feel sorry for the guy and thought it was comical because the trail head was very clear that bikers and hikers yield to horses and gave precautions, this guy evidently felt the rules did not apply to him and found out the hard way why.
    I no longer have horses because of the unpredictability issues. I also understand why and do fully agree that bikers and hikers must yield to horses for the safety of all parties. We all have an equal right to use our public lands, and must co-operate making this a win-win situation. Bickering will result in trail access being denied, limited or closed, in which case this is lose-win, and you may find yourself searching for other trails further away from home.

  8. #8
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    Wow, I am surprised with the reception here. Thanks for posting saddLLP and it was really commendable to try to open a dialog here. Sorry for the reception, I think there is a lot of frustration here because of the stigma that is attached to MTB while equestrians seem to be somewhat immune.

    You are right that we need to work together.

  9. #9
    trail rat
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    What I read here is that the bikers are being told to change, and I hear nothing about what the equestrians can do on their side.

    In the area where I live, ride, work on trails (central coastal California, San Luis Obispo county), we have a great relationship with equestrians, they will watch ahead for bikers, get over to the side of the trail and wait, in areas where that is possible. Many times we bikers get off the trail and let the equestrians pass. Yes, on sudden encounters, the bikers yield to horses, but there are times when horses yield to bikers. Cooperation on both sides works both ways.

    But the bikers go to the equestrian meetings and ask, "What can we do to make this good for all of us?" The equestrians go to the bike meetings and ask, "What can we do to make this good for all of us?"

    This dialogue has been the equestrians telling the bikers what they have to do, or else loose trail access. Where is the cooperation in that?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddLLP
    Well, I guess we all read what we want to read. Sorry to have taken space on your forum. Let's hope we all meet under good circumstances on the trail. Sorry to have seemed accusatory - thought I was opening a good dialog to tame the tension, not give it a forum to get worse. Back to my own forum to talk about our uncontrollable poop-machines....
    Welcome to the forum. You've probably noticed there are some folks here who have issues, some who specialize in keyboard combat, and some who have feel they've made lots of concessions to no perceptible effect on being treated as less than welcome. For what it's worth, I appreciate the effort you made to speak out.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Why do I have to be responsible for the lack of control you have over your animal? I can control my bike just fine and it's never spooked or tried to trample other trail users.

    If you're out there on a horse it's YOUR responsibility to ensure they are calm around bicycles. You are endangering other trail users if you're out there on an animal that you can't control. If you are unsure about your animal it doesn't belong out there on the trails.
    The word. Most horses taken out by amateur riders are poorly trained.

    If you want to play with an unpredictable toy that weights a ton it is your responsibility to make sure it is under control.

    Sight of a bicycle should not be regarded as something extraordinary.

    Equestrians have a sense of entitlement and abundance of smugness. They successfully usurped our public lands under false pretenses. Horses actually cause more erosion and damage then bikes. They drop manure everywhere and they are a danger to all other trail users.

    I was hiking with my kids in a local park - that prohibits cycling, as it is near a rich little town. I was nearly pushed off trail by some dumb horse. My kids had to get around stinky piles of manure.

    Nothing like that happens with bikes. Recreational horse riding should be banned from all public lands and cycling allowed on all established trails and roads including wilderness areas.

  12. #12
    North Van/Whistler
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    We get along with horses just fine in the south Chilcotin.

    Apologies about that jayem character and don't even get him started about bike suspension





    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  13. #13
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    Welcome to the ME Generation

    Recent studies show a dramatic rise in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.


    To our Equestrian friends, like saddLLP -- Thank you for all your help over the years in building and maintaining trails that we ALL can use.

    To those that have a "problem" with horses on trails and riding with safety and respect uppermost -- Good Luck with that.

    Happy Trails,

    Marc

  14. #14
    organically fed
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    Seems like we all just get along 'round these parts. I feel sorry for all the complainers. Are all y'all from Texas or something?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lokiboy8
    To our Equestrian friends, like saddLLP -- Thank you for all your help over the years in building and maintaining trails that we ALL can use.
    Where are those trails we can use? In national parks? In wilderness they kicked us out? In local state parks that prohibit cycling?

    Are they doing trail maintenance? Not around here. (SF Bay area)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddLLP
    We all like to ride fast at times. (...) However, there are those who just don't get the fact that doing this around a blind corner is a disaster
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Why do I have to be responsible for the lack of control you have over your animal? I can control my bike just fine and it's never spooked or tried to trample other trail users.
    I think saddLLP made an excellent point here.

    In the example that she gave, she and her husband were in good control of their horses, while some pretty dumb bikers came scorching around a blind corner.

    I rarely meet horses on trails. I have a plenty of blind corners, though. I dare not take them at full speed. I also try to make some noice before those corners.
    Why?
    - There could well be a fallen tree on the other side.
    - There could be another biker coming the other way.
    - There could be a family with little children there.
    - In some places, there might even be a bear.
    - A horse? Unlikely but possible.

    I don't want to run into any of those.

  17. #17
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddLLP
    Well, I guess we all read what we want to read. Sorry to have taken space on your forum. Let's hope we all meet under good circumstances on the trail. Sorry to have seemed accusatory - thought I was opening a good dialog to tame the tension, not give it a forum to get worse. Back to my own forum to talk about our uncontrollable poop-machines....
    Well, you had some good points, but you also essentially said that "mountain bikers need to do this, this, this, and this for horses". No, we don't need to do that because equestrians need to control their animals and if they can't, they don't belong on the trails.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  18. #18
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radair222
    We all have an equal right to use our public lands, and must co-operate making this a win-win situation.
    Only if you are responsible and not trying to pawn off your horse's uncontrolability on other trail users.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  19. #19
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    You know, we all talk about the poop issue in passing but I notice that when an equestrian does make their way over here they don't really address it.

    I want to know, do you feel guilty about leaving piles of horse biology all over the trails? How would you react to me if I walk my dog past your house and he poops on the sidewalk where your kids play?

    In all honesty, I will never forgive an equestrian, no matter how nice they are or how much effort they make to get out of my way or whatever, so long as they let their animals **** all over the trails.

    It might not be wrong for me to leave an apple core out in the woods, but a pile of them in the middle of the trail would not be tolerated.

    You want to reach across the the aisle and make nice nice? Clean up after yourself the way we are all expected to in the name of common courtesy.

    I just can't believe this issue never comes up at whatever meetings you get together at.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL

    Apologies about that jayem character and don't even get him started about bike suspension
    Thanks for the personal words and being concerned about me. It takes two to tango eh?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  21. #21
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime

    I rarely meet horses on trails. I have a plenty of blind corners, though. I dare not take them at full speed. I also try to make some noice before those corners.
    .
    I'll take the corners as fast as I can, but I always take them at a speed that allows me to stop on a dime if I need to. How the horse reacts to this is not my problem, as I'm under control and stopping before them. I agree with most of the things said here, just not that we need to do all sorts of special things like talk to the horse and so on. The equestrians need to be responsible for their animans and they need to control them. If they haven't done the necessary training or trained them around bicycles themselves, they should not be out there on the trail. If these things have been done, then enjoy the trails and have a good time.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=perttime]I think saddLLP made an excellent point here.

    In the example that she gave, she and her husband were in good control of their horses, while some pretty dumb bikers came scorching around a blind corner.

    QUOTE]

    Reading this thread I was thinking exactly the same thing. The horse rider was addressing BLIND corners and that people will get hurt.

    I started off riding thinking just like everyone one else. That poorly trained horses and inexperienced riders have no business being out on the trail. They are a danger, blah blah blah. Lets use the same standards on ourselves... Did I have any business being on the trail while I learned???

    I came around a corner on loose gravel, and kicked up some rocks. There was a familiy on horses, taking their daughter on her first trail ride. Because she was inexperienced her horse spooked. By Jayem's trail use "rules" I was still in the right. But what right did I have to endanger that little girl. Watching her cling to her horse terrified sure didn't make me feel that I was in the "right". Made me feel like an...

    If you look into the IMBA trail use it describes multi use trails and use designed trails. Use designed are still multi use but designed for hiking, running, biking or horse. Its pretty easy to tell when you are on a trail that horses frequent, and act appropriately. When you ride a trail designed specifically for bikes, let er rip.

    What do we expect Horse riders to do, keep the inexperience horses on the wider easy trails. What do they expect us to do, watch for them and keep it slow on the wider trails.

    SaddLLP hasn't even asked for that much, watch blind corners and make noise. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

  23. #23
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    There was a familiy on horses, taking their daughter on her first trail ride. Because she was inexperienced her horse spooked. By Jayem's trail use "rules" I was still in the right. But what right did I have to endanger that little girl. Watching her cling to her horse terrified sure didn't make me feel that I was in the "right". Made me feel like an
    The horse spooked partially because that family didn't ride bikes around the horse THEMSELVES before taking the horse on a multi-use trail. Yes, there is no excuse for inexperienced mountain bikers as well, although we can try to spread the rules the best we can. I actually had to do this a few weeks ago with a very experienced tri/mtb "racer" I was riding with. She actually didn't know the rules of the trail, which was a little strange.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  24. #24
    North Van/Whistler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Thanks for the personal words and being concerned about me. It takes two to tango eh?
    EDIT eh - i was just trying to making a funny. Sorry about that.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  25. #25
    Over the Hill
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    I do many MTBing trips and have rode many areas. In most areas MTB and horses seem to co-exist just fine. I spend a lot of time riding the same trails as Jayem and of all the places I ride Prescott seem to have the most polite trail-users around.

    In So-Cal I have had my worst horse experiences like when a group decided in was time to get a young horse used to the trail. He was was being lead riderless tied to another horse, when a bike came up and stopped he freaking and starting kicking at everything close then broke free and ran full steam down the trail at some hikers. I don't blame the horse but people who own horses and really aren't "horse people".

    When I ride remote areas I find it comforting knowing that others on horseback are around for support if needed.

    Dean

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