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  1. #1
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    How to stop horse traffic?

    Any suggestion on what to do when horse back riders ignore 6x6 inch No Horses signs? Do you think a more emphatic sign might work, like: "STOP. No Horses. Please stay on predesignated horse trails." Or, threaten a fine? Suggestions appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennasdad
    Any suggestion on what to do when horse back riders ignore 6x6 inch No Horses signs? Do you think a more emphatic sign might work, like: "STOP. No Horses. Please stay on predesignated horse trails." Or, threaten a fine? Suggestions appreciated.
    Make entry to said trail difficult for a person sitting on the back of a 1,000lb animal, but easy to everyone else. Low branches, horse-unfriendly bridges, rock chokes, things like that. Low branches plus log crossings at the same time can help, too. Also, really narrow and twisty trail discourages horses.

    You could try putting a motion-sensing trail camera along the trail at some point to get photos of the offending horse riders. You can submit them to law enforcement AND you can post signs at the trailhead noting that the following photos have been given to law enforcement. You could personally stake out the trail and personally tell the horses that they aren't supposed to be on said trail. If they give attitude, then you can call law enforcement to come give them a fine.

  3. #3
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    You can't keep horses off the trail. They have a god given right to all trails. If you don't believe me,just ask a horse rider,they will tell you so. OK that is a little harsh. But not too far from the truth.
    All the things that NateHawk said have been used by us,except the camera. All of those work good to keep quads and dirt bikes out also. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Maybe this is missing the obvious, but where's your local horseman's organization in this?

    We're pretty lucky here, we get on pretty good with the backcountry horsemen, and they are pretty good at taking care of their own, just as they expect us to try and keep mountain biking asshats under control.

    (fomica will relate a local incident now)

    Interesting case in point, we have an area that is being developed as a MTB/DH/FR park, with permissions and working with the City, but it's not official YET. For the first time in history, some neighbor rode their horse right around the most congested area of downhillers, and then when a very polite young man ( I know him personally)suggested they were possibly not making good trail choices, the horse/riders went off in a snit and proceeded to posthole up the brand new dual slalom course!!

    First thing I did was make some calls, to our parks guy for a heads up ( in case the horse people complain) and then to our IMBA rep who is good buds with the local head BCH guy. The BCH guy was as annoyed as the rest of us.... and he's happy to get the word out as soon as there is an official word to get out. The bummer is that we can't officially ban horses until we go through the parks board with a "bike park package" but that's down the road. So right now we are hoping this is a one time thing... first time horses have ever been seen in there.

    I'm not sure what my point is, but I guess it's make sure your land managers know whats going on, someone had a say in that sign going in.

  5. #5
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    Thanks. This is very helpful. What would make a horse-unfriendly bridge? (The horse has already broken three planks on one bridge).

  6. #6
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Here is a bridge on the Mackenzie River Trail in Oregon, something like this would do it...
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    Last edited by formica; 03-23-2008 at 09:28 AM.

  7. #7
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    A horse trailer unfriendly parking lot helps in some cases as well. That all depends on the location of the trail-head though.

    A rider on a horse needs about 8.5 feet of clearance. A rider on a bike only needs about 7 feet. Make a nice little arch at the beginning of each bridge with just enough clearance for a standing rider.

  8. #8
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    A horse unfriendly bridge would have planks/sticks that are spaced far apart so a horse can't safely walk on it. I don't know what ability level riders you have, but you could also try a narrower bridge.

  9. #9
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    something like a cattle guard except with logs. run a 2x12 across the logs so you can still ride it. we've thought about doing something like that in the past but our trails are multi use so we would get busted.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks all, great suggestions! I'll get to work.

  11. #11
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    IF it's your land, do whatever you want. I'd put up signs about prosecution for trespasers. If it's public/ or government land, talk to the land managers abut building limited access entrances (twisting trails, barriers, gates). Everyone has access to the land, some are just denied because of how much damage they cause.

    In reality, it's up to land managers to control the access of lands. People should have access to beautiful places, but when EVERYONE wants to use it, it can be a burrden. See example: National Park Systems. WAY overused in some areas.

  12. #12
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    Horse owners although very self absorbed tend to love their horses more than themselves. They also have big resources (aka $$$) Be careful about unsafe bridges where they would fall through. A very tall stepover could be just the ticket. Say about 2.5 feet. (think of a gate with a bar like an "H".

    I would consider an unsafe bridge a liability. The high step-over could be jumped but the owner won't risk hitting a clearly solid crossbar. It is too likely to break the horses leg but is obviously due to the owners negligence.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
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  13. #13
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    How about this, Our local trail has horse owners living nearby who can access the trails at any variety of points along the trail through the woods which are adjacent to their property. The trail is MTB specific and we have had the horse riders fined before and they continue to ride the trail, especially when it's very wet. Any insight on this?

  14. #14
    SamIAm
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    string barbwire all up above the max clearance you need so they horse riders have to watch their heads. make sure its electrified so when they try to take it down they get zapped like a bug.
    <(*-*<) Go Ride (>*-*)>

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  15. #15
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    hahaha, while inventive and effective I'm sure, I don't wish to decapitate or kill these guys

  16. #16
    SamIAm
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    motion activated airhorn might be a good one to. scare the horses so much they wont go back
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  17. #17
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by EclipseRoadie
    How about this, Our local trail has horse owners living nearby who can access the trails at any variety of points along the trail through the woods which are adjacent to their property. The trail is MTB specific and we have had the horse riders fined before and they continue to ride the trail, especially when it's very wet. Any insight on this?
    Education. Talk with them and acknowledge their "desire" to use the trail. Make it clear that postholing the trail when its wet is the worst thing they can do and if it persists, you, the land managers, or whoever will get MUCH more aggressive in enforcing the rules.

    Fence off the trail or neighboring property may be the most aggressive thing you can get away with. Horse riders are typically early morning or late evening riders, particularly in summer they like to avoid heat of the day rides.

    Now for fun (as a joke only...):
    you could lobby your state game commission for a "horse season." Late summer before deer season would work.
    put a horse head on a stick at the property line
    paintball 'em

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    ......paintball 'em
    Probly the best idea i've heard all day.

  19. #19
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    Already tried the buddy-buddy nice guy way of asking. They act like its all cool then do it again a week later. I think the motion activated airhorns are the way to go. Hmm... or paintball mines.

  20. #20
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    Who owns the land? Who is the Land Manager? Who installed the "NO Horses" signs? Even if you own the land, if you build what some people are calling"Horse unfriendly Bridges", you may set yourself up for a liability lawsuit due to creating a hazardous condition.
    If you don't own the land, you, and better yet, an organized bike riders group, should contact the actual land manager to discuss the situation and let the Land Manager take care of enforcement. I don't know where your trails are located, and I don't know how many multi-use trail networks are in your area, but if you have a "Bikes Only" trail, you should consider yourselves very fortunate and let the authorities do their job. You guys can take pictures of horseriders breaking the law and provide the photos to the land manager. Take pictures of the riders in the parking lot with their license plates. If there is bad vibes between bikers and horseriders, I wouldn't bother trying to engage in polite conversation with the horseriders.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  21. #21
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    Post a no smoking sign.

  22. #22
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    Make the trail-head IMPOSSIBLE for horse access. Install a gate thats not wide enough for a horse, and a bit of chain-link fence so they can't get around it. Bridges work, as does very rocky, windy and narrow trail sections

    Call the 5-0 if you see horses at your spot. All it would take is one talk with a cop and you can be assured that they won't come back.

    Paintballing them is also a good option.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot
    Who owns the land? Who is the Land Manager? Who installed the "NO Horses" signs? Even if you own the land, if you build what some people are calling"Horse unfriendly Bridges", you may set yourself up for a liability lawsuit due to creating a hazardous condition.
    If you don't own the land, you, and better yet, an organized bike riders group, should contact the actual land manager to discuss the situation and let the Land Manager take care of enforcement. I don't know where your trails are located, and I don't know how many multi-use trail networks are in your area, but if you have a "Bikes Only" trail, you should consider yourselves very fortunate and let the authorities do their job. You guys can take pictures of horseriders breaking the law and provide the photos to the land manager. Take pictures of the riders in the parking lot with their license plates. If there is bad vibes between bikers and horseriders, I wouldn't bother trying to engage in polite conversation with the horseriders.
    If the trail is posted, "No Horses" then using bridge designs that do not accommodate horses is in no way a legal liability to anyone. Now, if you install a booby trapped bridge, then that might get you in trouble, but making bridges too narrow for horses to use or making bridges with widely spaced decking so the horses can see through it are accepted bridge designs for discouraging horse traffic (perfectly acceptable for bike and foot traffic, though). The cattle guard idea is outstanding.

    A lot of the design features that restrict or prohibit ATV's are also applicable to horses. If horses are accessing from side trails or cutting in from a nearby road, railroad, or private property, then that can be tougher to police. If it's private property, you can talk to the owners (if they're complete idiots, it'll be the property owners poaching the trails). If railroad property, you can send the railroads after 'em (in addition to the park rangers). I strongly recommend motion-sensing trail cameras (heavily camouflaged and locked to trees, of course) if you've got a major problem. Those photos will give law enforcement a history of illegal access and that can really add up when they finally get caught. Just make sure you get one with an IR flash that doesn't tip them off to the location of the camera.

    If you've tried the buddy-buddy route already and it doesn't work, then it's time to bring the law into it. Document, document, document. Recently I saw some really severe horse damage to my local trails. Now my trails are true multi-use...the horses are permitted there. Only thing is, they rode the trails after a day where we got 2" of rain, and before that 4" of snow melted. The trails were super soft and the horses SHREDDED them. I turned an ankle walking and mapping them. I know some of the local horse riders (who are involved in the trail stewardship group I'm in) and I'll bring it up to them so that hopefully they can talk to their horsey friends and so on and hopefully we can convince the horse folks to be especially careful about riding trail when they're wet. Unfortunately, in this case, there really is no way to get the law involved even if a small group of horse riders continue to ignore people telling them to wait until the trails dry before they ride (unless the park decides to restrict horse use due to resource degradation, but that's not likely to happen).

  24. #24
    Jesus loved the dinosaurs
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    A .30-06 will drop a horse (*snap*) just like that.



    (I'm kidding, I'm kidding...)

    It's a tough situation because I would like to think most of us know how they feel... as mountain bikers, we've all been there ourselves. What do you do if you love to ride, but can't find anywhere legal to ride? I don't horsey, but can sympathize.

    Of course, that being said, I OBEY the trail rules. If it says "no bikes", I don't ride there, and would expect the same level of respect from horseys.

  25. #25
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    If the trail is posted, "No Horses" then using bridge designs that do not accommodate horses is in no way a legal liability to anyone.
    The OP has not answered a few very important questions: Who OWNS the land? WHO is the Land Manager?

    If the OP owns the land and creates what can be considered a hazardous situation, he most definitely will expose himself to legal liability. The solution would be enforcement of tresspassing and illegal use of private property by the authorities, ie. local police. Example: True story. Shop owner in NYC was burglarized I believe 4-5 times. He hooks up 120 volts to the steel gates in front of his shop. Puts a sign on the gates stateing that they are electrified. Asshat tries to break in and gets fried. Shop owner gets tried for manslaughter. I know this is extreme, that the OP is not trying to kill anyone.

    Even if said person could be considered tresspassing, and property owner has minimal legal " Duty of Care", the tresspasser can still bring a "Negligence" lawsuit against the land owner. This is why most land owners develope a Risk Management Program to minimize hazards.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

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