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  1. #1
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    Why I hate horses

    This is one of the many reasons I hate horses. Why I hate horses-image.jpgWhy I hate horses-image.jpg

    I've put years of work into this trail and some horses.... rider decides he needs to take his gazillion pound horse and tear the... Um, make a huge mess out of the trail. They sit on their high horses and don't care that it is muddy because their stupid horse is the one that has to deal with the mud, not the idiot on the horse. Sorry about the rant, but man, it makes me mad.

    Here are another picture from a new section of the trail.

    Why I hate horses-image.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Why I hate horses-image.jpg  

    Why I hate horses-image.jpg  

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  2. #2
    zrm
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    No doubt in my mind that horses have the most impact of the non motorized users, but I can give you plenty of photos of MTB impacts that are just as unacceptable as what you've posted.

  3. #3
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    Recently in europe lots of people got tired of their horses and made lasagna and meatball out of them, big scandal all over europe and the uk. So I guess youre not alone hating them.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I can give you plenty of photos of MTB impacts that are just as unacceptable as what you've posted.
    I imagine that is true. I just have never personally seen as much damage from a mountain bike as from a horse.

    The worst example I can think of from horses is in the High Uintahs is on the trail to King's Peak (highest point in Utah). There is a little stream coming out of Dollar Lake. The horseback riders have turned that area in to a huge quagmire that is impossible to cross without sinking deep into the mud.

    I guess the biggest bur under my saddle is that the horses are allowed into the wilderness area where they destroy the wilderness, yet bikes are not allowed. Mountain bikers and equestrians can both be damaging, but from my experience mountain bikers pale in comparison to the equestrians. If your going to ban the bikes, ban the horses also. However I think with proper restrictions cross country mountain biking is very compatible with the wilderness philosophy.
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  5. #5
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    ZRM I have yet to see an equestrian built horse trail destroyed by MTBR's. But then again I have never seen an equestrian build a trail.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABud View Post
    .But then again I have never seen an equestrian build a trail.
    Nail. Head.

    Maybe they'd appreciate it a bit more if they did.

    Also, don't hate horses. They go where they're told. Just like bikes. Take your beef to the irresponsible trail users, whatever their means of use may be.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sambs827 View Post
    Nail. Head.
    Also, don't hate horses. They go where they're told. Just like bikes. Take your beef to the irresponsible trail users, whatever their means of use may be.
    Yeah, but as I said it is one of MANY reasons I hate horses. We had a horse when I was a kid. I have plenty of things I hate about horses.
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  8. #8
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    I've seen plenty of equestrian built trails. The first word I would use to describe them is unsustainable. The second word that comes to mind is unridable. The conditions of the trails are usually so bad you wouldn't want to ride it, but if you did, anyone saw you on them, they'd fuss at you about how bad you're tearing up their trails.

  9. #9
    saddlemeat
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    My experience: Horse riders cause more damage than any other non-motorized user group, including cows. Hikers are second... they will tromp down a soaked trail without a second thought. Newb bikers who believe those IMBA sanctioned mud commercials are third...
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  10. #10
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbeagle View Post
    I imagine that is true. I just have never personally seen as much damage from a mountain bike as from a horse.

    The worst example I can think of from horses is in the High Uintahs is on the trail to King's Peak (highest point in Utah). There is a little stream coming out of Dollar Lake. The horseback riders have turned that area in to a huge quagmire that is impossible to cross without sinking deep into the mud.

    I guess the biggest bur under my saddle is that the horses are allowed into the wilderness area where they destroy the wilderness, yet bikes are not allowed. Mountain bikers and equestrians can both be damaging, but from my experience mountain bikers pale in comparison to the equestrians. If your going to ban the bikes, ban the horses also. However I think with proper restrictions cross country mountain biking is very compatible with the wilderness philosophy.
    The prohibition of bicycles in designated wilderness has never been significantly about trail impacts.

  11. #11
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    My experience: Horse riders cause more damage than any other non-motorized user group, including cows. Hikers are second... they will tromp down a soaked trail without a second thought. Newb bikers who believe those IMBA sanctioned mud commercials are third...
    This is, IMO one of the biggest problems we have in MTB. That is that attitude that "such and such is worse than we are and we hardly have any impacts" How a particular user group impacts trails is a complex subject with a lot of variables. MTBs can be fairly benign, or tear the s**t out of trails. The same can be said of all other user groups.

    Since this is a MTB forum, I would suggest MTBers concentrate on what they can do to promote the best possible stewardship within their own group - something which is very much needed - before we blame all woes and problems on others.

  12. #12
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    i hate when people break bottles all over trails. why?

  13. #13
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    Why I hate horses-sign.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I would suggest MTBers concentrate on what they can do to promote the best possible stewardship within their own group - something which is very much needed - before we blame all woes and problems on others.
    Maybe you have not built some exceptional single track only to be destroyed by an equestrian. If I build it and maintain it (trails don't sustain themselves, at least not in these parts) keep your livestock off my trails.

    However you must communicate or expect the consequences.

    And no my name is not Brian.

  14. #14
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    so what? He posted about horses wrecking a trail he has sweat into. Your photo collection has NOTHING to do with his pain. Start a new thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    No doubt in my mind that horses have the most impact of the non motorized users, but I can give you plenty of photos of MTB impacts that are just as unacceptable as what you've posted.

  15. #15
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    In spite of my rhetoric I do have a good relationship with equestrians within the park I have the privilege to build. They respect the signs and I advocate for their needs. We cannot alienate other users. For the most part the lazy bureaucrats would rather we all get off their land. We users must work together for access to OUR land. However that doesn't mean we share all trails.

  16. #16
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABud View Post
    In spite of my rhetoric I do have a good relationship with equestrians within the park I have the privilege to build. They respect the signs and I advocate for their needs. We cannot alienate other users. For the most part the lazy bureaucrats would rather we all get off their land. We users must work together for access to OUR land. However that doesn't mean we share all trails.
    All the bureaucrats that I work with are very hard working people who care about the land and care about people have the best possible experience when they are using it. They also have more people than just me wanting different things from them and they also have to work within whatever laws or statutes applies to the land their charged with managing. I'd lighten up a bit on the bureaucrats you hate so much.

    Other than that I agree with a lot of your post. Here we have more issues with motorized users not respecting the rules than equestrians. In fact in most places I've been, horse traffic is a pretty small segment of the trail user population and the numbers are small enough that it's not an issue at all. The exception is areas utilized by commercial stables who make an absolute mess of the trails they use.

    In my area though, the biggest problem on trails with heavy MTB use is irresponsible use by MTBers. That is: riding trails when wet, braiding trails around mud puddles or other obstacles, skidding and creating braking bumps into corners, shortcutting turns and switchbacks, creating illegal trails which makes us all look bad and makes working with land managers more difficult than it needs to be, not yielding to hikers or uphill riders, etc. Which isn't to say there isn't plenty of blame to go around amongst all the user groups, there are much more destructive recreational activities than even the worse MTB abuses, but this is an MTB forum and we have plenty of work to do policing ourselves before we go ranting about other users.

    Before you call me a hater or ask who's side I am on, I founded the Summit County CO MTB .org and I've devoted 20+ years of my life to working with land managers land owners, and other user groups to further MTB access, trail building & maintenance, and promoting good stewardship. On average over that time, I've probably volunteered 6 days a summer to organized trail projects (not counting prep on the ones where I've been on the organizing team) and many more to minor bits of work here and there like cutting out blow down or hiking with a pulaski cleaning drains. I designed some of the most iconic races courses in CO like the Firecracker 50, the Breck 100 and the Breck Epic. I used to make a living building trails and built some of the most well used - and legal - trails around Breckenridge. So I'd say I know a little bit about mountain biking and trails

    I've been around long enough to see quite clearly that MTBers can be their own worst enemy, especially when they blame everything that's a problem on everyone else but themselves. Back to my original point; yes, I know a horse can chew up a trail badly, but so can bikes and a lot of other things. Get over it and do what you can to fix the problem. Ranting about who and what you hate on an interwebz bike forum does nothing.
    Last edited by zrm; 03-19-2013 at 05:19 AM.

  17. #17
    Coastal Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABud View Post
    In spite of my rhetoric I do have a good relationship with equestrians within the park I have the privilege to build. They respect the signs and I advocate for their needs. We cannot alienate other users. For the most part the lazy bureaucrats would rather we all get off their land. We users must work together for access to OUR land. However that doesn't mean we share all trails.
    This is right on for my area! The local public land managers for the most part would rather not have their lands open to anyone! This does not mean that cyclists should have to voluntarily advocate and build trails to handle horses and motorcycles as well as hikers and cyclists. If the horse or motorcycle riders would like to use the trails they need to help make sure the trails can handle their use. Unfortunately most horse riders here think they are entitled to ride anywhere they would like and the motorcycles feel shut out so they just go out law and blast up any trail they can!
    It is way easer to build hiking and biking trails here so how do we get the horse and motor riders to put in the extra work to make trails hold up to their use?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    This is, IMO one of the biggest problems we have in MTB. That is that attitude that "such and such is worse than we are and we hardly have any impacts" How a particular user group impacts trails is a complex subject with a lot of variables. MTBs can be fairly benign, or tear the s**t out of trails. The same can be said of all other user groups.

    Since this is a MTB forum, I would suggest MTBers concentrate on what they can do to promote the best possible stewardship within their own group - something which is very much needed - before we blame all woes and problems on others.
    This thread is about horses. Stay on topic or start another thread.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbeagle View Post
    I imagine that is true. I just have never personally seen as much damage from a mountain bike as from a horse.

    The worst example I can think of from horses is in the High Uintahs is on the trail to King's Peak (highest point in Utah). There is a little stream coming out of Dollar Lake. The horseback riders have turned that area in to a huge quagmire that is impossible to cross without sinking deep into the mud.

    I guess the biggest bur under my saddle is that the horses are allowed into the wilderness area where they destroy the wilderness, yet bikes are not allowed. Mountain bikers and equestrians can both be damaging, but from my experience mountain bikers pale in comparison to the equestrians. If your going to ban the bikes, ban the horses also. However I think with proper restrictions cross country mountain biking is very compatible with the wilderness philosophy.
    I hate to see good work spoiled.

    I will lean on the bureaucrats, though.
    In our area, for the longest time, there were NO MTB trails. It was said, by the self-appointed environmentalists (and the status-quo bureaucrats), that MTB trails were unsustainable, couldn't be shared, cost too much, not enough interest, blah blah blah.
    In the mean time, absolutely NO STANDARDS were applied to equestrian trails (by the bureaucrats) and those trails were destroyed and rebuilt at great cost and resource expense on a yearly basis. The equestrian riders became used to that. They even raised money to help with maintenance.
    But the whole time, nobody (no bureaucrat) said "Don't ride horses on soft trails." So the attitude evolved that "Hey, if it gets torn up this year, we'll just pay the guy who fixes it to come back next year."
    I'm sure none of that kinda money gets into old mtbeagle's hands.

    Once MTB trails were allowed, I even went out and made a photo essay (which I do not have handy) to compare the rigorous standards set forth by the bureaucrats to qualify a MTB trail to the non-existent standards allowed for the torn up equestrian trails in the same park. The disparity was preposterous! Horse trails measured at 30 feet wide in places. Grades with free-flowing water running down the middle that would otherwise not even be there but for the trenched-out horse trail. Horse trail re-routes where one trench is created only yards parallel from the existing trench... er, I mean horse trail.
    Meanwhile, MTB trails had requirements for tread width, slope, proximity, corridor width, not to mention sight lines, pre-approved reroutes in the event that old hiking trails were being re-used or reclaimed by section, and speed-control features (which I'll admit are a necessity that horse trails probably do not need).

    The equestrian mentality was sooo different that the park eventually posted signs and finally trail cameras and issued citations to the horse riders who had that poor behavior and sense of entitlement ingrained. It is just starting to get better. But there haven't been any new horse trails because they are still closing the old crappy ones, and it has been determined that there are almost no more places to build sustainable new ones.
    MTBs, on the other hand, can be accommodated in many areas without over-saturation of trails and without damaging sensitive areas.

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  20. #20
    saddlemeat
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    We try to make our mtb trails unattractive to horse traffic by pruning low and narrow, and installing trail cattleguards in fence crossings at the average rate of 1 per .75 miles of trail. Trailheads have cattleguards at all entrances/exits. This makes the forest two tracks more attractive to equestrians, and is what horses should be restricted to, IMO. Horse damage is more like motor vehicle damage, maybe even worse, and I'm talking normal, and certainly legal, use here. They weigh 10 times as much as people, a thing you'll realize the first time one steps on your foot. They also tend to step in the same tracks, unlike cows, which mostly don't, so cow trails tend to be considerably smoother.

    All the bureaucrats I work with are on my side, which can also be a challenge at times.
    Last edited by bsieb; 03-19-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Every user group is your enemy.

    Every user group is your friend.

    How you engage them and your resilience in engaging them will determine their long term impact on the goals and objectives you have for trails/access.

    I have parks I work in where:
    -MTB are the worst user group - riding in all conditions, especially freeze/thaw after snow & rain
    -Dogs+Walkers are the worst user group - they destroy the understory in high traffic areas destabilizing river banks and have killed birds, fox cubs, and other wild life in preserves and have attacked/bitten other users... its not the dog though it is their walkers
    -Hikers are the worst - trail braids and unwilling to use re-routes/open old lines
    -Horses are the worst - they go wherever in whatever conditions and don't listen to pleas for responsible use or help while post-holing miles of trail

    I do agree with ZRM, if we were a bit more responsible as a community we'd have more & better trail access. We are a new user group and even though we have just as many idiots as other user groups, our idiots get a disproportionate amount of the negative attention.

    I see it at certain parks where the local community is super self conscious, the Land Managers ask for more guidance from MTB and consider us a favorite user type...

  22. #22
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    It's not so much the horse but the irresponsible rider that allows this kind of damage, whether they are aware or not, education is key.

    Some horses can be put to good use..
    Why I hate horses-horse.jpg

  23. #23
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    ^^^That may be the largest horse poo I've ever seen. Good on them for packing it out.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I've been around long enough to see quite clearly that MTBers can be their own worst enemy, especially when they blame everything that's a problem on everyone else but themselves.
    I have a slightly different take on this. Each group uses the worst case of the other for their argument. I can swap stupid dog walker-equestrian-hiker-runner-walker-mtb'ers stories ad nauseum. From that perspective I think it's a wash. I think it also important to appreciate that each user has a particular style of impact: a bike trail wears very differently than a hiker trail. That said, there are any number of studies concluding that feet and tires wear things about the same with throttled powered vehicles and horses being much harder on trails.

    Our worst enemy from the start are the arcane regulations which did not include Mtb and have been used to keep them out as something given, and the attitudes applied to the support of such thinking. People did not want change or people simply wanted to exclude us to keep their experience the way they want it.

    Two things have happened to change this:

    1. many of those, people are simply aging out of their sport and society.

    2. Our numbers have grown exponentially in the last 35 years, crossing many generations, and becoming a more accepted part of society.

    Meatheads, however, still abound. Yet here we are and it is getting better.
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  25. #25
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    The amount a damage a horse can inflict on a trail is so far beyond what a bike does it baffles me when comparisons are drawn between the two. Its like trying to have a logical discussion comparing the impact of a splattered egg vs an atomic blast.

    Ever see an equestrian doing trail work?

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