How many years have you been riding and how many horses have you crashed into?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How many years have you been riding and how many horses have you crashed into?

    I'm looking for some honesty here. I read a drastic number of anecdotes from equestrians who claim a mountain biker (or three) crashed into them on a trail. I call BS. I've been riding for 30 years and haven't even come close to running into a horse (and I'm not always on official MUTs). But maybe my perspective is skewed and riders are definitely crashing into horses. I'm curious what MTBR community members have to say.

    1. How many years have you been mountain biking?

    2. How many times have you crashed into (or made physical contact) with a horse on a trail?

  2. #2
    inebriate savant
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    1. 15 years. (Damn, has it really been that long?)

    2. Never. Never even had a truly bad encounter, to be honest. I did have some threaten to report me on an illegal trail that they were very obviously patrolling (and in all fairness, I should not have been on at 11am on a Sunday), but once I stopped and talked with them and offered to walk my bike back out the situation was defused.

    To be fair, 95% of equestrians I personally have come across have been decent people. It's that huffy 5% that's the issue...which basically is the same as mountain bikers.
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  3. #3
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    25 years, no collisions or altercations with equestrians.

  4. #4
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    Five years and one close call, about it

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  5. #5
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    32 years, no horse collisions. I do know some Equestrians I wish would fall off (the face of the earth).

  6. #6
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    11 years / 0 horsie crashes

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  7. #7
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    35 years mountain biking and no horse collisions.

  8. #8
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    Over 30 years and Iíve had quite a few bad interactions with equestrians. In every case the incident was due to the equestrian being poorly suited for controlling a horse in a public setting.

    Iíve never spooked a horse. And Iíve certainly never come into physical contact with someone riding a horse.

    Iíve been approached by equestrians saying they were frightened while I was off of my bike or hiking/running. Which is odd because why would you continue to approach something you didnít feel was safe.


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  9. #9
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    31 years of mountain biking and the only collision I've ever had was running over my friend whom I was following way too closely when he crashed. Later that day, he did the same thing to me. Good clean fun.

    Equestrians? Nope. They're the easiest other trail users to see, and I'm always looking ahead as far as possible. That said, I do know on which trails I'm most likely to encounter equestrians, and I avoid those trails. There have been numerous times where I pull up to a trailhead, and upon seeing more than one horse trailer, I make a 180 and go somewhere else.

    FWIW, I grew up on a ranch and have a lot of experience riding horses and actually used them to herd cattle through the backcountry. My finding with equestrians of that background is that they don't have any problems with bikers on trails; it's the "new west" "ranchers" that need you to give them a wide berth, stop and remove your helmet, tell the horse that "everything will be okay," and sing "Kum ba ya" because they and their horses don't have a clue what they're doing. I've even had some of the former type tell me "go ahead and ride on by, my horse is fine."
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  10. #10
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    36 years on a mtb and no horsie crashes but I have spooked 1 or 2 ripping around a blind corner. Equestrians have a point, lots of mountain bikers ride carelessly and without proper etiquette. Mountain bikers have a point too, some equestrians are sort of jerks.

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  11. #11
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    Important caveat: do equestrians use your local trails? If there are no horses on your trails, then of course you never run into them. This question is very regional.

    My local trails have one specific trail where horses are allowed. It has only one entrance, one loop, and is directional. Horses and hikers go anti-clockwise and bikes go clockwise. I rarely see horses out there at all though.

  12. #12
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    Since the early 90's/late 80's, no horse crashes and have never heard of anybody crashing into a horse. I guess I'm an outlier in that most all my horse interactions have been relatively pleasant. I did have an incident where a group of riders refused to yield trail, even at wide bearths while they were stopped, to the point of pissing everybody off in our group. After a long time following them our group eventually just bombed past them while they were stopped without incident other than some dirty looks on our part. Not sure what was up with that, they were the definition of clueless.
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  13. #13
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    I run into horse poop with some regularity.
    What, me worry?

  14. #14
    Raleigh
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    5yrs mtb'g.

    Have approached and passed many a horse. Never crashed into one, however, Mr. Ed gave me the stink eye once as I went by.

    Came ripping around a turn and bam, six horses coming up the trail. Full stop implemented. Although I was a fair distance away, Mr. Ed was the first horse, and he didn't appreciate all the commotion.
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  15. #15
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    Over 40 years riding man powered bikes on dirt... Not a single horse encounter since bike specific trails were built. Back in the beginning, before "MTB trails", we did encounter horses since horse and hiking trails were all there was. But never a crash or negative altercation that I've ever witnessed. There was a crash once between one of our motocross bikes and a cow, but that's another story. Ugly one to.

    To be fair, since bike specific trails were built, I could probably count on one hand how many multi-use trails that included horses I've been on. Or at least if I were on such a trail, there were no horses.
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  16. #16
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    27 or so years. Never hit a horse but have spooked one several time which was pretty terrifying for me and for the rider. The worst one was we were riding some really mellow terrain over on Onion Creek here in Austin. There's like 6 - 12ft brush on both sides of the trail. Came around a corner, not even going fast, but was like 15 ft when the horses saw us coming towards them. Riders were very polite once they got them under control, but was ugly for a minute or so.
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  17. #17
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    22yrs riding, no horse incidents (let alone crashes). to be completely honest, the vast majority of the time, I have not even been riding trails where horses were permitted. I do now, but encounters are uncommon since there are so many fewer horses out there than other users. usually when I encounter horses now, it's on really wide open trails and gravel roads where everybody can see everybody else from a long way off and everything goes fine.

    the only time a horse has ever been really spooky while I've been out in the woods was when I was backpacking at Mammoth Cave NP. And that horse was spooked by a trash can. The rider asked me to bang the lid of the trash can so the horse would recognize it and calm down. I was a little skeptical that this would work, but this did not appear to be one of those "new rancher" types who was clueless about their horse.

    in all honesty, it seems like in Pisgah, the backcountry horse group seems to have a halfway decent relationship with the mtb groups. they'll haul materials deep into the woods for trail projects for other groups.

    It's definitely not the case everywhere, though. I remember hearing about an incident some years ago where a gravel bike race used a public gravel road (the shame!) and a group of horse riders threw a fit about seeing bikes because that gravel road was part of a "horse trail" loop that they were riding (the gravel was just a connector between two trails). No collisions, but apparently one of the horses did spook, IIRC.

    I've no doubt that collisions between bikes and horses have occurred, but I have always had the feeling that these extremely rare events tend to get blown up and exaggerated to the point that the people ranting about them make it seem like they're much more frequent than they really are.

    I still don't like riding through horse poop, but I've had more issues with people wearing earbuds or blasting a bluetooth speaker.

  18. #18
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    started sometime in the late 80's - no horse interaction that i recall.

  19. #19
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    I'm all about multi use trails because I'm not obnoxious enough to think that my preferred form of recreation is more important than someone else's.

    But I will say that equestrians cause more trail problems. They leave poop, in places can chew up the trail when it's a little soft. And I can truthfully say I have had a handful of encounters where they acted like I was the problem for being on a multi use trail on a bike.

    None of that really bothers me. But locally for me we had an awesome trail system closed to biking which was spearheaded by an equestrian group and the language they ultimately got for the closure was "no mechanized use" and bikes are definitely no longer permitted. That bothered me in light of the fact that they are way more abusive to trails. And it was all pushed through under the auspices of creating a "natural protected area."

  20. #20
    Trail Rider
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    30 years, have come across maybe 15-20 horses and riders over that time. Not one bad interaction, I (sometimes with a group of bikers) yielded. Not one uncool equestrian.
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  21. #21
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    25 yrs

    No collisions, but several congenial encounters.
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  22. #22
    EMBA Member
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    F*ck Easter!!!

    I've ridden this place many times. Never run into this guy, but people I know have, although he might have moved. Haven't heard any stories about him for quite a while. He's was always this charming, from what I hear. There was a new trail built that was named in his honor. Trail name - Feaster.

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  23. #23
    Meatbomb
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    I run into them every time i see one....

  24. #24
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    Almost 30 years, and plenty of pleasant encounters, with no close calls. It's not terribly often we cross paths, maybe a few times a year or less.

    Only one bad interaction. It was b/c the young rider couldn't control her young horse, but dad decided to be a total jackass and come at us for it. We weren't even going fast, stopped well ahead of them, and followed all the protocol. Her horse was just freaked out at our presence as they tried to pass, and eventually got under control.

    We had a some hostile words, but I got instantly pissed at his accusations of blame, and let him have it.

  25. #25
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    25 years riding, zero collisions, 204 pleasant conversations trailside in passing with equestrians.
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  26. #26
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    20+ years riding Mountain bikes, and before that I rode Dirt Bikes AND Horses as a teenager.

    Never once have crashed into another person on a Motorcycle, Horse or Mountain Bike.....

    My Main riding area is off limits to horseback riding, but I did encounter one once on those trails, the lady was pushing her horse pretty quick up a climb and came up behind me, I climb slow, and asked to pass me. I pedaled closer to the side of the trail to give her room to pass, I never stopped moving.

    She was cooling her horse at the top and me and a few other riders chatted with her, she was a very good rider and purposely training her horse to get used to bikes on the trails. I was very impressed, her animal was very well trained. She WANTED to share the trails with us.
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  27. #27
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    I run into them every time i see one....
    Haha, like you purposely point right into them? That's the spirit! Well, your bike goes where your eyes go...

    I've had zero collisions with horses in over 30 years of mountain biking, one collision with another biker, and one with a dog.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Over 30 years and Iíve had quite a few bad interactions with equestrians. In every case the incident was due to the equestrian being poorly suited for controlling a horse in a public setting.

    Iíve never spooked a horse. And Iíve certainly never come into physical contact with someone riding a horse.

    Iíve been approached by equestrians saying they were frightened while I was off of my bike or hiking/running. Which is odd because why would you continue to approach something you didnít feel was safe.


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  29. #29
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    34 years, no collisions with any critters.

    While horses are allowed on almost all trails locally, it's unusual to see them. Maybe once or twice a season I'll encounter them on the trails. I've been around horses a fair bit, so I understand what spooks them. I had one bad encounter that was the riders fault. She was riding on double track close to the trail head in an EXTREMELY busy city park, with heavy bike use. I was descending the road, she was ascending at a walk. I saw her from far away, and once I was what I figured was a decent distance from her, I stopped and pulled off, removed my glasses and prepared to say hello, the usual. In the meantime, she started screaming for me to get away, that her horse spooked easily, and her horse began dancing around, bucking a bit. Eventually, she rode off into an adjoining field to get around me, and left me wondering how she was going to handle the next 100 encounters with bikes she was going to have in the following hour, and what possessed her to think that this park was suitable for her horse.


    I also had a crazy horse lady ride up a trail I was working on, that was still flagged and only half built who told me she had been riding it for 25 years.

    "You mean this one, that didn't exist 2 weeks ago?"

    "Yep, been riding it forever"

  30. #30
    Snow Dog
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    been riding in the woods since the 70's, mostly in the midwest. No horses incidents, but too many dog-off-leash incidents. And the scenario is that it is usually a dog whose owner in't even on the trail, but is in a nearby park or green space and just lets the dog go. What ticks me off about this is the owner allowing the dog to be in a situation where it could get really hurt. I am a staunch "dog on leash in public" advocate for many many reasons...all for the dogs well being. Having dated a Veterinarian for 13 years, I saw a lot of suffering due to human ignorance that could have been avoided

    I have actually almost ran into more junkies than dogs too, but that is usually on the BMX dirt trails.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    I also had a crazy horse lady ride up a trail I was working on, that was still flagged and only half built who told me she had been riding it for 25 years.

    "You mean this one, that didn't exist 2 weeks ago?"

    "Yep, been riding it forever"
    LOL! Typical (for trail users in general)

    I've been mountain biking for 30ish years. Lots of encounters with equestrians, almost all of them positive. I have had a few horses spook after the rider has told me to come on through. And, I've had a couple encounters where the equestrians damn well know I'm behind them, but refuse to acknowledge my presence or pull over despite ample opportunities. Honestly, the few negative encounters were in the distant past. I believe people around here have become well-versed in sharing the trails. The local trail crew is full of people from all groups.
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  32. #32
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    25 years and only killed six of them.

  33. #33
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    a really long time and never...


  34. #34
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    36 years

    No horses but I had a high speed collision with a dirt bike
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  35. #35
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    I had one encounter with 3 horses but no collision.

    Why are you asking tjiw weird question?


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I'm looking for some honesty here. I read a drastic number of anecdotes from equestrians who claim a mountain biker (or three) crashed into them on a trail. I call BS. I've been riding for 30 years and haven't even come close to running into a horse (and I'm not always on official MUTs). But maybe my perspective is skewed and riders are definitely crashing into horses. I'm curious what MTBR community members have to say.

    1. How many years have you been mountain biking?

    2. How many times have you crashed into (or made physical contact) with a horse on a trail?
    1. Since 1985. Rode multi user trails in Arizona for 18 years, always shared with horses.

    2. Never had a crash. Never even had a close call.
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  37. #37
    The White Jeff W
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    This showed up in one of the MTB Facebook groups I follow




    Hello everybody I donít post a lot other than trail work days however I need to ask everybody to STOP FOR HORSES. When you see a horse STOP get off the trail and talk to the rider. My daughter was in Hartwood Tuesday and a mountain biker with a long line of sight came bombing down a hill into a hollow and spooked my 14 year old daughterís horse. The horse ran and knocked her off the horse with a big branch to her face. She sustained facial and neck trauma. She was taken by ambulance to Presby. Iím hopeful sheíll be OK but she is pretty injured and will take some time to heal.

    The mountain biker yelled obscenities at the horse riders. He didnít stop for the horses initially and didnít stop for my daughter when she was laying on the ground screaming in pain for help. He just yelled at them and rode by.

    Thereís something we have called Trail Etiquette on trails in public lands. The trails are for everybody and we must share them and respect each other. Horses are dangerous and can hurt people. They get scared and spook: they jump or run out of fear and people can get hurt badly.

    Trail Pittsburgh adheres to the general rules of Trail Etiquette: mountain bikers stop and yield to horses and walkers/runners.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd553395.pdf

    I am sorry if this affects your Strava time but the public park is not your race course. I personally like to ride fast downhill but adhere to Trail Etiquette. I hear a lot from equestrians and pedestrians that some mountain bikers fail to yield and are not polite. This rude behavior that some mountain bikers display must change. Please tell all your friends for me and my daughter.

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  38. #38
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    I got kicked by a horse when I was 5-6 years old, riding a bike on Mackinac Island, MI.

    I have had zero bad horse encounters in the nearly 30 years since then, mostly due to a distrust of horses, their owners, etc. I give them a wide berth.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    This showed up in one of the MTB Facebook groups I follow




    Hello everybody I donít post a lot other than trail work days however I need to ask everybody to STOP FOR HORSES. When you see a horse STOP get off the trail and talk to the rider. My daughter was in Hartwood Tuesday and a mountain biker with a long line of sight came bombing down a hill into a hollow and spooked my 14 year old daughterís horse. The horse ran and knocked her off the horse with a big branch to her face. She sustained facial and neck trauma. She was taken by ambulance to Presby. Iím hopeful sheíll be OK but she is pretty injured and will take some time to heal.

    The mountain biker yelled obscenities at the horse riders. He didnít stop for the horses initially and didnít stop for my daughter when she was laying on the ground screaming in pain for help. He just yelled at them and rode by.

    Thereís something we have called Trail Etiquette on trails in public lands. The trails are for everybody and we must share them and respect each other. Horses are dangerous and can hurt people. They get scared and spook: they jump or run out of fear and people can get hurt badly.

    Trail Pittsburgh adheres to the general rules of Trail Etiquette: mountain bikers stop and yield to horses and walkers/runners.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd553395.pdf

    I am sorry if this affects your Strava time but the public park is not your race course. I personally like to ride fast downhill but adhere to Trail Etiquette. I hear a lot from equestrians and pedestrians that some mountain bikers fail to yield and are not polite. This rude behavior that some mountain bikers display must change. Please tell all your friends for me and my daughter.

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    Sadly as we all know, there are assholes everywhere, and if this rider did spook a horse and someone was injured, then this would be a gross minority for most humans in society and while champion proper trail etiquette makes sense even if 99.9% of the population practices it, just takes one asshole to ruin someone's day. Sadly seems like this dude's daughter met that 0.1% asshole.
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  40. #40
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    25 yers, never crashed into a horse, and the only time I've spooked them is when they're on trails where they shouldn't be [ie MTB only]...

  41. #41
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    22 years, 0 crashes into horses.

  42. #42
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    5 years + and all my local trails have stables really, so I use I bell, I know I share the trail with other users, and always stop for a horse. Always a pleasant experience, Thankfully!
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  43. #43
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    1. How many years have you been mountain biking?

    21ish years

    2. How many times have you crashed into (or made physical contact) with a horse on a trail?

    Zero. No even close calls. Physical contact? Many, many times. I always ask if I can give the horse a pat or scritch. Most riders are good with that.

  44. #44
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    28 years. Zero physical contact, although I did have to ditch off the trail once to avoid a potential collision. No harm done and the horseback rider was very cool about it, he even apologized.

  45. #45
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    Been on a bike in the mountain areas and trails for 26 years. I don't count the first two years in Michigan mostly on greenways and city biking though. It isn't really horse country or areas there.
    No horse collisions.

    Only come upon them a few times in the years and I always get off the bike or the trail to make way for them fearing the horse will fear me and bike making things dangerous.
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  46. #46
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    On and off 20 years.

    Only bad encounter with a horse was on my gravel bike. On a particular point on a multi-path the horse trail converges along with the road. I see them ahead in the distance, get off my bike on the 4 ft wide path, and stand there. Horse freaks out, falls off path/curb, into the road. Nearly causing an accident with a car.

    Horses that freak out so easily have no more business in public than a unchained Pitt bull.

  47. #47
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    Riding sinceí92. The first several years were spent riding unofficial multi use trails in southern Indiana and had lots of encounters with horses. We always stopped for them, or they moved over for us, and usually had pleasant exchanges. Never came even close to
    actually colliding with them.
    I have been riding dirt bikes for over
    45 years and have to admit to some close calls with horsesóand other critters as well. One such incident near Gemini Bridges in Moab óhigh speeds,
    competitive nature with like minded friends, a blind corner, and bad judgment all combinedó nearly led to a collision with a horseman. I can
    still see the look in his eyes.

  48. #48
    Hitching a ride
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    Never hit a horse, but if I did I wouldn't think anything of it. The maddest horse riders got was actually when I was my road bike country roads. They throw a hissy fit about their horse but I don't slow down. It's their responsibility to keep their obsolete form of transportation under control.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    Never hit a horse, but if I did I wouldn't think anything of it. The maddest horse riders got was actually when I was my road bike country roads. They throw a hissy fit about their horse but I don't slow down. It's their responsibility to keep their obsolete form of transportation under control.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    Being an ass hole is a choice independent of what's being ridden.
    I know, right? If being an asshole is bad because asshole's take a dump on people, then riding an animal that literally takes a dump on roads and trails, and then throwing a fit expecting every other road user to prostate themselves before you, is about as complete an asshole as one can aspire to be in public.

    It's because of this conduct that I can reasonably conclude that horse riders must support the general behavior of being an asshole. My paying them no attention doesn't even rise to that level, so I am comfortable not paying them any attention.

  51. #51
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    23 years mountain biking, nearly all on equestrian trails.

    I have spooked one horse, and the rider was able to gain control of her animal. Honestly, sensitive horse and not my fault.

    My number one fear is crashing into a horse and rider in a blind, swoopy downhill corner. Thereís quite a few of those around here.

    These days, I make noise in any sketchy place to alert the rider of my presence.

    Never hit a horse, and I ALWAYS get off the trail and bike when I see them.

    98% of the riders are cool, but itís those 2 snooty percent that can drive me bonkers.


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  52. #52
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    Word of advice. When you come upon equestrians, pull off the trail on the downhill side and let them pass by. A horses natural enemy is a Mountain Lion. Mountain Lions normally attack from above or from behind. Itís in a horses instinct to be spooked by a presence above them. They fear that and may be spooked. Less likely to spook of a presence on the downhill side of them.
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  53. #53
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    20 years with 0 encounters. One time I rode up behind a couple that was having a hell of a time with their horse. I asked to pass, but the woman could not get full control of the horse, so I opted to turn around. It was an out and back, so I would have had to pass them again. I have no clue if it was the horse or the rider. Either way they should not have been out on a multi use trail.

  54. #54
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    15 years, never hit a horse. Don't see them often, though I often have to dodge their excrement.
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smackem View Post
    Horses that freak out so easily have no more business in public than a unchained Pitt bull.
    A-fkn-men to that. Perhaps horse riders need to take a bit more accountability in that regards? If your horse is going to freak out at the sight of another trail used before they've even had a chance to give way then perhaps you shouldn't ride it on multi-user trails.

    And Shulze, as controversial as it may be I kinda agree with your stance. I hate that dog owners are constantly threatened with prosecution etc for not removing their dogs poop yet horse riders feel they're entitled to leave huge piles of sh!t where ever they go. Dog, human or horse; if you're heading outdoors and need to poop you better have a bag or a spade...

  56. #56
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    Started riding in 1994.
    Zero horses hit.
    Silly bike things happening.

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    Never heard of such a thing, it'd be more likely the bicycle spooked the horse and the horse rider could not control the horse. Lots of times dogs get spooked by bicycles on the pathway system, not any different then a ~1 ton (900kg/1900lb) horse that no one can tame, unlike your normal everyday dog. It'd be way more likely its the horse and its riders that are at fault and to blame, then anything else. But I have seen some people with Ginormous dogs, and the dog handler is so small, now thats gotta be a syndrome for sure. Unless they have a choker leash, they cant control the big dog neither and would be at fault if the dog bite the bicycle rider or caused the bicycle rider to fall over.

  58. #58
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    Over 25 years, zero.

    Interestingly, in Arizona, the encounters were always more stand-off-ish, like every time they had something to prove and you were in the wrong no matter what you did. Here, I've had far less encounters, but so much more positive it's crazy comparatively.

    In 11 years in AZ, horse encounters were quite common. Not all of them were bad, just more conflict as compared to here.

    I'd reckon that the "crashes" the questions are quoting are actually "they almost crashed into me!" as in "they stopped and my untrained horse spooked!".

    I always ride so I can stop and I don't care if it spooks a horse when I stop, that's their responsibility and liability, but it's important to always ride in control so you can do just that, whether it's a horse, hiker, someone towing a child, etc.
    "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

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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    A horses natural enemy is a Mountain Lion.
    Um...before or after they were introduced to the continent?

    I don't think this is correct at all. They may be prey/grazing animals, but I'm pretty sure mountain lions have not been preying on horses for any significant amount of time to make this an instinct related to mountain lions. Usually, the size and logistics of something like that are not attempted by a solitary animal like a mountain lion. Maybe a pack of wolves, but horses would pack together and stomp the wolves, they'd really be trying to separate one the entire time, most likely a sick or young one. Mountain lion going after deer? Sure. Generally, it's not common that animals like wolves and cats take down something way bigger/heavier than them unless they have strength in numbers. It's too risky for a meal otherwise.
    "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

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  60. #60
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    One time 15ish years ago, I stopped when I saw an equestrian coming and asked if I should get off my bike. He said, "hell no! If I cant control this thing I shouldn't be on the trail! Keep going!" It was pretty funny, and it changed my perspective.

    He was right. I don't even stop anymore, I move (for my own safety) to the side so I dont get kicked. If your wild trotting glue factory isn't trained enough to be in a public setting on a multi-use trail, you shouldn't be there. Its not an overly dramatic suggestion either, in my experience it seems like 90% of the horses are used to bikes, so the training is obtainable and reasonable. The remaining 10 can still share the trail, but its the owners responsibility to keep it under control for everyone's safety. If necessary, they can dismount. I'm on a metal bike, its not getting spooked by anything! I think the burden of safety and control falls on them.

  61. #61
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    There is possibly another dynamic here though.

    I notice more and more, that people do not want to really yield and give the benefit of the doubt to the other trail user, they try to "ride around" them, whether off trail, or on a wide-trail at high speed. I guess these people want really wide trails, fireroads really, so users can be going both directions and pass at high speed.

    When I stop for hikers and other trail users, I always tell them that they have the right of way, especially when they act surprised by my actions. It's not worth blasting by people at high speed or trying to ride around people and widening the trails. There are plenty of direction trails or lesser-traveled trails where you can open it up more or have a more continuous run.

    Just because it "looks like" you can get through is no reason to blast by other trail users. They may have a child behind them or it may be an older rider or someone that can't control their line as well. Blasting by horses would surely create problems.

    I feel that some riders like to play a game of "chicken" to make the opposite direction trail user get off the trail or whatever allows them to race around (usually downhill).
    "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

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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Um...before or after they were introduced to the continent?

    I don't think this is correct at all. They may be prey/grazing animals, but I'm pretty sure mountain lions have not been preying on horses for any significant amount of time to make this an instinct related to mountain lions. Usually, the size and logistics of something like that are not attempted by a solitary animal like a mountain lion. Maybe a pack of wolves, but horses would pack together and stomp the wolves, they'd really be trying to separate one the entire time, most likely a sick or young one. Mountain lion going after deer? Sure. Generally, it's not common that animals like wolves and cats take down something way bigger/heavier than them unless they have strength in numbers. It's too risky for a meal otherwise.
    My X girlfriend lives on a ranch property in east San Diego. She lives in the guest house and for part payment on her rent she takes care of several horses. About 4 years she was woken up to a horrific screaming horse and cat scream. She rushed outside as the horses were running around in the corral. One of the horses had two distinct sets of bloody claw marks going down its back. An obvious Mountain Lion attack.

    As far as what I said I read it or heard it somewhere years ago. Many years before this attack happened.

    Edit: Rare but it does happen. Nature's Own (Protecting Your Horse and Other Domestic Animals from Predators) - Western Wildlife Outreach

    https://animalhow.com/animals-attack-horses/
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
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  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    My X girlfriend lives on a ranch property in east San Diego. She lives in the guest house and for part payment on her rent she takes care of several horses. About 4 years she was woken up to a horrific screaming horse and cat scream. She rushed outside as the horses were running around in the corral. One of the horses had two distinct sets of bloody claw marks going down its back. An obvious Mountain Lion attack.

    As far as what I said I read it or heard it somewhere years ago. Many years before this attack happened.

    Edit: Rare but it does happen. Nature's Own (Protecting Your Horse and Other Domestic Animals from Predators) - Western Wildlife Outreach

    https://animalhow.com/animals-attack-horses/
    I don't think any of that is evidence that a horse's "arch enemy" is a mountain lion. Mountain lions haven't been attacking horses in corrals for thousands of years and that isn't going to support "stand on the downhill side of the trail cuz mountain lions attack from uphill of the corral".

    A horse in a corral can't move around and outrun a lion, so yeah, they might go for it, still, super rare. Typically a few hundred pound cat isn't going to attack a thousand-pound horse, the cat is going to lose nearly every time, even as they are great hunters.

    Wolverine on the other hand...don't give a ****!

    "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

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  64. #64
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    Been riding for about 20 years, on multi use trails, with plenty of experience seeing horses on trail. I have had zero bad interactions. Just exercise common courtesy and understand that a huge animal could really hurt everyone involved.

    There are buttholes in every demographic but I really donít think negative biker/horse interactions are as common as some people perpetuate.


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  65. #65
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    I've been mountain biking for 12 years. I try to avoid shared trails whenever possible. No collisions but a few encounters with equestrians and horses. On every encounter I stop and yield to the horse and rider. Apparently horses don't know we are human unless we say something nice. Most encounters have been pleasant but a few were somewhat tense because the horse rider was nervous and horse was skittish
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    Do I get a prize for zero horse collision?

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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Apparently horses don't know we are human unless we say something nice. Most encounters have been pleasant but a few were somewhat tense because the horse rider was nervous and horse was skittish
    I skimmed so maybe already said but what I've been told is that a horse doesn't see a person on a bike and recognize it is a person. You've got to get off your bike. Talking in a low voice is good. Horses get attacked from above, so when moving off the trail, always move downslope if possible. Less of a threat to them.

    I've had riders get a little upset a time or two, even though I yielded downslope, got off my bike, and talked to the rider quietly. It is a strange thing that a rider will bring a nervous horse into a mixed use environment, then be upset with the other users of that environment because their horse is nervous.

  68. #68
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    Over 30 years...Not very common but I've had a few interactions with horses and they were all good. I would think an area with more horses (and more clueless horse pilots) would result in more 'issues'.
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladmo View Post
    I skimmed so maybe already said but what I've been told is that a horse doesn't see a person on a bike and recognize it is a person. You've got to get off your bike. Talking in a low voice is good. Horses get attacked from above, so when moving off the trail, always move downslope if possible. Less of a threat to them.
    It's the responsibility of the equestrian to be in control of their horse, not the other trail user. Just like it's my responsibility to be in control of my chosen means of recreation. If I can't stand off the trail straddling my bike or sitting on the saddle, without the horse spooking, then the rider is responsible for what happens.

    Where do domesticated, or even wild horses keep getting attacked from above? They are grazing herd animals, right?
    "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

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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Over 30 years and Iíve had quite a few bad interactions with equestrians. In every case the incident was due to the equestrian being poorly suited for controlling a horse in a public setting.

    Iíve never spooked a horse. And Iíve certainly never come into physical contact with someone riding a horse.

    Iíve been approached by equestrians saying they were frightened while I was off of my bike or hiking/running. Which is odd because why would you continue to approach something you didnít feel was safe.


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    I started on a 10 mile loop with a lot of equestrians. Never had a close call to hitting one, but plenty of bad interactions by people unable to control their animal.

    People have been thrown from a friend touching their brakes, which squeaked. Plenty of piles of feces on the trail, which have led to unpleasant interactions from hikers chewing them out. We now have separate trails.
    Last edited by Rod; 10-29-2019 at 07:38 AM.

  71. #71
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    I have questions from the Facebook post. How did the rider get past if it's singletrack? You cannot pass a group of horses on singletrack or really even doubletrack. It sounds like he/she went past on a road, and the rider lost control. We had a similar situation and the equestrians complained. Do we yield on a road? I do since I know how easily these animals spook and most aren't trained properly. I'm glad I don't have to encounter this on the trails anymore. Plenty of assumptions in this post... carry on

  72. #72
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    Since 92. Never hit a horse; however, I was once chased/followed by a young horse once. It was actually pretty scary.

    I've hit/dodged a lot of horse crap though.

  73. #73
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    I think the "attacked from above" thing is a legit thing to consider, maybe not a current obvious threat, but I know from dealing with dogs all my life, and dating a Veterinarian for 13 years, it is better if you approach animals at or below their level of sight. I always approach unfamiliar animals down at their eye level with my hand low, turned up, and out - was taught this by my Vet GF (she was a large animal specialist, but did small's /house pets as well)...have never been bitten or attacked.

    I always notice that if I approach an animal from above, hand down - like to pet their head - they shy away at first, or possibly snap...
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  74. #74
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    35+ years and twice that I know of.

    First time was back in the '80's. People were pretty much surprised anytime they encountered a biker on the trail. The horse, having never seen a bicycle, got spooked and threw the rider. Second time was in the last 5-6 years. Multiuse trail system. This time was bit more traumatic. Long story short, this park has mtb/hiking trails which are restricted to horses due to features and/or trail design (width of singletrack, height of foilage, plank bridges, etc) with poor sight lines in the summer. The horseback riders were knowingly on a restricted trail. In both circumstance, the cyclists and equestrians were cool about it.

    FWIW, everyone makes mistakes. Please don't risk the lives of other people regardless of fault and keep in mind, the horses are very, docile animals. Its not their fault where their owners take them. A few min's of waiting to allow a horse to pass is nothing compared to risk of injury.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    35+ years and twice that I know of.

    First time was back in the '80's. People were pretty much surprised anytime they encountered a biker on the trail. The horse, having never seen a bicycle, got spooked and threw the rider. Second time was in the last 5-6 years. Multiuse trail system. This time was bit more traumatic. Long story short, this park has mtb/hiking trails which are restricted to horses due to features and/or trail design (width of singletrack, height of foilage, plank bridges, etc) with poor sight lines in the summer. The horseback riders were knowingly on a restricted trail. In both circumstance, the cyclists and equestrians were cool about it.

    FWIW, everyone makes mistakes. Please don't risk the lives of other people regardless of fault and keep in mind, the horses are very, docile animals. Its not their fault where their owners take them. A few min's of waiting to allow a horse to pass is nothing compared to risk of injury.
    this is true of all domestic animals. Yes they are unpredictable, but they also absolutely sense the interaction and vibes that their owners send off, and are only a result of the worst part of their training. If the owner is skittish in ther handling, the animal will sense that and react by being less secure about the situation.

    Having raised German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, I know this from first hand. I see soooo many people who have the dogs, but have NOT trained the dog to trust the owners. Almost every bad encounter I have had with the "pointy (supposedly) aggressive" dogs has been owner error
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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by str8edgMTBMXer View Post
    this is true of all domestic animals. Yes they are unpredictable, but they also absolutely sense the interaction and vibes that their owners send off, and are only a result of the worst part of their training. If the owner is skittish in ther handling, the animal will sense that and react by being less secure about the situation.

    Having raised German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, I know this from first hand. I see soooo many people who have the dogs, but have NOT trained the dog to trust the owners. Almost every bad encounter I have had with the "pointy (supposedly) aggressive" dogs has been owner error
    Preach, this is why I don't go to a dog park. You and the animal can tell when the owner is afraid of it. Back to today's programming.

  77. #77
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    Funny about this, I can't think of a time when someone I know has complained about mountain bikers. Never heard, from any side, about all these incidents.

    I own a horse. Though, he is unrideable now, so I just take him for walks.

    I laugh at the "people who can't control their horse, and unleashed pitbulls don't belong". I mean, seriously? I have seen WAY more people eat shit on a bicycle than I have people lose control of their horse. Maybe bicycle riders should stop riding public trails until they learn to stop crashing? Just ride your backyard until you learn to control yourself.

    Also, I'm that rabid (former) pitbull owner (she has since passed).


    I think all this bike v horse talk is more about mountain bikers whining than equestrians actually having problems.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I'm looking for some honesty here. I read a drastic number of anecdotes from equestrians who claim a mountain biker (or three) crashed into them on a trail. I call BS. I've been riding for 30 years and haven't even come close to running into a horse (and I'm not always on official MUTs). But maybe my perspective is skewed and riders are definitely crashing into horses. I'm curious what MTBR community members have to say.
    ...
    I interpret your findings as:
    Equestrians who are not paying attention x # of interactions = the number of negative interactions equestrians have with others

    Jerk equestrians = Jerk MTBers

    Riding trails since ~1978? Maybe '81?
    We don't share trails here, but even considering the times I was the jerk (in my distant past) and blatantly rode at breakneck speed down a horse trail, I've only come close once. And I was completely stopped by the time the horse came fully into view. Although I did make quite a commotion coming to said stop.

    Otherwise, I've had very positive interactions where bikes and horses mixed.

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  79. #79
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    What should I do if Jack helps me off the horse?

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Funny about this, I can't think of a time when someone I know has complained about mountain bikers. Never heard, from any side, about all these incidents.

    I own a horse. Though, he is unrideable now, so I just take him for walks.

    I laugh at the "people who can't control their horse, and unleashed pitbulls don't belong". I mean, seriously? I have seen WAY more people eat shit on a bicycle than I have people lose control of their horse. Maybe bicycle riders should stop riding public trails until they learn to stop crashing? Just ride your backyard until you learn to control yourself.

    Also, I'm that rabid (former) pitbull owner (she has since passed).


    I think all this bike v horse talk is more about mountain bikers whining than equestrians actually having problems.
    Seriously? Do you know who the OP is?

    Do you want to see or read many examples of equestrians freaking the f out about bikes? Iíve got lots...


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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Funny about this, I can't think of a time when someone I know has complained about mountain bikers. Never heard, from any side, about all these incidents.

    I own a horse. Though, he is unrideable now, so I just take him for walks.

    I laugh at the "people who can't control their horse, and unleashed pitbulls don't belong". I mean, seriously? I have seen WAY more people eat shit on a bicycle than I have people lose control of their horse. Maybe bicycle riders should stop riding public trails until they learn to stop crashing? Just ride your backyard until you learn to control yourself.

    Also, I'm that rabid (former) pitbull owner (she has since passed).


    I think all this bike v horse talk is more about mountain bikers whining than equestrians actually having problems.
    I think you missed the point about the responsibility. No one cares if a mtber crashes and hurts themselves. No one cares if a horse rider falls off their horse when no one else is around. What we do care about is when someone claims itís the riders fault for making the horse spook, itís the responsibility of the trail user to ensure their method of conveyance is in control. So you canít go blaming this on anyone else. Last I checked, riders in this context werenít blaming equestrians or any other trail users for their crashes. You are responding to an argument that was never made.
    "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

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  82. #82
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    35 years, no collusion. I'm very careful around animals that are capable of killing me if merely startled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by str8edgMTBMXer View Post
    I think the "attacked from above" thing is a legit thing to consider, maybe not a current obvious threat, but I know from dealing with dogs all my life, and dating a Veterinarian for 13 years, it is better if you approach animals at or below their level of sight. I always approach unfamiliar animals down at their eye level with my hand low, turned up, and out - was taught this by my Vet GF (she was a large animal specialist, but did small's /house pets as well)...have never been bitten or attacked.

    I always notice that if I approach an animal from above, hand down - like to pet their head - they shy away at first, or possibly snap...
    Like what? Horses are pretty tall. Tyrannosaurus Rex might be tall enough to attack the horse from above? Not arguing whether the horse responds better one way, but all the reasons given have been bizarre so far.
    "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

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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    A horses natural enemy is a Mountain Lion.
    Which textbook did this come from? They are solitary ambush predators. I think a (hypothetical pre-stone-age) mountain lion would be ecstatic if he could maybe one day in his lonely hungry life get a horse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Like what? Horses are pretty tall. Tyrannosaurus Rex might be tall enough to attack the horse from above? Not arguing whether the horse responds better one way, but all the reasons given have been bizarre so far.
    Pterodactyls, duh.
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  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey Simon View Post
    Seriously? Do you know who the OP is?
    Do you know who I am?

    Nope

    Do you care?

    Nope

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I think you missed the point about the responsibility. No one cares if a mtber crashes and hurts themselves. No one cares if a horse rider falls off their horse when no one else is around. What we do care about is when someone claims itís the riders fault for making the horse spook, itís the responsibility of the trail user to ensure their method of conveyance is in control. So you canít go blaming this on anyone else. Last I checked, riders in this context werenít blaming equestrians or any other trail users for their crashes. You are responding to an argument that was never made.
    Says the guy arguing about a dinosaur attacking a horse?

    Again, I see mountain bikers whining about other trail users that I have had no negative experiences with.

    Yet, I have had several negative experiences with other mountain bikers, and more so loose dogs. Why do equestrians come up as the enemy when "trail dogs" cause me all the ****ing problems from other trail users.

    Of note, last run in with equestrians, they were clearing the trails of downed trees with chainsaws and manual labor. I'm sure they were assholes though, because, equestrians.

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    We have some multi use trails around here including a busy trail/park area right in town that everone uses (including a healthy population of black bears) for horseback riding, hiking, trail running, dog walking, comuting, you name it. No bad encounters with horses there or on the other trails, people figure out how to get along and share the trails. Common sense and decency go a long way.

    As for years of riding horses, I've never had a bad encounter with mtb or moto, but I didn't meet to many either. Where I want to ride/condition my horse is not where I want to ride my mountain bike, and vise versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Why do equestrians come up as the enemy when "trail dogs" cause me all the ****ing problems from other trail users.
    Um...because this thread is about equestrians/horse encounters? I mean, seriously?

    Sounds like you want to start a new thread. You are free to do so.
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    6 yrs / no horse collisions. I always pull over for horses and ride 2 -3 time/wk on multi-use trails. Also frequently see moose and haven't collided with them either ;-)

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    Thanks for all the input, everyone! A quick calculation and summary is roughly 70 people chimed in and those ~70 riders have well over 1,200 YEARS of mountain biking experience and none of them has actually crashed into a horse on a trail. There have been some close calls (blind turns)... but I think I can say the same happens with hikers, runners and fellow mtb'ers. There's also a fair amount of you that ride in areas with little to no horses, or you are lucky enough to have trails just for bikes (which isn't the case where I am in Northern California).

    I think when I read on social media (equestrian centric Facebook content, primarily) that when an equestrian claims a mountain biker crashed into them, they really mean "could have crashed". As some of you mentioned, you/we will dive off the trail before hitting any other trail user.

    Anyway, I guess it is worthwhile to review basic horse passing "guidelines"... all of which seemed to be covered in your stories:

    PASSING HORSES:

    o Immediately slow down and stop at least 30 feet from the horse.
    o Greet the equestrian and the horse. Speaking shows the horse that you are human and not a threat.
    o Ask how or when to pass safely. Offer to get off your bike.
    o Pass slowly and steadily, but only after the equestrian gives you the go-ahead. Sudden movements or noises can spook a horse.
    o Where possible, pass on the downhill side of the animal.


    I might add that complimenting the horseback ladies on their "beautiful horse" puts a big smile on their faces :-)

    Regarding the "get off the trail on the downhills side", in addition to the predator thing, there is some thought that if the horse spooks, its better for everyone if it bolts uphill (away from the source of fear) than downhill. However, I know bikers and pedestrians who refuse to go to the low side if there isn't much room for fear of getting kicked in the head.

    Happy trails, everyone.
    Last edited by Empty_Beer; 10-28-2019 at 11:55 PM.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    A horse in a corral can't move around and outrun a lion, so yeah, they might go for it, still, super rare. Typically a few hundred pound cat isn't going to attack a thousand-pound horse, the cat is going to lose nearly every time, even as they are great hunters.
    A full grown Bull Elk is the size of a horse and has a bit more weaponry at hand. Mountain Lions take them. Many photos and footage of it. That would tell me itís more common than what humans witness.

    How many years have you been riding and how many horses have you crashed into?-10a01870-c641-44e3-a8d8-adbef1d226df.jpeg
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    A full grown Bull Elk is the size of a horse and has a bit more weaponry at hand. Mountain Lions take them. Many photos and footage of it. That would tell me itís more common than what humans witness.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In open terrain, I still highly doubt it's any kind of a common occurrence for them to bring down such a large animal, assuming it's healthy. Even in tight terrain. Typically, wolves and the like do not attack large animals one-on-one, as they are usually risking death themselves. They'll go for what they can get as a pack, a separated juvenile buffalo/musk ox and overcome them. There are documented cases of them being desperate and attempting attacks on much larger targets solo, but out of these, it's ultra-rare for it to be successful and I doubt it's at all common to bring down such a large target for a solitary cat. Cats in Africa and Asia, lions and tigers notably, are much much bigger. Mountain lions are usually more about the deer, antelope, etc. I lived in Elk and mountain lion country for years. Never heard about them taking down Elk, not that it doesn't happen, just not common. Usually it was cars taking out Elk.
    Carrion eaters will eat anything with meat usually, so just because it's dead and they are eating it doesn't mean they successfully attacked it or that it was able bodied. I still maintain that mountain lions are absolutely not a horse's arch enemy.
    "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

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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    In open terrain, I still highly doubt it's any kind of a common occurrence for them to bring down such a large animal, assuming it's healthy. Even in tight terrain. Typically, wolves and the like do not attack large animals one-on-one, as they are usually risking death themselves. They'll go for what they can get as a pack, a separated juvenile buffalo/musk ox and overcome them. There are documented cases of them being desperate and attempting attacks on much larger targets solo, but out of these, it's ultra-rare for it to be successful and I doubt it's at all common to bring down such a large target for a solitary cat. Cats in Africa and Asia, lions and tigers notably, are much much bigger. Mountain lions are usually more about the deer, antelope, etc. I lived in Elk and mountain lion country for years. Never heard about them taking down Elk, not that it doesn't happen, just not common. Usually it was cars taking out Elk.
    Carrion eaters will eat anything with meat usually, so just because it's dead and they are eating it doesn't mean they successfully attacked it or that it was able bodied. I still maintain that mountain lions are absolutely not a horse's arch enemy.
    I agree with all of that except that mountain lions do take large Bull Elk. Use your Google feature. There are many caught on camera doing it. Healthy full grown Bull Elk. Of course they are going to go for a smaller weaker animal if itís available. But when not they will take a large Elk. I also live in Elk and Mountain Lion country, have for years. Itís rare enough seeing a Mountain Lion much less witnessing them making a kill. Many have it on footage though. Mostly hunters way up in the high country and witnessing a lion stalking and taking an elk. Mountain Lions as you know are solitary hunters, not pack hunters like wolves. They donít have the convenience of picking and choosing their prey. They take whatís in their sights, if a deer and elk are in their the same area obviously theyíre going for the deer. By the way, wolves also take Elk and Bison. Running them for miles in the deep snow. Wearing them out then as a pack team up and make the kill.

    Edit: This pretty much sums up what I just said.

    The Deadliest Elk Hunter

    How many years have you been riding and how many horses have you crashed into?-5b03f601-89fc-4bd8-be82-3afb0da3c358.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  94. #94
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    I'll ask because I don't know anything about horses-
    Heard they spook easily.

    Does this mean they all do or just might as a trait of being on a tight trail with approaching hikers, bikers or any traffic ?
    OR ;
    Maybe it's said in the context of; Assume they all do just to be safe?

    Is a horse that spooks easily necessarily the fault of the rider or trainer or can it be the personality of the horse ?

    What is "spooks easily?" Any biker coming through a trail ? Just those of us clanking, jarring, cursing and bashing off log and rocks at speed ?

    Answers to these won't really affect my actions on the trails as I'll do what I have in the past and some others mention here. The trail yield hierarchy is easy for me to understand and relate to but in any case, I'll be getting out of the way, giving room , yield, whatever and communicate with the party on the horse or horsies.

    My better understanding of this will help me in cases where asinine behavior by the rider could be identified or called out if applicable even though I'm getting the hell out of the way for the benefit of all per safety sake. Even if the operator is a Class 1 A--hole, the horse and I don't deserve to get hurt.
    "Before you criticize, you should walk a mile in their shoes. You'll be a mile away from them and you have their shoes"

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    I have questions from the Facebook post. How did the rider get past if it's singletrack? You cannot pass a group of horses on singletrack or really even doubletrack. It sounds like he/she went past on a road, and the rider lost control. We had a similar situation and the equestrians complained. Do we yield on a road? I do since I know how easily these animals spook and most aren't trained properly. I'm glad I don't have to encounter this on the trails anymore. Plenty of assumptions in this post... carry on
    In 36 years of riding, I've only encountered horses twice. Once was on the PCT 17 years ago. Yeah, I know. I encountered three riders who heard me coming up from behind and pulled in tight off the singletrack. Thank yous were passed around as I passed on foot. The other side of the trail had exposure. A 600' near vertical drop.

    The other time, I was descending, under control and saw a rider on horseback a couple turns ahead. I dismounted and stepped off the downside of the trail. She said that her horse was trained around bikes, as unfortunate as it was. I told her to get off her high horse and maybe not ride multi use trails, then mentioned that I'd never seen her at trail work parties.
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  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    I'll ask because I don't know anything about horses-
    Heard they spook easily.

    Does this mean they all do or just might as a trait of being on a tight trail with approaching hikers, bikers or any traffic ?
    OR ;
    Maybe it's said in the context of; Assume they all do just to be safe?

    Is a horse that spooks easily necessarily the fault of the rider or trainer or can it be the personality of the horse ?

    What is "spooks easily?" Any biker coming through a trail ? Just those of us clanking, jarring, cursing and bashing off log and rocks at speed ?

    Answers to these won't really affect my actions on the trails as I'll do what I have in the past and some others mention here. The trail yield hierarchy is easy for me to understand and relate to but in any case, I'll be getting out of the way, giving room , yield, whatever and communicate with the party on the horse or horsies.

    My better understanding of this will help me in cases where asinine behavior by the rider could be identified or called out if applicable even though I'm getting the hell out of the way for the benefit of all per safety sake. Even if the operator is a Class 1 A--hole, the horse and I don't deserve to get hurt.
    Horses spook easily when they are not properly trained, and/or the rider is inexperienced and lacking knowledge on how to control the animal. Of course, every animal has its own personality. Some horses are better than others in certain situations. Some horses, even when properly trained, behave for their owner and/or experienced riders, and follow their own desires when an inexperienced rider is aboard. They can detect fear and apprehension in their riders.
    I only ride loam:)

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post

    Edit: This pretty much sums up what I just said.
    No problem, the last sentence of that was my point, it's the exception, not the rule.

    I have to wonder as well if Elk are like Moose here, given their size. The moose have no predator that "hunts" them. Although a bear or wolf can bring down a young moose or you can have these rare exceptions, Moose does not fear predidation and do not "scatter". They will not run away and will attack whatever gets too close to them. It's very different behavior if you've ever been around deer and "skittish" animals that run away at loud noises.
    "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

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  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    I'll ask because I don't know anything about horses-
    Heard they spook easily.

    Does this mean they all do or just might as a trait of being on a tight trail with approaching hikers, bikers or any traffic ?
    OR ;
    Maybe it's said in the context of; Assume they all do just to be safe?

    Is a horse that spooks easily necessarily the fault of the rider or trainer or can it be the personality of the horse ?

    What is "spooks easily?" Any biker coming through a trail ? Just those of us clanking, jarring, cursing and bashing off log and rocks at speed ?

    Answers to these won't really affect my actions on the trails as I'll do what I have in the past and some others mention here. The trail yield hierarchy is easy for me to understand and relate to but in any case, I'll be getting out of the way, giving room , yield, whatever and communicate with the party on the horse or horsies.

    My better understanding of this will help me in cases where asinine behavior by the rider could be identified or called out if applicable even though I'm getting the hell out of the way for the benefit of all per safety sake. Even if the operator is a Class 1 A--hole, the horse and I don't deserve to get hurt.
    Some context here, we had a system of 100 miles that was shared with horses and had a 10 mile that was loved to death. I would see a group of horses coming the opposite direction. Get off my bike, put it between me and the horse, and some horses couldn't walk past. The trail was made with a dozer and was probably 8 feet wide. I've had them go running the opposite direction with their rider on them. That's the minority, but these are very skittish animals. Most horses were very uncomfortable with me standing on the trail holding my bike.

  99. #99
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    A lot of years riding, Zero horse collisions. Turns out sram brakes aren't total garbage after all.

  100. #100
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    MTB riding ten years and never crashed into a horse. I've encountered them maybe 15 times or so on local trails.

    Once a horse came out of the woods with no rider!

    We stopped to hang on to it for a few and eventually the rider stumbled out... dazed and confused a bit from having been thrown off.
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  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    Some context here, we had a system of 100 miles that was shared with horses and had a 10 mile that was loved to death. I would see a group of horses coming the opposite direction. Get off my bike, put it between me and the horse, and some horses couldn't walk past. The trail was made with a dozer and was probably 8 feet wide. I've had them go running the opposite direction with their rider on them. That's the minority, but these are very skittish animals. Most horses were very uncomfortable with me standing on the trail holding my bike.
    I think youíre supposed to lay your bike down and cover it with branches so they canít see it.

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Do you know who I am?

    Nope

    Do you care?

    Nope



    Says the guy arguing about a dinosaur attacking a horse?

    Again, I see mountain bikers whining about other trail users that I have had no negative experiences with.

    Yet, I have had several negative experiences with other mountain bikers, and more so loose dogs. Why do equestrians come up as the enemy when "trail dogs" cause me all the ****ing problems from other trail users.

    Of note, last run in with equestrians, they were clearing the trails of downed trees with chainsaws and manual labor. I'm sure they were assholes though, because, equestrians.
    No, they get a bad rap on the east coast by doing this to the trails. Yard stick for reference.

    I'm glad you've had a much better experience. Without rain and sandy soil we wouldn't have any issues, but unfortunately we get more annual rain than Portland.

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  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I think youíre supposed to lay your bike down and cover it with branches so they canít see it.
    I actually loled. I've even taken off my helmet before too.

  104. #104
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    I'd love to see a cougar take out a pit bull.

    I'd also like to see a dinosaur take on a horse.

    So much cool stuff that hasn't happened yet, but with science and enough free time we can make it possible.

  105. #105
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    I'd like to see a 3 man tag team match featuring a cougar, a pit bull and Mr. T vs a dinosaur, a horse and The Honky Tonk Man. Anyone who wouldn't want to watch that can just lose my number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    27 or so years. Never hit a horse but have spooked one several time which was pretty terrifying for me and for the rider. The worst one was we were riding some really mellow terrain over on Onion Creek here in Austin. There's like 6 - 12ft brush on both sides of the trail. Came around a corner, not even going fast, but was like 15 ft when the horses saw us coming towards them. Riders were very polite once they got them under control, but was ugly for a minute or so.
    Worldwide website, and you are discussing a trail just 2-3 miles from my home.

    Don't see many horses, never been an issue. I try to be respectful of other trail users.

    The most reckless group I ever rode with was a middle aged group of XC riders, in particular a woman in the group. You would have thought they were the Hell's Angels the way they went zig zagging around pedestrians on a gravel trail. They were nothing but nice people of course off the bikes but got caught up in the moment, similar to when I used to ride sport bikes and we'd start acting like hooligans. Wasn't cause anyone was a bad person, but everyone just got so caught up in the moment having fun.

    It's best to be extra polite around other trail users.

  107. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    Some context here, we had a system of 100 miles that was shared with horses and had a 10 mile that was loved to death. I would see a group of horses coming the opposite direction. Get off my bike, put it between me and the horse, and some horses couldn't walk past. The trail was made with a dozer and was probably 8 feet wide. I've had them go running the opposite direction with their rider on them. That's the minority, but these are very skittish animals. Most horses were very uncomfortable with me standing on the trail holding my bike.
    Horse lovers will disagree, but horses are stupid, skittish, and powerful animals. Combining these traits makes them fairly dangerous at times particularly under an inexperienced rider.

  108. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I'd like to see a 3 man tag team match featuring a cougar, a pit bull and Mr. T vs a dinosaur, a horse and The Honky Tonk Man. Anyone who wouldn't want to watch that can just lose my number.
    Mr. T would beat all of those, with nary a scratch to his bling...
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  109. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by str8edgMTBMXer View Post
    Mr. T would beat all of those, with nary a scratch to his bling...
    He's 67.


    I guess the dinosaur would be older though...

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by str8edgMTBMXer View Post
    Mr. T would beat all of those, with nary a scratch to his bling...
    Are you completely insane!?!? The Honky Tonk Man is the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time! Team Dinosaur, Horse, and Honky all day long.

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    30 years. Never contacted a horse. Never caused a rider to get thrown off. Wish some of them had though.

    Did recently see a rider get thrown off because a group of high school runners ran around both sides of the horse without warning her. She was PISSED! And appeared to have a broken wrist.

  112. #112
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    The last equestrian I encountered on a trail was in an area that gets only moderate use. He was full-on cowboy: chaps, revolver, big hat, mustache. We stopped and exchanged trail beta and other pleasantries for a few minutes. No aggro.

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    30 years. Never contacted a horse. Never caused a rider to get thrown off. Wish some of them had though.

    Did recently see a rider get thrown off because a group of high school runners ran around both sides of the horse without warning her. She was PISSED! And appeared to have a broken wrist.
    So she didnít train her horse to be accustomed to trail runners?
    "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

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  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    The last equestrian I encountered on a trail was in an area that gets only moderate use. He was full-on cowboy: chaps, revolver, big hat, mustache. We stopped and exchanged trail beta and other pleasantries for a few minutes. No aggro.
    I ran into some of those cowboys once in Prescitt.
    "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.

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    Like I said earlier I come across equestrians quite often. All have been pleasant encounters in the 25 years Iíve been doing this sport. Many years of dirt biking as well without any ill will towards me from them. The one encounter I do remember that there wasnít a pleasant exchange was a couple of years ago. I was climbing a very steep section of trail that goes for about a mile through switchbacks. After the groomed switchbacks it suddenly turns to a very jagged rock garden for the next 200í or so. As I was into my 2nd switchback of 3 when I hear the distinct clopping sound of horses behind me. I stop and look back only to see two horses in full on speed mode racing up the mountain. I pulled off the trail as these two [a male and a female] cow pokes came flying by. Dirt chunks and rocks being thrown about. Past me they went without a word, still in full on speed mode. I watched them running uphill and through that long rock garden without so much as a hesitation or slow down. Quite amazing thing to see, I was sure one was going to break a leg going through at full gallop. Obviously well trained horses but not too cordial going by me like that.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  116. #116
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    20 years. Never crashed into a horse, or had a (major) altercation with an equestrian, actually, they've been rather pleasant. Except this one time we came up on these two ladies on the trail. They pulled over when they saw us approaching, and as we went by this one lady yelled out, "Don't make eye contact with him, he hates bicycles!". And yea, I could tell the horse was getting a little squirrelly. So one of the guys in our group made the comment, "You do realize this is a multi-use trail, don't you?" to which she said, "a-hole, or d*ck, or something to that effect.

  117. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    This showed up in one of the MTB Facebook groups I follow
    i bet if she stopped to pick up her horseshit once in a while, this would have never happened..


  118. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorJD View Post
    So one of the guys in our group made the comment, "You do realize this is a multi-use trail, don't you?" to which she said, "a-hole, or d*ck, or something to that effect.
    Sounds like she was looking for some action.

  119. #119
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    Just because it seems like fun, here's a bit on "horses" vs. "mountain lions"

    Modern horses, prior to domestication, evolved in North America. They were prairie animals. There were several large predators in the era. There were lions, proper pantera-family lions hunting in prides, and they were bigger than the African variety. It's thought they are under-represented in La Brea compared to Smilodon (saber tooth) because they were smart enough not to get stuck. There was another cat, "scimitar tooth" homotherium. There was a really gigantic short-faced bear, although opinions differ how fast it could go or what game it might often take. There were dire wolves, which like the lions, were pretty much bigger versions of the modern variety.

    There were a lot more prey species too. Camels, mammoth, mastodon, lots of things that were redundant with the surviving antelope, deer, and bison. All but the most reclusive, numerous, or adaptable megafauna went extinct in North America about the time humans showed up. A climate shift happened at the same time, so it's not 100% blamed on the humans, but you can bet they didn't help.

    So probably the "natural enemy" of a horse is to find a predator running up to it, and when it turns away there's another one blocking it...

    In one of the horse articles there was a description of humans being seen as predators that are not an immediate threat. So like lions at the watering hole.

  120. #120
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    Horses are dangerous weapons, its the horse riders responsibility to control their horse no matter what is going on around them.

  121. #121
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    27 years and none. Horses are easy to see from a long way off--they and their rider combined are very tall. And there are many horse riders here in Arizona.

    I have, however, yielded to hundreds of horses and their riders, and dozens of horses and their riders have yielded to me, over those 27 years.

    Funniest thing I ever saw with an equestrian encounter was this family of horse riders who had a few Miniature Pinschers following along with them that were almost as big as actual Dobermans. I used to have a couple of Min-Pins myself and know the breed well and these Maxi-Pins were so bad-ass.

    For 4 years I worked for an equestrian-based commerce company here in Tucson as a graphic designer and web developer, and the CEO, who has won the famous Tevis Cup (100 mile horse race) multiple times, some sales folks, and myself all went mountain biking all the time in Tucson and Durango CO...CEO was also a very fast MTB-er. I have never ridden a horse and do not intend to.

  122. #122
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    30+ years on the mountain bike. Never hit a horse or have even come close to hitting a horse. Have never met anyone that has hit a horse or even shared a story about almost hitting a horse.

    Many of the trails I ride do see a fair bit of horse traffic, but I probably only encounter 1 horse on the trail for every 500 piles of horseshit I see left behind.

    I follow all the rules of engagement (stopping, getting off the bike, friendly hello to the rider, talking to the horse etc...) to appease the equestrians who haven't properly trained their horse to be safe on a multi-use trail.

    I'd break down my interactions about like this:
    50% - Positive interaction where the equestrian returns a friendly hello, thanks me for getting off my bike and we both go our separate ways with a "enjoy your ride"
    30% - Neutral reaction where the equestrian barely returns a hello or nod, but basically just pushes on past.
    10% - Negative reaction where equestrian gives dirty looks and refuses to return a friendly greeting, or has a pushy attitude and starts making demands about additional steps I need to take to accommodate their skittish/poorly trained horse.
    10% - Equestrian is openly hostile or angry regardless of the fact I have done nothing wrong, and nothing I do is going to change their opinion.

    The type of rider on the horse often is a predictor of the interaction I'll have. If the rider is wearing a cowboy hat and looks like a grizzled old ranch hand, the interaction is usually on the positive side. If it's an overweight suburban horse princess wearing polished knee high leather riding boots, riding pants, and a helmet odds are greater that it will be on the neutral to negative side.

    As someone who volunteers quite a bit of time to build and maintain trails, I don't appreciate the damage horses do to the trails. We had an instance where an equestrian intentionally post holed about 2 miles of brand new purpose built mountain bike trail that is clearly posted off limits to horses. Took about 2 years to fully erase all the damage. There was another purpose built mountain bike trail system about an hour away that is also signed closed to horses where the exact same thing happened. Both instances occurred when local papers ran stories publicizing the opening of new mountain bike trails.

    And I'm not a fan of the equestrians that feel the need to shovel the horsesh!t out of their horse trailer at the trailhead then drive off. That happens quite regularly.

    But despite my dislike for the behavior of some equestrians, I'll continue to do my best to have friendly/positive interactions on the trails since I know they aren't all bad, and acting like a jerk in return isn't going to solve anything.
    No dig no whine

  123. #123
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    I've been riding 25+ years, never hit a horse or anything else. I did come very close to hitting a deer last weekend when it charged across the trail about 10 feet in front of me.

    I always stop and ask the horse operator what they'd like me to do. This is usually met with much appreciation.

    Years ago our group did get yelled at for ringing bells "at their horse" their horse was freaked out by bells apparently. When I suggested that the horse be trained to become accustomed to bells if it were going to be ridden around bikes, that didn't go over very well.

  124. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by zra View Post
    I always stop and ask the horse operator what they'd like me to do.
    Rural Oregon
    Biker: "What would you like me to do?"
    Horseback rider: "You're fine. Have a nice ride."

    Northern California
    Biker: "What would you like me to do?"
    Horseb... errr, equestrian: "I'd like you to DIE!"

  125. #125
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    I typically stop and talk to the horse. Since our silhouette isn't human with bike and helmet. Most equestrian riders tell me it's ok to pass. Most get along well with bikers since they just want to get back to riding. They tend to hate the hikers and runners with headphones as much as we do. And the hikers that want to run up and pet the horses.

    Only scary encounter was a spooked horse threw its rider, so I see a horse alone running towards me. I've been around horses so I waived my arms and got him to stop. Grabbed his Raines and got him to stop. He didn't like it much but the other rider came and helped.

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Rural Oregon
    Biker: "What would you like me to do?"
    Horseback rider: "You're fine. Have a nice ride."

    Northern California
    Biker: "What would you like me to do?"
    Horseb... errr, equestrian: "I'd like you to DIE!"
    Southern California
    Biker: "What would you like me to do?"
    Horseback rider: "You're fine. Thanks for asking."
    Horseback rider thinking: *My trail dude eff off*

  127. #127
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    Stop yer horsing around.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  128. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Stop yer horsing around.
    Hay! It was a spur of the moment kinda thing.

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by zra View Post
    Hay! It was a spur of the moment kinda thing.
    Please stick to the mane topic.

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Please stick to the mane topic.
    Sure, easy for you to say sitting high in the saddle.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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