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  1. #1
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    Horse Poop on Multi-use Trails. Solutions?

    Forgive me if there's a thread on this already, but search didn't find it.

    What solutions have others seen as far as horse poop on multi-use trails?

    This issue exists at some local trail systems and I'm not sure we've ever complained about it to land managers. If I am required to pick up after my dog while hiking, why don't equestrians have to clean up after their horses? This potentially a public health issue. Ever get horse poop on you from rolling through it on the trail? I have. I'm not looking to start complaining, just curious what other discussions on this topic have turned up.

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    Horse poop isn't quite the biohazard that dog poop is. It also has benefits for the soil, doesn't smell as bad, and, given the horse's digestive system, it isn't reasonable to be asking riders to clean up after their mounts. Besides, they were there long before bikes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Horse poop isn't quite the biohazard that dog poop is. It also has benefits for the soil, doesn't smell as bad, and, given the horse's digestive system, it isn't reasonable to be asking riders to clean up after their mounts. Besides, they were there long before bikes.
    Obviously you do not ride where horses poop a lot, so if dogs poop is a biohazard, who picks up the wolf or deer or bear or fox poop? And the horse crap in my area usually is runny and light in color.

    Op = there is nothing you can do about it, but I do wind up off trail quite a bit. Funny thing is the horse people do zero trail work and do the most damage to the trail system.

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    "given the horse's digestive system, it isn't reasonable to be asking riders to clean up after their mounts".

    Way before I started advocating I was stopped on the side of a trail trying to wipe off a bunch of splattered horsecrap. Did not see the sh!t on the trail due to a cast shadow and the fact that multiple horses must have recently stopped and dumped because it was the entire trail surface.

    An equestrian rode up and asked if I was ok. I explained my situation and inquired why equestrians feel they are the only group that can take an animal into a public area, let their animal sh!t at will, and not even think about cleaning up after the animal.

    I remember him laughing and start to explain how dogs have a primarily meat based diet and that bacteria and blah, blah blah. On one hand I want to interject because I don't know how dogs got into this conversation, on the other I can still feel the horsecrap on my face, around my eyes and mouth.

    As he is talking horsecrap, his horse craps. Right on the trail. Right in front of me. Then he said something to the affect of, "See, doesn't smell like dogcrap because of a grain and vegetable based diet. It's actually really good. Good for the Earth."

    I could here him still talking but I was no longer listening. As in a trance I walked over, picked up a huge gloveful of the freshest, I assume "really good", horsecrap, squeezed it in my hand and not like a baseball pitch, more like playing a carnival game, toss it at him and said, " I see what you mean about being really good. Gotta love them grains."

    The argument that not having to do something in the past supports a claim that it is not reasonable to have to do something now holds no wait nor is logical. Where I live the Water Authority has held up a trail plan for 20 years and the last argument is equestrians horsecrap. I support equestrian access on multi-use trails and I believe a solution can be found that will allow equestrians to use this trail that is located about 200'-300' from a reservoir. The solution will be based upon scientific evidence and proven systems that will address the threat of rain runoff and horsecrap. But when I hear the equestrian community speak at public hearings, they proceed to try and sell the many benefits of horsecrap.

    I can only speak on my personal experiences, but I know for a fact that one of the proponents for the "horsecrap is good" group may really be a member of the "horsecrap is good for you" group because he got really upset when he got to taste the freshest horsecrap on the planet, from his own horse.
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    it is annoying. after getting back to the truck in the dark we load up. few minutes later he says i stink. I say no my friend you stick. we get out of the car, both covered in it. still laugh about it today.
    "Funny thing is the horse people do zero trail work and do the most damage to the trail system."
    we are lucky, in our area they do work on the trails. We have some trail days where they agree to haul tools up and down on the horses, it is awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    Obviously you do not ride where horses poop a lot, so if dogs poop is a biohazard, who picks up the wolf or deer or bear or fox poop? And the horse crap in my area usually is runny and light in color.

    Op = there is nothing you can do about it, but I do wind up off trail quite a bit. Funny thing is the horse people do zero trail work and do the most damage to the trail system.
    You couldn't be more wrong. I regularly ride where horses ride and find equestrians in general to be decent folk who share the trail well. Not sure what kind of horses are pooping in your area, unless it's getting rained on a lot, but it isn't runny by nature in healthy horses. I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users.

    Some perspective from a research-based article:

    Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails
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    Regarding your comparison to bear or wolf poop (deer poop doesn't apply, given their diet), the flaw there is in the concentration of said poop along trails. Dogs with humans poop along trails in copious amounts. Bears, wolves and foxes don't tend to run along trails frequented by bicyclists-at least to the degree that they poop along them exclusively. Consequently, the poop density tends to incriminate the canines rather than other carnivores.
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    "I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users."

    again, just to be clear i have no issues with horses on the trail and I enjoy talking with most of the riders. But you've never seen a trail and refereed to it as "horse [email protected]"? i thought that was a common term.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    You couldn't be more wrong. I regularly ride where horses ride and find equestrians in general to be decent folk who share the trail well. Not sure what kind of horses are pooping in your area, unless it's getting rained on a lot, but it isn't runny by nature in healthy horses. I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users.

    Some perspective from a research-based article:

    Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails
    Fresh horse poop is rather moist. And on a busy weekend on some trails systems see a LOT of it.

    Horses do not damage trails more than other users? A 1200 lb horse does waaayy more damage. Who leaves 6 inch deep hoof prints in soft trail? Not bikes. Not hikers. Horses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Fresh horse poop is rather moist. And on a busy weekend on some trails systems see a LOT of it.

    Horses do not damage trails more than other users? A 1200 lb horse does waaayy more damage. Who leaves 6 inch deep hoof prints in soft trail? Not bikes. Not hikers. Horses.

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    If your assertion is true, then I would suspect hikers would be the next worse villain, with mountain bikes as the comparative hero. However, even if this be true (it may well be), I think the fact remains that horses and hikers were using a majority of trails long before bikers came on the scene, and in this regard, provenance is established, and bikers are the newcomers.

    I did a little digging on trail maintenance: Equestrian and cycling groups are far and away the most committed. It is the hikers who lag behind here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I think the fact remains that horses and hikers were using a majority of trails long before bikers came on the scene
    first, I find it hard to believe anyone could claim horses do no more damage than other users, at least not someone who had ever seen a trail that a horse had been on. Most of the trails that get regular use by horses in my area are de-facto horse only trails because the trails are basically just pits of mud and $hit that no one else can or wants to use.

    Second, at least most places I've been it's not true that other user groups were using the majority of trails, because the majority of trails were built by mtbers. In our club's inventory we have about 200 miles of trail, 160 of which we built. In the 20 years or so I've been doing trail work I've seen a couple hundred mountain bike volunteers giving back, one equestrian (who was in her 70s and not able to do anything useful, but at least she showed up for an hour) and zero hikers, dog walkers train runners, bird watchers or any other group.

    In fact, many of the trails we're not allowed on are reverting to nature due to the fact that mountain bikers are the only user group willing to lift a finger to keep them open.

    yet year after year, we're the ones begging for access...

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    As a guy who cleans up after 2 horses daily, since they are in my backyard and married to an RVT (RN for animals) who teachers at a university...

    Manure is nothing like dog crap. Dogs have an artificial diet, and is far closer to human waste than a wild animal. Manure is also basically just undigested grass, the waste isn't as much waste as you think and more unused material. Getting it all over my bike is like complaining about getting grass on my bike, it doesn't bother me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I did a little digging on trail maintenance: Equestrian and cycling groups are far and away the most committed. It is the hikers who lag behind here.
    This is very, very true. And it usually depends on the area. Sometimes equestrians who do trail work can do some things better. Ever try to carry a chainsaw on a mountain bike? Backcountry Horsemen of Pisgah do great work in this regard. Clearing deadfall deep into the woods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    As a guy who cleans up after 2 horses daily, since they are in my backyard and married to an RVT (RN for animals) who teachers at a university...

    Manure is nothing like dog crap. Dogs have an artificial diet, and is far closer to human waste than a wild animal. Manure is also basically just undigested grass, the waste isn't as much waste as you think and more unused material. Getting it all over my bike is like complaining about getting grass on my bike, it doesn't bother me.
    I don't like rolling through it, but horse poop isn't nearly as dangerous to dogs or humans as dog poop is. It more dangerous as long as it is still moist. Most people feed a prebought kibble to their dog and the poop can take a few days to dry. Dog's fed a made meat based diet, poop dries mush faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    first, I find it hard to believe anyone could claim horses do no more damage than other users, at least not someone who had ever seen a trail that a horse had been on. Most of the trails that get regular use by horses in my area are de-facto horse only trails because the trails are basically just pits of mud and $hit that no one else can or wants to use.
    I ride regularly at San Tan Regional Park and at Lost Dutchman, both of which are open to equestrians. I think those who run into constant trailbombs of horse poop must be in areas where there aren't enough trails or at least enough diversity makes for a particular concentration of wheels and poop. I see equestrians every time I ride, but have never encountered what are seemingly lakes of swampy poop. It is usually easy to ride around (if it is fresh and I feel the need to do so) or over (if it is dry).

    According to general surveys, Hikers amount to about 60% of multi-use trail users, cyclists to about 30%, and horses to less than 10%. By sheer volume of traffic, hikers and bikers do at least as much damage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I did a little digging on trail maintenance: Equestrian and cycling groups are far and away the most committed. It is the hikers who lag behind here.
    I think we should get some T-shirts made up that say "No Dig No Hike"

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    Situational awareness & practice your bunny hops. No poop fairies here either! ;-)

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  19. #19
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    We get a decent amount of horse shit on our trails, but the cow shit is everywhere! Same for trail damage, horses are big and heavy with small feet. They don't have the numbers that cows do though. Cows don't care if it just rained and the trails are sloppy. Most house riders do.
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    "I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users." That is baloney. Every trail that I use in western Colorado that is frequented by horses is trashed. Big square bottom trench. And another thing. A horse person will NEVER help on forest service trail days. It is predominantly MTBers that do the bulk of the trail work. Partly because horses these days are a symbol of affluence. And highly affluent people rarely do physical work. Sounds like I am getting down on horses. Which I am not. But facts are facts. Around here there are far fewer horses sharing trails with bikers than there were, say, twenty years ago. I have had bigger problems with sheep poop. I got caught in an afternoon rain shower a few years back and rode through a large swath of trail covered with wet sheep poop. I wound up getting a rather nasty eye infection from it. Had to get antibiotics.

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    It's all in the numbers, endo.

    Perception: Horses cause erosion and soil loss.
    Reality: In a 5-year study, Summer (1990, 1996) concluded that horse traffic was not the single dominant process active on trails. Trail degradation was a function of landform, climatic and catastrophic events and geomorphic processes. So, natural processes are responsible for most erosion, but trail users certainly contribute to the process and horses are part of the equation. Compare the impact of a single horse versus a single hiker on the same trail and the erosion, soil disturbance and sediment creation will be three times more for the horse. That makes intuitive sense when you compare horses versus humans and consider the size, weight, number of feet, and how they are shod. The important thing to consider when weighing this is that there are far more hikers and bikers on most trails than there are horses. An Outdoor Industry Association study in 2003 estimated that nationally there are 73.3 million hikers (57% of the total), 43.1 million single track mountain bikers (25% of the total) and 4.3 million equestrians (7% of the total) with the remainder in various other uses, such as trail running. Most studies indicate that trail damage by mountain bikers is somewhere in between that of hikers and horses. So, if the trail traffic on a given day equals 57 hikers, 25 bikers and 7 horses, which user group is doing the most damage? This is why, in virtually every mixed use trail reference in the nation, the horse has been defined as a passive, low impact or light weight user, even in the most sensitive environments. In fact, horses actually help to aerate and break up areas of compaction in certain soil types and help to keep less-used single track trails open and viable. Again, trail design and maintenance are big factors here. Multi-use trails that are frequently used by horses can be designed and maintained for good sustainability. As riders, we can do our part by staying off the trails when they are wet and being willing to help build culverts, bridges and other water management structures.


    https://www.gmhainc.org/getting-real-horses-trails/

    There are many equestrian trail maintenance groups. Here's an active one in Arizona:

    Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona – Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    You couldn't be more wrong. I regularly ride where horses ride and find equestrians in general to be decent folk who share the trail well. Not sure what kind of horses are pooping in your area, unless it's getting rained on a lot, but it isn't runny by nature in healthy horses. I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users.

    Some perspective from a research-based article:

    Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails
    Our family owned a 500 acre horse ranch for 60 years with 8+ miles of trails we maintained, your trail impact statements are not very fact based. Horses TRASH trails compared to ANY other user... my advice - do not even try to bring up that argument. The "study" you cited is way off base in the real world and very flawed in their findings - try any unbias study and you will see horses kill trails.... I also lived the real world from our own ranching experience.

    As far as horse poop goes, you are correct that it is not as bad as other types of poop, it is somewhat benign compared to cattle, dogs, cats etc... but the "bottom" line is.... who wants to ride through poop??!

    The answer however to the OP's question is not much we can do unless policy changes.

    About the only policy that seems to be in effect is cleaning up your horse poop at parking and loading areas...
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    It's all in the numbers, endo.

    Perception: Horses cause erosion and soil loss.
    Reality: In a 5-year study, Summer (1990, 1996) concluded that horse traffic was not the single dominant process active on trails. Trail degradation was a function of landform, climatic and catastrophic events and geomorphic processes. So, natural processes are responsible for most erosion, but trail users certainly contribute to the process and horses are part of the equation. Compare the impact of a single horse versus a single hiker on the same trail and the erosion, soil disturbance and sediment creation will be three times more for the horse. That makes intuitive sense when you compare horses versus humans and consider the size, weight, number of feet, and how they are shod. The important thing to consider when weighing this is that there are far more hikers and bikers on most trails than there are horses. An Outdoor Industry Association study in 2003 estimated that nationally there are 73.3 million hikers (57% of the total), 43.1 million single track mountain bikers (25% of the total) and 4.3 million equestrians (7% of the total) with the remainder in various other uses, such as trail running. Most studies indicate that trail damage by mountain bikers is somewhere in between that of hikers and horses. So, if the trail traffic on a given day equals 57 hikers, 25 bikers and 7 horses, which user group is doing the most damage? This is why, in virtually every mixed use trail reference in the nation, the horse has been defined as a passive, low impact or light weight user, even in the most sensitive environments. In fact, horses actually help to aerate and break up areas of compaction in certain soil types and help to keep less-used single track trails open and viable. Again, trail design and maintenance are big factors here. Multi-use trails that are frequently used by horses can be designed and maintained for good sustainability. As riders, we can do our part by staying off the trails when they are wet and being willing to help build culverts, bridges and other water management structures.


    https://www.gmhainc.org/getting-real-horses-trails/

    There are many equestrian trail maintenance groups. Here's an active one in Arizona:

    Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona – Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona
    It's all in the numbers - correct - 1 horse's trail damage = about 50-75... maybe even more MTB riders from my personal observation of 8 miles of trails on our ranch.

    Also where I currently live we have have a somewhat heavy amount of equestrian use... and you waht to know the ration of equestrian help on trail days compared to all the other user groups? 2% (or NONE) equestrian, about 15% running/walking/hikers and the rest are MTB. Don't bring that argument up either... you show ONE group that gives back, I am taking about reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    You couldn't be more wrong. I regularly ride where horses ride and find equestrians in general to be decent folk who share the trail well. Not sure what kind of horses are pooping in your area, unless it's getting rained on a lot, but it isn't runny by nature in healthy horses. I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users.

    Some perspective from a research-based article:

    Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails
    You sir, are full of sh!t, and a Liar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    As a guy who cleans up after 2 horses daily, since they are in my backyard and married to an RVT (RN for animals) who teachers at a university...

    Manure is nothing like dog crap. Dogs have an artificial diet, and is far closer to human waste than a wild animal. Manure is also basically just undigested grass, the waste isn't as much waste as you think and more unused material. Getting it all over my bike is like complaining about getting grass on my bike, it doesn't bother me.
    Why don't you just open your mouth and let your horse crap right into it. That's basically what is coming out of your mouth right now
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgiantsfan View Post
    You sir, are full of sh!t, and a Liar
    LOL. You, sir, are all too typical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgiantsfan View Post
    Why don't you just open your mouth and let your horse crap right into it. That's basically what is coming out of your mouth right now
    This sort of comment is the type that adds absolutely nothing to dialog. If you don't know anything about the topic, please avoid typing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CactusJackSlade View Post
    It's all in the numbers - correct - 1 horse's trail damage = about 50-75... maybe even more MTB riders from my personal observation of 8 miles of trails on our ranch.

    Also where I currently live we have have a somewhat heavy amount of equestrian use... and you waht to know the ration of equestrian help on trail days compared to all the other user groups? 2% (or NONE) equestrian, about 15% running/walking/hikers and the rest are MTB. Don't bring that argument up either... you show ONE group that gives back, I am taking about reality.
    I like the fact that you dismiss not only my personal observations, which are as valid as yours on an anecdotal level, but also the research which I provided. I showed one group here. Use the power of Google, my friend; you'll find there are equestrian trail maintenance groups in every state.

    Here's the California BCH site:

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    It's all in the numbers, endo.

    Perception: Horses cause erosion and soil loss.
    Reality: In a 5-year study, Summer (1990, 1996) concluded that horse traffic was not the single dominant process active on trails. Trail degradation was a function of landform, climatic and catastrophic events and geomorphic processes. So, natural processes are responsible for most erosion, but trail users certainly contribute to the process and horses are part of the equation. Compare the impact of a single horse versus a single hiker on the same trail and the erosion, soil disturbance and sediment creation will be three times more for the horse. That makes intuitive sense when you compare horses versus humans and consider the size, weight, number of feet, and how they are shod. The important thing to consider when weighing this is that there are far more hikers and bikers on most trails than there are horses. An Outdoor Industry Association study in 2003 estimated that nationally there are 73.3 million hikers (57% of the total), 43.1 million single track mountain bikers (25% of the total) and 4.3 million equestrians (7% of the total) with the remainder in various other uses, such as trail running. Most studies indicate that trail damage by mountain bikers is somewhere in between that of hikers and horses. So, if the trail traffic on a given day equals 57 hikers, 25 bikers and 7 horses, which user group is doing the most damage? This is why, in virtually every mixed use trail reference in the nation, the horse has been defined as a passive, low impact or light weight user, even in the most sensitive environments. In fact, horses actually help to aerate and break up areas of compaction in certain soil types and help to keep less-used single track trails open and viable. Again, trail design and maintenance are big factors here. Multi-use trails that are frequently used by horses can be designed and maintained for good sustainability. As riders, we can do our part by staying off the trails when they are wet and being willing to help build culverts, bridges and other water management structures.


    https://www.gmhainc.org/getting-real-horses-trails/

    There are many equestrian trail maintenance groups. Here's an active one in Arizona:

    Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona – Back Country Horseman of Central Arizona
    There is almost nothing true in this statement. The proof is in the pudding. EVERY horse trail here in Eagle County Colorado is a disaster. While most of the mountain bike / hiking only trails are improving due to volunteer maintenance... "horses actually help to aerate and break up areas of compaction in certain soil types " ... That I agree with. And this broken up soil washes away during surface water runoff. Hard packed soils stay put. Broken soils wash away. How absurd a statement in the original paragraph ... "As riders, we can do our part by staying off the trails when they are wet and being willing to help build culverts, bridges and other water management structures." We as riders DO OUR PART in avoiding wet trails. And in maintaining trails using modern engineering standards. Horse people don't avoid wet trails. And NEVER spend time working with the forest service or BLM repairing trails. Didn't you read my post?

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    Yep, I read it, responded, and now you have responded. That's called dialog. Sorry your experience with equestrians has soured you. I grew up around horses and have been around them much of my life. I don't have any these days, but my interactions on and off trail with equestrians have been positive to a large degree. The trails I ride see equestrian traffic, and yet there is no sense of the animosity I see in some of the posts in this thread. Quite apparently, YMMV. I'm simply glad that bikers and equestrians here in AZ seem to coexist more effectively than they seem to where some folks ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Yep, I read it, responded, and now you have responded. That's called dialog. Sorry your experience with equestrians has soured you. I grew up around horses and have been around them much of my life. I don't have any these days, but my interactions on and off trail with equestrians have been positive to a large degree. The trails I ride see equestrian traffic, and yet there is no sense of the animosity I see in some of the posts in this thread. Quite apparently, YMMV. I'm simply glad that bikers and equestrians here in AZ seem to coexist more effectively than they seem to where some folks ride.
    Personally, I have no issues with horses, unless they are poorly acclimated to bikes, and often enjoy conversations with equestrians. But, to say that they do no more damage than any other trail user is silly, at best, leaning towards disingenuous.

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    As I said elsewhere-and supported-it comes down to volume. There are fewer equestrians on trails than hikers and bikers-by a large margin. If, as research suggests, a horse does 4-5 times the damage of a bike, we would have to see four times the horses that currently use most trails in order to suggest in reality that horses do more damage. On a per capita basis, sure-but that is being disingenuous, IMO.
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    Almost as bad as horse poo on the trails, why in the F do some folks clean out their horse trailers on the parking lot of the public area? Really? Clean that poo out at home on your own property.

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    "The trails I ride see equestrian traffic, and yet there is no sense of the animosity" I have no animosity towards horses. I am only being factual about the damage that horses do to trails. And the fact that horse owners NEVER rehabilitate the trails they have destroyed. Whereas mountain bikers by and large pitch in on forest service work days. That is not animosity. I agree that horse traffic is lower in volume than it once was. And we get a lot more damage these days from ATVs and dirt bikes using closed trails. Especially when those trails are quite wet. Anyhow, it seems like we have worked this subject to death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    As I said elsewhere-and supported-it comes down to volume. There are fewer equestrians on trails than hikers and bikers-by a large margin. If, as research suggests, a horse does 4-5 times the damage of a bike, we would have to see four times the horses that currently use most trails in order to suggest in reality that horses do more damage. On a per capita basis, sure-but that is being disingenuous, IMO.
    Horses do damage to trails that hikers or mountain bikers are not capable of doing because the forces applied to the ground are much higher. It's not just an issue of volume... Many horses also have metal shoes which are much more abrasive to trail surfaces than rubber shoe soles or tires. Horses also de-compact trails more than rolling tires and feet which leads to greater soil loss and diminished trail experience for other users.

    Ground Pressure by User Type

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    This is like trying to explain to a flat earther that the earth is not flat. Folks like that are clearly unreasonable.

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    You guys are too focused on problems, not solutions. https://www.metro.ca/en/recipes-occa...ents/horsemeat
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    Horses poo, and there's not much to do about it.

    They damage trails by riding when it's too soft and essentially post holing everything.

    Mtbs damage trails when it gets steep because to many of us drag brakes and skid, creating or making existing ruts worse. Around here horses use those steep trails less so it's not an issue with them.

    Hikers are the most common to be off the trail.

    The thing I find annoying is that equestrians and hikers want us to use bells. I always do.

    But they hear me coming, and make no noise to warn me they're there, and they rarely move off the trail ahead of time (like when they hear it).

    Horses are the least maneuverable, have the most to lose injury wise, and take up the most room, and are the least predictable. Yet they never wear a bell.

    Hikers rarely make noise or move ahead of time, but at least they can step aside quickly, can fit to the side easily, and can easily start and stop their progress.

    This is really the only fixable issue I see with horses.

    It's really only come into play a handful of times, but turning a blind corner and seeing a 7 foot tall pile of meat there has me thinking about it every time I'm on tight single track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    You couldn't be more wrong. I regularly ride where horses ride and find equestrians in general to be decent folk who share the trail well. Not sure what kind of horses are pooping in your area, unless it's getting rained on a lot, but it isn't runny by nature in healthy horses. I also don't find evidence that horses damage trails more than other users.

    Some perspective from a research-based article:

    Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails
    Let's be clear what the agenda is for that paper. Straight from it:

    Disclaimer

    EnviroHorse has prepared these materials for information purposes only and are not legal advice...

    About the Author and this Paper

    Adda Quinn worked for... She is a founding member of and on the Board of Directors for EnviroHorse.

    About EnviroHorse Mission

    EnviroHorse identifies, gathers, and disseminates information to ensure/enhance equine access to public / private lands.

    This is as biased as a paper in favor of horses as you can find.

  41. #41
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    In my opinion, if a trail system is designated and managed as shared use or multi-use, it is in the best interest of all the permitted trail user groups to work together and protect this privilege. Using examples of negative experiences/behaviors to generalize a group
    usually produces a defensive reaction and by discounting another persons experience we create the need to set the record straight and forget about trying to find a solution for the real issue.

    If a shared use trail has a large equestrian presence and the horsecrap is to the point where one must go off trail to pass then I would try to create a trail maintenance program with the land manager, equestrian and biker communities. Expecting equestrians to clean up like dog walkers are suppose to is most likely not going to happen.

    Providing solutions has a chance to address issues. If viewed from an "us" rather than "them" responsibility position, you can minimize putting people on the defensive, which produces a contest to support ones position while ignoring the issue and any chance to resolve the issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post

    Horses poo, and there's not much to do about it.
    They damage trails by riding when it's too soft and essentially post holing everything.
    Mtbs damage trails when it gets steep because to many of us drag brakes and skid, creating or making existing ruts worse. Around here horses use those steep trails less so it's not an issue with them.



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    Actually, horse trails tend to be fall line trails. Since it is the horse, and not the rider expending all the energy, the rider creates trails for the horse which often go straight up the hill. Horses and horse riders do not much like switchbacks or climbing turns. As I have said before. I am not anti horse. I can even put up with a little poop on the trail from time to time. I dismount and allow horses and riders a wide berth when I approach them. And I appreciate that horseback riding is another form of enjoying oneself in the wild country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    As I said elsewhere-and supported-it comes down to volume. There are fewer equestrians on trails than hikers and bikers-by a large margin. If, as research suggests, a horse does 4-5 times the damage of a bike, we would have to see four times the horses that currently use most trails in order to suggest in reality that horses do more damage. On a per capita basis, sure-but that is being disingenuous, IMO.
    Horses are different because not only do they have heavy point loads, but also they way they walk kicks up dirt. So they will cause holes (often large ones) in soft trails, and massive displacement in loose trails.

    Note that hikers, bikers, motos, and horses all affect trails differently. Horses and high power motor users generally are the most damaging per capita, often by a such huge amount that a small number have long term impact. Hikers typicaly have the most volume and typically the most damaging as a collective group.

    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley
    A horse person will NEVER help on forest service trail days. It is predominantly MTBers that do the bulk of the trail work
    Depends where you are. In some places, groups like the Backcountry Horsemen do most of the trail work. In others, hiker groups. In many, mountain bikers are the largest trail work group. In many places, all the groups get along. In others... not so much.

    The bitterness comes when it's the MTB group who does most of the work and the horse group which does most of the complaining and blocking.

    Especially when the horses poop so much that the trail is a carpet of poop, which is what started this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Actually, horse trails tend to be fall line trails. Since it is the horse, and not the rider expending all the energy, the rider creates trails for the horse which often go straight up the hill. Horses and horse riders do not much like switchbacks or climbing turns. As I have said before. I am not anti horse. I can even put up with a little poop on the trail from time to time. I dismount and allow horses and riders a wide berth when I approach them. And I appreciate that horseback riding is another form of enjoying oneself in the wild country.
    Actually, it's area dependent. I wasn't making an assumption- I was saying what was true on my trails.

    It just works differently in different areas I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    Actually, it's area dependent. I wasn't making an assumption- I was saying what was true on my trails.

    It just works differently in different areas I guess.

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    "Mtbs damage trails when it gets steep because to many of us drag brakes and skid, creating or making existing ruts worse." ... I agree that trails are different, with different use issues in different localities. Our local group works with the forest service to decommission old steep horse trails and cattle trails lingering from decades ago. And the forest service (begrudgingly) will allow us to replace them with new properly engineered multi use trails. These new trails seem to show almost no long term damage from mtb use. And as I have stated previously, our erosion problems have changed from horse use, to motorized use -damage in the last decade or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I did a little digging on trail maintenance: Equestrian and cycling groups are far and away the most committed. It is the hikers who lag behind here.
    in my area, its rare to ever see equestrians doing trail work. In one park, the stable managers outright refused invitations to join the parks group's trail days and brushed off the damage that their users cause to the trails. In another park, an equestrian who did come out to one of our trail days remarked that they're usually too busy volunteering in the stables to work on the trails. Here in Philadelphia, it's a pretty even split between hikers and mountain bikers, with mountain bikers assuming leadership roles for planning and building trails in many of our trail systems.

    also, while horsesht doesn't have the bacteria toxicity that dog feces have, it's not entirely harmless. Horse manure is full of undigested seeds from their forage and feed, and their manure left on trails can spread invasives and damage local forest ecosystems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Horse poop isn't quite the biohazard that dog poop is. It also has benefits for the soil, doesn't smell as bad, and, given the horse's digestive system, it isn't reasonable to be asking riders to clean up after their mounts. Besides, they were there long before bikes.
    Horses are not native to North America, they are a invasive species so to speak. We have wild ones competing for food all across our country.
    If you have ever ran through fresh alfalfa, wet, green horse crap you would know it smells just as bad as fresh dog crap.

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    Ya gota keep your mouth closed when riding through horse pucky. The biggest issue is seeds that are spread by horse crap.

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    That horse propaganda piece that DirtyHun linked is definitely full of crap. There's a claim in there that horses don't deposit viable nonnative/invasive seeds in their feces. That's an absolute lie if there ever was one.

    I once obtained a big load of horse manure to fertilize my vegetable garden that had very poor soils. I had to muck a barn to get it, so there was a mix of fresh and very old manure in there. I put it into a nice pile near where I planned to use it, and let it bake/season in the TX sun. Within a couple months, I was fighting invasive Japanese honeysuckle vines that did not exist on my property prior to the acquisition of the horse manure. Only conclusion is that the manure contained the viable seeds of that invasive plant. Many plants have seeds adapted to pass through an herbivore's gut and still be viable, using the manure as a little fertilizer to increase germination. Some seed won't germinate at all until they pass through an animal's gut. The acids and enzymes are REQUIRED to scarify the seed coat to allow germination.

    This thread makes it pretty plain that horse people can't be counted on to be respectful towards other trail users who don't want to step in or ride through feces. Sure, horse manure is different than dog poop. But it's still feces, and I don't want it flung in my face from riding through a fresh pile. It can still contain parasites and bacteria.

    As to things that can be done about horse manure on trails - it's going to require other trail users to complain more loudly than the horse people, frankly. Best to have peer-reviewed citations in support of those arguments, lest the horsey people trot out their own propaganda. At DuPont in North Carolina, there are manure disposal bins at some of the trailheads that horse people use frequently. Those help, at least, for the horse people who shovel out their trailers at the trailhead. And maybe for some of the more considerate horse riders whose mounts crap in the parking lot.

  50. #50
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    About the only thing this thread made clear is the hostility mountain bikes have for equestrians. Out here in Arizona, in 25 years of riding off road I've encountered far more of the considerate horse riders and seen evidence of their trail maintenance efforts.

    But hey, it's a bicycle site, so I'm sure the pissy pedalists will outnumber affable equestrians.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    About the only thing this thread made clear is the hostility mountain bikes have for equestrians. Out here in Arizona, in 25 years of riding off road I've encountered far more of the considerate horse riders and seen evidence of their trail maintenance efforts.

    But hey, it's a bicycle site, so I'm sure the pissy pedalists will outnumber affable equestrians.
    This observation should actually serve as an example for the overall perspective any user should take when approaching a forum of any kind.

    A) Bias will always favor the preferences of the forum type. For example, if you go to a Diesel forum, all gasoline engines will suck.
    B) There are more people willing to complain about a given subject at any time than there are people willing to be practical or at least neutral.
    C) There are no absolutes in life. I grew up around equestrians and I know just as many great equestrians that care and do trail work as I do mountain bikers, while on the other hand, I know just as many mountain bikers who will ride a sloppy muddy trail and tear the crap out of it as equestrians who will posthole the same trail, none of whom will ever show up to a work day. It's all a matter of life experiences and perspectives.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    About the only thing this thread made clear is the hostility mountain bikes have for equestrians. Out here in Arizona, in 25 years of riding off road I've encountered far more of the considerate horse riders and seen evidence of their trail maintenance efforts.

    But hey, it's a bicycle site, so I'm sure the pissy pedalists will outnumber affable equestrians.
    I don't hate any user group. All non motorized users should be able to enjoy the outdoors and have access. We all need to be stewards of the land. Leaving crap on the trail kinda sucks weather it's a dog or horse. Same thing with destroying the trail when it's too wet to ride.
    Now the cows in our area destroy the trails when it's wet and shit everywhere. I hate them. Nothing I can do about it as this was farm land and they have a 100 year lease.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    Any type of defecation on the trail should be cleaned up - why is this debatable and there is NO excuse not to. Do we really need signs that say, "Clean Your Sh*#$%(*^@T UP!"

    Basic physics - higher force per area cause more damage to a friable material - horse ~2000#, human 200#, biker 230#. How can this be debated? The next most important factor is the qty of the user type. So for simple math, if there are 10x as many bikers and horser's, they will do the same average damage. There is nothing to debate here, so just deal with it and go out and pitch into trail work ...who ever you are. And clean up your Sh*(&(t.

    Luckily there are fewer and fewer horses folks riding trails in my area so that problem has been fixing itself over the years. On the other hand, hiker numbers seem to have been increasing and fortunately the newer hikers seem to get that trails are multi-use. I have yet to get a scowl from anyone under the age of say 30 while riding my bike and so that problem should fixing itself as well. And clean up your Sh(&(&t.

    The weird thing is that the best Mbike trail is probably the worst trail for horses or hikers, especially when land managers add in their misguided land management techniques. If you ever tried to hike a berm, a breaking jump or even a grade reversal, they kind of suck for hiking and horsing.
    We have a protected watershed in our area and the brains of land (El Corte de Madera Open Space) took a very old and stable fire road on a ridge, graded multiple diversion areas(20'x20' of road and 50 feet length to side), increased the grade 2x in those areas, displace tons of soil, had no mitigation of sediment discharge into streams and made the trail ridiculous difficult for horses, riders and hikers because of the steep grades that were created. It is dumbfounding how bad the result of these efforts have been. To be fair they have been doing multi use trail repair and maintenance, but the blunders outweigh the help in so many ways. Sorry got off topic here, but still, clean up your sh*^*%^Tt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    This sort of comment is the type that adds absolutely nothing to dialog. If you don't know anything about the topic, please avoid typing.
    Eh, just lets me know who to block. Someone like that is never worth talking to ever again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Only conclusion is that the manure contained the viable seeds of that invasive plant.
    If I really cared, I would be curious to understand where you think the horse got that invasive species into it's diet? I spend $100 a week to feed our two alfalfa and bermuda hay, I'm not going to the feed store and saying "eh, I'll take whatever weed you have laying around."

    Try talking to a horse owner about diet. That said, the package I was waiting on just got delivered, I'm off now to go buy a ton of hay (then go ride my MTB).

    Don't bother responding, I won't read it. Your sample size of one is enough to tell me your opinions are just opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Eh, just lets me know who to block. Someone like that is never worth talking to ever again.



    If I really cared, I would be curious to understand where you think the horse got that invasive species into it's diet? I spend $100 a week to feed our two alfalfa and bermuda hay, I'm not going to the feed store and saying "eh, I'll take whatever weed you have laying around."

    Try talking to a horse owner about diet. That said, the package I was waiting on just got delivered, I'm off now to go buy a ton of hay (then go ride my MTB).

    Don't bother responding, I won't read it. Your sample size of one is enough to tell me your opinions are just opinions.
    Ever turn that horse out on pasture? Do you know every single plant on that pasture? Do you know exactly which ones the horse will eat? I guarantee there are plenty of nonnatives out there, and some invasives, and that a horse will eat some of them. It's pretty likely that the majority of the pasture grasses are nonnative.

    Here is some primary literature showing that it DOES happen, whether you'll read it or not, with widely varying rates depending on species (both herbivore species as well as plant species) and habitat. It only takes 1 viable seed germinating in a pile of manure. Many invasive plants are capable of all sorts of propagation means until there are enough individuals to produce seeds.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...e+manure&btnG=

    percentage and viability of weed seeds recovered in the feces of farm animals and their longevity when buried in manure
    Spotted Knapweed Seed Viability after Passing through Sheep and Mule Deer on JSTOR
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/284208
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...615636?LI=true

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    So I am a dog lover. I hike and ride with my dog a lot. When my dog takes a crap I find a stick and flick it off the trail. Equestrians could do the same.
    The worst culprits are the dog walkers that when their dog takes a crap they pick it up in a bag then leave the bag on the side of the trail. WTF are they thinking? The magic crap fairy will come along and pick it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlee View Post
    So I am a dog lover. I hike and ride with my dog a lot. When my dog takes a crap I find a stick and flick it off the trail. Equestrians could do the same.
    The worst culprits are the dog walkers that when their dog takes a crap they pick it up in a bag then leave the bag on the side of the trail. WTF are they thinking? The magic crap fairy will come along and pick it up.
    This infuriates me locally. See it all the time. Some even put the bag directly in the center of the trail. WTF?!?!?!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlee View Post
    So I am a dog lover. I hike and ride with my dog a lot. When my dog takes a crap I find a stick and flick it off the trail. Equestrians could do the same.
    The worst culprits are the dog walkers that when their dog takes a crap they pick it up in a bag then leave the bag on the side of the trail. WTF are they thinking? The magic crap fairy will come along and pick it up.
    I have seen this happen on a greenway locally. I completely broke character (for me) and berated a middle aged couple. They were heading back to the trail head (less than .25 mile away) and I could tell by the dog (old, having a hard time moving) they hadn't walked the 4 miles from the OTHER trail head (so they weren't going to turn around and come back past it and pick it up) so I completely lost it. I lost it politely. I didn't swear or use any profanity. But I did for absolute certain berate them. They started with something about "more trash cans" and I cut them off. Because we want what, a trashcan cluttering up the beautiful view of the woods and the river every .1 mile? Do you know how much those trashcans cost? I do, because I'm on the non-profit board that manages this particular greenway. Pick the bag up, and don't ever set it down again anywhere except a proper repository. Yes, I completely snapped. But as they walked away, with him carrying the bag, they both very sincerely said "sorry...."

    I'm not saying it was right. I'm not saying it's the thing to do. But I've seen them twice since then, and they were carrying a bag of poop with them both times.

  59. #59
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    Easy answer to all the horse poop - hippophagy. Get a bunch of French, Italian, Eastern European and a few Tongans along and theyll have it sorted in no time


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    Dirtyhun and sidewalk are clueless and should have to eat a stew of their healthy horse poop.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    About the only thing this thread made clear is the hostility mountain bikes have for equestrians. Out here in Arizona, in 25 years of riding off road I've encountered far more of the considerate horse riders and seen evidence of their trail maintenance efforts.

    But hey, it's a bicycle site, so I'm sure the pissy pedalists will outnumber affable equestrians.
    In perhaps a decade of doing trail maintenance here in Colorado, working with BLM and USFS, I have never met a single person who claimed to be an equestrian enthusiast work with us on trails. And I have encountered many more equestrians who disliked sharing the trails with mountain bikes than with mountain bikers angry with equestrians. I think there are two reasons. Horse riding poses a greater threat to the rider when other trail users are encountered than it poses to the other forms of users. If you have a horse which spooks easily, you probably don't wish to encounter other trail users who are perhaps traveling in a different direction on the tail than you are going. And when bikes are descending, you don't wish to be approached by them from behind. And a second but nevertheless important consideration here in Colorado. There is a class warfare type of tribalism. Horse people tend to be quite wealthy and often accustomed to privilege. Bike people tend to be working class/ middle class recreationists. So when they encounter each other on the trail they bring these social conflicts to the table with them. It can make things interesting. But as I have stated before, our horse traffic decreases each year. I only run into horses a few times a year anymore. And the best policy is to try and understand the other person as best you can. And do not put the other user in danger by your lack of trail manners.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    This infuriates me locally. See it all the time. Some even put the bag directly in the center of the trail. WTF?!?!?!?
    It's their way of complying with the rules yet getting back at all those mean people who should be able to live in harmony with their baby's dogshit in the path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    As I said elsewhere-and supported-it comes down to volume. There are fewer equestrians on trails than hikers and bikers-by a large margin. If, as research suggests, a horse does 4-5 times the damage of a bike, we would have to see four times the horses that currently use most trails in order to suggest in reality that horses do more damage. On a per capita basis, sure-but that is being disingenuous, IMO.
    Using that logic, I could argue for motorcycle access to trails, so long as the horses outnumber them. Per capita basis is the only basis that matters.

    You're on a mountain bike forum, and mountain bikers are currently banned from trails that horses are allowed on, despite scientific studies showing that horses cause more damage than bikes. Did you expect your claims to go unchallenged?

  64. #64
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    Horse Poop on Multi-use Trails. Solutions?-no-horses-01.jpg

    Horse Poop on Multi-use Trails. Solutions?-no-horses-02.jpg
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  65. #65
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    Dog poop = biohazard

    Horse poop = just another challenge added to the trail. Bunny hop those bad apples at speed. I do it all the time on the trails in Colorado. I encourage horse poop as adding challenge for us and for fertilizing the surrounding fauna.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I ride regularly at San Tan Regional Park and at Lost Dutchman, both of which are open to equestrians. I think those who run into constant trailbombs of horse poop must be in areas where there aren't enough trails or at least enough diversity makes for a particular concentration of wheels and poop. I see equestrians every time I ride, but have never encountered what are seemingly lakes of swampy poop. It is usually easy to ride around (if it is fresh and I feel the need to do so) or over (if it is dry).

    According to general surveys, Hikers amount to about 60% of multi-use trail users, cyclists to about 30%, and horses to less than 10%. By sheer volume of traffic, hikers and bikers do at least as much damage.
    Horse Poop on Multi-use Trails. Solutions?-scoopthe_poop.jpg


    Horse Poop on Multi-use Trails. Solutions?-225647_5216367008ffb1eff1b51aab0faa538b.jpeg

    Consider this your education in horse poop.

    Hike down into the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail and all you will smell is the mule urine and manure the whole way down, as you walk in a 14 inch wide trench cut into the center of the trail by the mule trains hauling fat tourists in and out of the canyon.

    Equestrians are the least healthier trail users. They essentially burn zero calories while sitting on a horse for several hours. They also tend to be of a higher income bracket as owning and paying to stable a horse is not cheap. So there is a sense of privilege among equestrians.

    My experience tells me they are not very perceptive or responsible trail users. Mention the words; "leave no trace" to them and they give you a blank stare. Point to the fresh pile of manure and they will lecture you about how natural it is. Tell them it doesn't taste particularly good when splattered onto the top of your water bottle, and they suggest you avoid riding through it. Ask them to dismount and simply kick the pile of manure off to the side of the trail as a curtesy to other users, and they will tell you that once they climb up on their horse, it is very difficult to dismount from it. They seriously think that burning 20 calories 2 or 3 times during a 3 hours horse ride is unreasonable. Ask them not to bring their animals to public trails until 48 hours after a rainstorm, and they will say that's silly, because their horse enjoys walking in soft mud and that they can sit high and dry for the entire ride, so what's the problem. Then I explain that I have been doing trail maintenance and repairs for 20+ years and land managers have paid my crews close to $4000 a week to repair post-holed trails, as a result of irresponsible horse owners thinking it is ok to ride on wet trails.

    We don't need to fertilize the center of our multi-use trails. We don't need the extra 20,000 flies that get brought into existence thanks to the perfect growing environment dumped onto the trails. We don't need to be told, again and again, that my horse is poorly trained and you'll need to take your bike way off the trail while I cautiously proceed down this very busy trail on a very busy weekend. We don't need more horse ranglers being allowed to run their business of renting horse rides to inept city folk, and leading them slowly down the trails, leaving their own trail of poop and urine. We don't like to ride up on horses riding the same direction as us and be told that it might be best to turn around and go back, rather than disrupt the group of horses.

    The bare minimum that equestrians should be responsible for is to dismount their horse and kick the fresh pile of manure completely off the trail. Land managers also should place signs throughout the trail system, and in the horse lot, that remind equestrians of this responsibility, as well as telling them to take their horses off the trail when approached from behind by cyclists. That is the only way we are going to be able to pass them.

    Hikers are now about 59% of trail users in the Phoenix area. Bikers are close to 39% in most preserves and regional parks. Equestrians are a mere 2%, and none of us would miss them if they were booted out to ride only wilderness trails.

    They can be nice people, are almost always are, but they will say something nice to you as their animal craps in the trail and then leaves a puddle of piss to top it off. They are essentially oblivious to what they are doing to the trails and to others experience. They don't care and they don't help maintain the trails. That would be hard work, and by nature, equestrians do not want to be doing the hard work. That is what their animals are saddled up to do.

    The friend of my enemy is also my enemy. Be nice in your exchanges with equestrians, but do not embrace the idea that they are not burdens that leave trails covered in smelly horse manure and urine.

  67. #67
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    Manure catchers are cheap and effective. There is literally no reason why they shouldn't be standard equipment for equestrians using mixed-use trail systems.

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