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  1. #1
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    Pouring on the nice

    I have a small system of multi-use trails in my neighborhood that span both a county and a state park. It's wonderful that I have these trails just a short roll from my house and is one of the main reasons for living where I do.

    The trails are used by mountain bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. Most of the trails go twisting through brushy forest with limited sight lines and tight corners which keeps the speeds pretty low.

    While riding there, whenever I encounter hikers and dog walkers I either pull aside if I'm going the opposite direction or stop and ask to pass if I'm going the same way. I always smile and thank them for letting me pass. I wish them a nice hike. I pet and compliment their dogs. I try to treat the other trail users as royalty and they pretty much always appreciate that effort.

    The main point of all this niceness, is that if the topic of trail closures were to ever arise, then all these people will have a very favorable attitude towards bikers and will side with us.

    Another point is that I just like people and want to be polite.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  2. #2
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    I'm the same way and will add I always stop far on for horse riders and ask them how they would like to pass. Sometimes this can be a production but I make it known their safety is my priority. My goal is everybody parts ways with a smile and a positive impression. I also go out of my way to make an example of this with other riders in my group or newer riders. I find they embrace this approach with enthusiasm as sharing positive energy with strangers genuinely feels good. Also I love dogs.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  3. #3
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    Good for you...it's not that hard to be polite and make all trail users feel that you respect their freedom to use the trails vs fearing for their life that you will run them over. We don't see lots of traffic where I ride but when we do we make sure to be cordial and thank them when they step aside to let us pass.

    But all it takes is a couple of A-holes and an opinion is formed regarding MB'rs in general.
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  4. #4
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    I definitely try to fall into the "kill them with kindness" camp. It doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, but I'd say that I show a whole lot more respect and friendliness to other trails users than I've received back from some of them.

    When I come across a particularly nasty hiker/equestrian/dog walker (or mountain biker) I always wonder whether they've actually had a bad experience with another mountain biker, whether they're just prejudiced against mountain bikers and therefore make every trail encounter nasty (self-affirming their dislike of bikers), or whether they are just nasty unhappy people that hate everyone and everything but themselves.

    I figure worst case, when dealing with nasty unhappy people, having someone greet them with a polite smile and hello probably just ruins their day.

  5. #5
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    Pro Tip for interacting with female equestrians: "That's a really beautiful horse you have there!" You couldn't give a better compliment, as most equestrians love their horses more than they love their better half. Try it. They'll love you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Pro Tip for interacting with female equestrians: "That's a really beautiful horse you have there!" You couldn't give a better compliment, as most equestrians love their horses more than they love their better half. Try it. They'll love you.
    Good call. Will do
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Pro Tip for interacting with female equestrians: "That's a really beautiful horse you have there!" You couldn't give a better compliment, as most equestrians love their horses more than they love their better half. Try it. They'll love you.
    I don't like what horses do to the trails. I don't like their poop.

    That said, when I encounter equestrians I stop and ask about the best way to pass, smile, compliments, be nice...
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  8. #8
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    I'm always nice (I think) to all other trail users. I rarely ride on the weekend but when I do I figure I'm going to stop constantly so I just make a day of it and stop and talk to anyone that wants to, and let them all pass me. I will usually wear my jersey that is from a local advocacy group as well.
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  9. #9
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    I rode yesterday in a new place for me, a Nature Preserve. It was a beautiful day and lots of people out and on the trails. I saw a couple of ladies stopped on horseback but decided to just head up a different trail rather than walking my bike past them. Everyone was very friendly, I thanked people as they stepped off the trail and I rode by.

    Then as I was headed back to my car, I came up behind an older couple hiking, the wife following behind her husband. I came up on her and calmly said "on your left"; no response. I then said "excuse me"; no response. I decided she must have earbuds in, I had notice signs with "rules of the trails" and one of the rules was to only use one earbud but she obviously was completely plugged in. Anyway, I was tired so I just rode slowly behind her. After a little ways, her husband turned around and saw me and stepped off the trail. He looked at his wife and told her to step off the trail; she let out a "huh?" and he yelled "get out of the way!" rather loudly and sounding kind of mad at her. She then pulled out her earbuds and turned and saw me and meekly said "sorry". I thanked them and told her it was ok.
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  10. #10
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    Goes both ways!





  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I definitely try to fall into the "kill them with kindness" camp. It doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, but I'd say that I show a whole lot more respect and friendliness to other trails users than I've received back from some of them.

    When I come across a particularly nasty hiker/equestrian/dog walker (or mountain biker) I always wonder whether they've actually had a bad experience with another mountain biker, whether they're just prejudiced against mountain bikers and therefore make every trail encounter nasty (self-affirming their dislike of bikers), or whether they are just nasty unhappy people that hate everyone and everything but themselves.

    I figure worst case, when dealing with nasty unhappy people, having someone greet them with a polite smile and hello probably just ruins their day.
    I think you tapped my brain for that one.

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    What is your goal when interacting with other trail users? To be nice? To get them to like you? To get them to like all mountain bikers based on how you interacted with them? What?

    If you worked behind the scenes, you'd consider a different approach. Many of the other users you politely pass by are also contacting the land managers and demanding they remove mountain bikers entirely. The equestrians lobby to restrict mountain bikers. They make considerable donations to organizations that promote their agenda.

    Consider this; The three closest trail systems to where I live, allow horses, bikes and hikers. I do volunteer trail work in all three. I have spoken to mountain bikers in all three and there is a consensus of riders who want to see less horse traffic. I explained one approach that has worked to that end. It does not require speeding past horses or trying to upset the riders. But it also does not include carrying on conversations with equestrians or complimenting their horses. It is showing up and riding the trails as often as possible and sending the message to equestrians that if they seek a quiet experience void of mountain bikers, as most do, they need to ride mostly on weekdays in certain preserves and spend most of their time riding their horses in a particular park, that currently has the highest percentage of equestrians of any place in Phoenix. It actually helps move them out of one location and herd them to another, if you behave indifferently towards them. To take it a step further, ring that bell a couple extra times as you approach them. They heard the first bell and appreciate it. The second and third rings start to bother them a bit. Then wait, see if they pull off or if they want you to pull off. Don't interact, don't make much eye contact, and proceed.

    It will sound rude to most of you who have posted here, but it works. People are loading up their horses and driving back to their property discussing the fact that they are seeing more and more mountain bikers and they wonder if there are other places to ride where there will be a higher ratio of fellow equestrians. Then their next ride is in a place like that. So, without violating any rules, we have reduced horse traffic to 1% of trail users in one preserve, and 2-3% in the largest preserve, while Cave Creek Regional Park has about 10% of it's users riding horses. And yes, that trail system is badly beat up by horse traffic and the trails smell like horse urine, with manure spread out on every trail.

  13. #13
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    The above does work.
    Throw out the subservient "need to get along with everyone therefore bikes are the lowest rung on the user group ladder and thank you for allowing us to share these trails with you" mindset.
    There's a balance between attentive indifference and passive aggressiveness.
    No need to be rude or combative, but a unified and amplified front sends a message.
    9 times out of 10 it is better not to engage when trail encounters appear to be a "burden" for equestrians if the other users were acting responsibly and aware.
    Kill them with kindness-sure, but the rising tide approach works too.

  14. #14
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    I saw 1 equestrian last year. A mom and her 2 daughters. I really enjoyed the experience. Here in OR user conflict is a non-issue for the most part. The people to land ratio just isn't there. I'm not sure I have a goal with other trail users per say, but no doubt in my mind the trail stewardship approach in the context of this thread has the desired effect. I've never seen the critical mass approach accomplish anything positive. To the contrary it seems to reinforce people's prejudices.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    I saw 1 equestrian last year. A mom and her 2 daughters. I really enjoyed the experience. Here in OR user conflict is a non-issue for the most part. The people to land ratio just isn't there. I'm not sure I have a goal with other trail users per say, but no doubt in my mind the trail stewardship approach in the context of this thread has the desired effect. I've never seen the critical mass approach accomplish anything positive. To the contrary it seems to reinforce people's prejudices.
    I read that recently the balance has shifted in Phoenix and now the majority of grade school students are hispanic. I'm not making any judgments, just saying that over the last 30 years, demographics have shifted.

    In the same way, every day there are dozens and dozens of people buying mountain bikes in Phoenix. Of those, some will rarely ride, some will ride almost entirely on sidewalks and pavement, and some will wander on to mountain bike trails. So every day, there might be a dozen more trail riders in the valley. At the same time, maybe there is one person a week buying a horse. Some will ride on private property and some will trailer their animals to a public multi-use trail.

    If you do the math and made yourself a graph, you would see the growth of mountain bikers on public lands growing almost exponentially, while horse numbers would be flat, with almost no growth. Each and every year, the equestrians probably feel a lot like horse and buggy owners felt when the model T cars were showing up on the paths they once had to themselves. They cursed those automobiles and maybe tried to keep them off their bridal trails. But nothing was going to stop them from increasing in numbers and pushing the horses off those trails that were then made into roads.

    Look what we did to off-road motorcycles? We ran them off trail they cut in, and we banned them from using those trails. Most places I ride around Phoenix have a distribution of users that is something along the lines of; 40% mountain bikers, 58% hikers, and 2% equestrians. In ten years those numbers will be; 50% mountain bikers, 49% hikers, 1% equestrians. Does anyone think that land managers are going to spend much time worrying about the needs of a 1% user group, when they can barely keep up with the growth of the mountain bike community?

  16. #16
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    Wow... a thread about coexisting with diverse trail users turned into Boris Badenov's manifesto for getting rid of horses on trails. Good luck with that, Boris.

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  17. #17
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    Rising tides work both ways. The trails closest to me I typically only ride mid-morning on weekdays, and I like frozen or really hot weather to help push other users off the trails and into the A/C. The problem is there are SO many (casual walkers) other users that have no concept of sharing a trail. People walking dogs with headphones on turned up so loud I have to yell loud enough to scare their dog, and they still only notice because the dog flipped out? Yeah. Runners with headphones in with basically the same problem? Yep. An elderly couple who told me I should have a bell on my bike? Lady, there's a cowbell ziptied to me seat, you can't hear it? Did you forget your hearing aid? What? Yep. And the folks who let their dogs run off leash while they walk. Some old guy's golden retriever straight up took me out one day, jumped out of a cane break straight into the side of my front wheel. I almost never ride there, although there is a fairly large group of people who do mountain bike there fairly regularly. I don't have a problem sharing the trail, but when I go for a ride, I don't want to train half the city on trail etiquette either.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Wow... a thread about coexisting with diverse trail users turned into Boris Badenov's manifesto for getting rid of horses on trails. Good luck with that, Boris.
    Horses and Mountain Bikers

    Palestinians and Jews

    They can co-exist, just not in close proximity.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    Don't interact, don't make much eye contact, and proceed.

    So Boris advocates being a jerk to other trail users, now that is a surprise!


    I like the intent of this thread and I enjoy sharing trails, 99% of my encounters with people on the trail are positive whether they're on foot, a bike, or a horse.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post

    ....99% of my encounters with people on the trail are positive whether they're on foot, a bike, or a horse.
    My experience as well, and it really hasn't changed in 25 years of riding mountain bikes. Go figure - if you're nice to people, maybe even take the time to slow down or stop and say hi rather than blasting past them and scaring the hell out of them, they realize you're just another friendly person out there enjoying the backcountry. And maybe, the next time they are talking to a friend of theirs who voices a low opinion of mountain bikers, they'll respond by saying something like, "That hasn't been my experience -
    most of the mountain bikers I've met are really cool, respectful folks."

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    What is your goal when interacting with other trail users? To be nice? To get them to like you? To get them to like all mountain bikers based on how you interacted with them? What?

    If you worked behind the scenes, you'd consider a different approach. Many of the other users you politely pass by are also contacting the land managers and demanding they remove mountain bikers entirely. The equestrians lobby to restrict mountain bikers. They make considerable donations to organizations that promote their agenda.
    Guess what, Mr. Self-Absorbed - you're not the only one who has worked with land managers. On top of that, your experiences, and whatever antagonism you may be finding with other user groups in your community, isn't necessarily universal. Try to ponder that for a moment, if you can.

    As for whether there are people in other user groups that lobby to keep mountain bikers off certain trails, I just don't see much of that in my part of the world, and I live in a region with a lot of equestrian users and a lot of mountain bikers. We mostly get along pretty well, and there are plenty of trails we share, as well as some places limited to one or the other of us, and that's ok.

    Regardless, when I encounter someone on the trail, no matter how they are choosing to travel, I have no idea what their politics are, I'm not going to make assumptions, and I have nothing to lose by being nice and hopefully leaving a positive impression on them. What would you recommend instead - be an angry pompous asshole to everyone you meet, because one of them might have lobbied against our user group? That seems really productive.

    Maybe the interactions you seem to have on the trail are the result of what you bring to the table...
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    Horses and Mountain Bikers

    Palestinians and Jews

    They can co-exist, just not in close proximity.

    Is the desert some sort of magnet for assholes or something?

    We seem to do fine getting along up here.
    Must be better people. The kind that don't gloat about running people off trails they built in the first place I suppose.
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  22. #22
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    Our local trail advocacy group promotes good trail etiquette. Slowing down, making your presence known, making eye contact, and saying hello, goes a long way.

    There will always be a few people that believe we don't belong on the trail, no matter how polite we are to them.

    However, in this day of cell phones with video recorders, being rude just gives them ammunition to use against us.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    What I ask of other trail users is quite simple. Appreciate what you have to ride on and leave no trace. According to Beastmster, that makes me a racist.

    According to Smithammer, horses don't leave manure on the trails he rides. Or equestrians do as they should and dismount their animals and kick that manure off the side of the trail.

    Over the years, I've had hundreds of pleasant conversations with equestrians. I've asked if they could dismount their horse when it drops a pile of manure and kick it off the trail in consideration of other trail users. The answer has always been no. The reasons vary. Some tell me that once they mount their horse, it is difficult to climb down off of it. Others tell me that horse manure is natural, even beneficial. I mention that it often ends up stuck to a bike tire or hiking boot, and sometimes that bike tire spins it onto a water bottle or directly in the face of a bike rider.

    I met a Forest Service volunteer out on a trail in Flagstaff, riding on a trail not long after a rain storm, leaving deep post holes in the trail. I asked him to turn around and look at the holes in the muddy trail. He told me that his horse enjoys walking in soft mud and I suppose that FS volunteer is sitting up high and dry so he isn't affected or cares. What was most interesting was that the Forest Service volunteer was wearing a FS uniform and had a "leave no trace" pin on his shirt.

    If you saw a mountain biker dropping trash on a trail, you would not respond by being extra nice to him or her, would you? Every story you tell about crossing paths with an equestrian, is followed a few minutes later by that very nice person's horse taking a dump on the trail and them deciding to leave it sit there and not get off the horse and kick it off the trail. So how successful are you at changing their behavior? You could make an argument you are encouraging them to continue being disrespectful of other trail users by not asking them to think about others.

    You obviously do not agree with me or like my approach. Well if you were consistent, you'd be extra nice to me in your posts, claiming it will cause me to be a better ambassador to others. It tells me you are not serious. I'm fine being called out for my behavior. Try to hold others just as accountable for their failure to think of others while riding their horse.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    According to Smithammer, horses don't leave manure on the trails he rides. Or equestrians do as they should and dismount their animals and kick that manure off the side of the trail.
    If that's really all you got out of my comment above, then you're even more dense than I previously thought, which is really saying something.

    You obviously do not agree with me or like my approach. Well if you were consistent, you'd be extra nice to me in your posts, claiming it will cause me to be a better ambassador to others. It tells me you are not serious....
    Once again you've entirely missed the point that basically everyone else who has chimed in on this thread has made. I give people the benefit of the doubt when I don't know them, and so I'm nice to them. I would do the same to you, if we crossed paths on the trail and I had no idea who you were. On this forum however, you are someone who has repeatedly demonstrated a level of self-important douchebaggery which I feel no compulsion to continue to respond nicely to. Understand the difference?
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    If you saw a mountain biker dropping trash on a trail, you would not respond by being extra nice to him or her, would you
    Horse poop isn't trash. Don't you live in AZ? Horse crap there is dry before it hits the ground and of no consequence whatsoever, if it really bothers you that much then it's a good excuse to work on your bunny-hopping skills.

    I realize my opinion is just that but I could care less about a little organic matter on the trail that will be dust by tomorrow, doesn't bother me in the slightest.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Is the desert some sort of magnet for assholes or something?

    We seem to do fine getting along up here.
    Must be better people. The kind that don't gloat about running people off trails they built in the first place I suppose.
    Must be the desert heat?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    ...

    People are loading up their horses and driving back to their property discussing the fact that they are seeing more and more mountain bikers and they wonder if there are other places to ride where there will be a higher ratio of fellow equestrians. Then their next ride is in a place like that.
    This would happen regardless of whether or not the mountain bikers they encounter are friendly or dickish, but youíve clearly made your choice.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Must be the desert heat?
    Something making them crazy, that's for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    I give people the benefit of the doubt when I don't know them, and so I'm nice to them.
    So you have to get to know an equestrian personally before you accept the fact their horse is stopping occasionally to drop a pile of manure on the trail. If you saw it happen in front of you, then what? Horse manure does not dry before it hits the ground. It is wet for a day or two. Riding over it splatters it on a bike and on the downtime, where many riders store their water bottle. It would be a sign of curtesy to other trail users if an equestrian kicked their animals manure off the trail. Consequently, it is a sign of discourtesy when they choose to ignore it snd leave it on the trail.

    If you hike down into the Grand Canyon, on the Bright Angel Trail, you will never enjoy a single moment of that hike without the pungent odor of mule urine that is soaked into the trail and into the endless piles of mule manure along that route.

    If the sign says leave no trace, what does it mean? What are the exceptions? I would not ask equestrians to bag the manure, just to kick it off the trail like I often do for them. Getting up and down off of their animal might be the only actual exercise they get, so they could benefit by showing respect for other users. Maybe it's you who have missed the point. You might be indifferent, but others are not. Why not ask equestrians to think of others, as they desire others to think of their horses need to be approached in a specific way.

  30. #30
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    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?
    I'd imagine in the 'olden days' when horses were the major source of transportation, most horses were trained well enough not to lose their minds upon encountering anything remotely out of the ordinary.

    Problem seems to be that today's horses are a bunch of snowflakes.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?
    Yes. I know of several cooperative programs doing just that. It seems to be mostly backcountry horse groups, though. Horsemen and horsewomen seem to a very different bunch than equestrians.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I have a small system of multi-use trails in my neighborhood that span both a county and a state park. It's wonderful that I have these trails just a short roll from my house and is one of the main reasons for living where I do.

    The trails are used by mountain bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. Most of the trails go twisting through brushy forest with limited sight lines and tight corners which keeps the speeds pretty low.

    While riding there, whenever I encounter hikers and dog walkers I either pull aside if I'm going the opposite direction or stop and ask to pass if I'm going the same way. I always smile and thank them for letting me pass. I wish them a nice hike. I pet and compliment their dogs. I try to treat the other trail users as royalty and they pretty much always appreciate that effort.

    The main point of all this niceness, is that if the topic of trail closures were to ever arise, then all these people will have a very favorable attitude towards bikers and will side with us.

    Another point is that I just like people and want to be polite.
    Iíve been riding for close to 20 years and Iíve always been this same way on every trail I ride. Itís good to hear that there are still others out there that are cordial to others trailside. Youíve been repped my friend.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I have a small system of multi-use trails in my neighborhood that span both a county and a state park. It's wonderful that I have these trails just a short roll from my house and is one of the main reasons for living where I do.

    The trails are used by mountain bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. Most of the trails go twisting through brushy forest with limited sight lines and tight corners which keeps the speeds pretty low.

    While riding there, whenever I encounter hikers and dog walkers I either pull aside if I'm going the opposite direction or stop and ask to pass if I'm going the same way. I always smile and thank them for letting me pass. I wish them a nice hike. I pet and compliment their dogs. I try to treat the other trail users as royalty and they pretty much always appreciate that effort.

    The main point of all this niceness, is that if the topic of trail closures were to ever arise, then all these people will have a very favorable attitude towards bikers and will side with us.

    Another point is that I just like people and want to be polite.
    Another point: although I'd rather maybe just have the trails to myself and my close friends, all of the trails i ride are on public land. They're not my trails, no matter than I may have built them. It's more rewarding to be kind to people than to be a self centered jerk all of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Another point: although I'd rather maybe just have the trails to myself and my close friends, all of the trails i ride are on public land. They're not my trails, no matter than I may have built them. It's more rewarding to be kind to people than to be a self centered jerk all of the time.
    On the flip side, if you have a confrontational attitude towards other trail users, then I can practically guarantee that will not work in your interests. You'll end up doing far more harm than good.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?
    they most certainly can.

    Just a week ago I ran across a horseback rider on my local trails. She was riding up behind me. I heard her coming and moved over to let her pass as she got closer. She stopped for a bit at the top of the hill and was chatting with a group of bikers. The horse was very well behaved and I specifically asked her about her training with bikes and other trail distractions. She had been hard at work with her horse every week for the past 3 years to get him to that state.

    The problem is many horseback riders do not have the time or dedication to train like that, so when they do go out the first 30 min are spent getting the horse re-acquainted with a rider on their back again....

    My mom has horses, they get ridden about once a year.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    If you hike down into the Grand Canyon, on the Bright Angel Trail, you will never enjoy a single moment of that hike without the pungent odor of mule urine that is soaked into the trail and into the endless piles of mule manure along that route.

    I've hiked down that trail several times and actually I did enjoy every moment and, hiking out maybe not but that had nothing to do with the "endless piles of manure" Gravity was my only enemy.

    Anyway, mule trains have nothing to do with equestrians and everything to do with enabling the 99%'ers (your words) to access the bottom of the Grand Canyon without the assistance of fossil fuels. Also there are dozens of other more primitive and manure-free trails at anyone's disposal if they so wish.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?
    Yes, sort of. Previous replies indicate some success. My own experience with horses is that some breeds (quarter horses, other work horses) tend to be more level headed than breeds used primarily for show, racing, etc. as one might expect. I've still seen both types of horses start at something they've walked by hundreds of times. So yes, they can be successfully desensitized but (in my opinion) you still can't trust them 100% and need to act like things could go south at any second.

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    I pull over and off of the trail for all other users and user types. If I'm climbing I use my best judgment but always pull off for horses. Off trail at least 15 feet into the woods to give them plenty of room to get by. Always smile and say hi to everyone.

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    Pouring on the nice-trail-svs-070517.jpg

    Respect, courtesy, stewardship, these are all qualities we should embody wholeheartedly. Being kind and generous are character traits all people should aspire towards.

    When I encounter others on the trail (no matter what their manner of conveyance), I am always polite with a greeting at the very least.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Yes. I know of several cooperative programs doing just that. It seems to be mostly backcountry horse groups, though. Horsemen and horsewomen seem to a very different bunch than equestrians.
    Very true, in my experience at least. It's usually the rich suburban horse princesses that are a PITA, and expect everyone to know every nuance of what their poorly trained and dangerous animal will spook over.

    I have no problem pulling off the trail and saying a friendly hello to calm a horse as they pass, but when a 1500 lb animal isn't trained properly, I don't see how that is my problem (other than my safety), or why they think it gives them the right to start being snarky and barking orders.

    The fact that tying a red ribbon on your horses tail to let the world know it kicks, is even a thing for equestrian trail riders, really tells you something.
    No dig no whine

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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    The fact that tying a red ribbon on your horses tail to let the world know it kicks, is even a thing for equestrian trail riders, really tells you something.
    Jiminy.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    Jiminy.
    Yep....it's a thing.

    Tail Ribbons: Understanding the Color of a Ribbon - Oregon Horse Country, Your Equine Association

    Consequently I'll be tying a blue ribbon on the back of my pack from now on.
    No dig no whine

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Serious question here, can all or most horses be desensitized to mountain bikes? If the owners made an effort to introduce bikes to the horses at their stables, would they get accustomed to seeing them and would that stop them from freaking out all or most of the time when they see one in the woods? I ask because just about every animal can get over something that causes anxiety with the proper training, and if people that ride horses plan on riding them where there is a good chance they will run into mountain bikes, why wouldn't they do that even if it's just for their own safety?
    Great question and the answer is yes. My brother-in-law ran the horse patrol for a large city police department for many years. He traveled to other cities to help train their horses and riders. His horses are trained to hold still even when someone discharges a firearm while standing next to them.

    We have all encountered equestrians who tell us to be careful because their horse will spook and is new to the trails and to mountain bikers. The question to ask them is why do you think Saturday is the best time to go riding on a bust trail system used by large numbers of mountain bikers, when you have failed to train your horse for encounters on the trail?

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    Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
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    Compassion, Kindness, and Courtesy make the world a better place to live. Making a difference is an individual responsibility. You can do it, or not.

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