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ChocoMare
Apr. 5, 2010, 03:20 PM
Due to an incident, I had to post the following PSA to my FaceBook account, as well as the FB Group for The Silver Comet Trail:

After having to yell at three inconsiderate, unsafe cyclists while crossing the Rail Road bridge (see attached picture) while riding my horse on the Silver Comet Trail this past Saturday due to THEIR failure to yield, I respectfully remind all cyclists:

Georgia Law is Clear: Horses and Pedestrians have right of way over any wheeled vehicle, including bicycles. When you see a horse/rider crossing a bridge (whether mounted or not), please.....just take the 20 or 30 seconds necessary to WAIT until the horse/rider have crossed to the other side. It will not hurt your training to wait.....on the contrary, it will save your life.

Coming straight on at a rider or, worse yet, coming up behind a horse on a bridge is an accident waiting to happen for all parties. Should that horse spook and wheel around, you and your bike are going over the side. Should that horse spook and rear, the rider is going over the side and the horse will take off.

I had a cyclist this past Saturday who took his and my life into his own hands by coming RIGHT up the butt of my horse on the right. I had nowhere to move to because I had another cyclist heading straight at me on the left!!!! Both gentleman are very lucky I have a well-trained mare because any other horse would have jumped toward the thing that scared them and one of them would have gone over the side to their certain death.

Please ladies and gentlemen. We can enjoy the trail together. Just 20 seconds of waiting could mean the difference between a lovely ride on a spring day and a trip to the morgue in a body bag.

I am not normally a yeller....I try to exhibit patience as much as possible but when someone's insistance on being in a hurry puts me and my horse's life in danger, sorry buddy..... you're gonna catch it! :mad:

Alas, from now on, if I desire to ride east and cross that bridge, I'll have to do so in the very early hours of the morning prior to most cyclists awakening. :sigh:

SonnysMom
Apr. 5, 2010, 03:56 PM
Many horses I know wouldn't be happy with that bridge without any bikes around.

It is the " its all about me" society showing up. I think I am more important than you- everybody else needs to get out of my way because I am too important- even if I don't have the right of way.
It is also the society that has no responsibility for their own actions.
(It is never their fault, it is always somebody else's)
Glad your horse coped with the potentially bad situation well.

Mr.GMan
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:07 PM
My DH is a tri-athlete and sometimes trains on a trail that is heavily travelled by all kinds of traffic, horses included. There is actually a tunnel at one point of the trail. He always waits at the bridges/tunnels and will let the rider know when he is passing to make sure the horse will be okay. Some people are just not that "aware". Oh--he said to add the tunnels to your PSA :-)

SmartAlex
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:08 PM
Cyclists freak my horse out even when he can see them coming from a quarter of a mile away. The fact that they are so silent started it. Now he says they just simply look like aliens with those funky aerodynamic helmets on. "Silent, shiney, swooping aliens". Sometimes I have to say "Please speak so he knows you're a human!"

If we got caught on that bridge with a cyclist, there would be some serious casualties.

drmgncolor
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:13 PM
I hear ya' Chocomare and feel your pain. There are several bridges like the one in your picture (minus the high sides) on our local American Tobacco Trail (http://www.triangletrails.org/ATT). Alas, too many cyclists can not read/understand the signs (http://media.nj.com/nj_off-road_biking/photo/logo-sgaretrail-signjpg-f7bea167104b029f_large.jpg) posted on both sides of each bridge!!

I had an idiot pedal up behind me on my horse one time as we were crossing one of the bridges. :no: I asked him if he could read.

The sheer number of people (bikers and hikers/runners) that don't yield or pass safely are reason I will no longer ride my horse on the ATT. I can't fix stupid, but I can remove myself from the situation. Yes, it takes away a local riding trail, but I would rather not have to deal with the consequences of some idiot's actions.

I am also a mountain biker (with a brain). :yes:

ETA: MR G - looks like we are referring to the same trail and yes, the tunnel is a problem too even though there are signs posted there too. Solid cement walls, ceiling and floor...

jazzrider
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:28 PM
Ugh, Chocomare, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. :no: It's sad that their "share the road" often doesn't apply to trails and horses. But hooray for your mare for being the best she could be.

We have a beautiful trail by our house called the W&OD, but I stopped riding it years ago. It just wasn't safe for me or my horse, with all the inconsiderate bikers and completely clueless people. :( It just stopped being enjoyable. Fortunately for us, there are lots of other trails around.

I had a friend that I used to ride with in a city park, and he used to spin his horse around to make him look hot, so regardless of how inconsiderate or clueless those approaching us were, they would steer clear. Not something I'd recommend to regularly, but I can see it may have merits on one or two rare occasions. :winkgrin:

PRS
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:34 PM
I can't even be sure my horse would get on that bridge in the first place. Gives me the shivers to think about what would happen IF I got him on the bridge and some idiot biker ran up his tail pipe. People simply don't THINK. I met a UPS truck on a dirt road years ago. The truck was coming down the center of the road at full speed and showed no signs of either slowing down or yielding. I was doing everything I could to get my horse off the road and out of his path. The horse was scared shitless and wouldn't jump the water in the ditch at the side of the road. I was making hand signals to the driver to slow down or stop or move over...he did neither. My horse in a panic ended up backing into the side of his truck as he sped by and leaving a very large butt sized dent. I screamed at him to stop! His response was "What do you expect me to do? Move over and let you go by??" My resonse was "yes, asshole that is the law!" I called his supervisor and explained the dent in the side of his truck, just in case the driver would claim ignorance. I never saw him on that particular route again. Idiot never even thought that a very large rattling truck coming down the center of dirt road spewing dirt and gravel might get me killed all he was thinking of was getting his route done as fast as possible.

Auventera Two
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:37 PM
Yikes Choco, how scary! I'm so glad you and your mare survived it. Stupid cyclists is right!!

Our railroad bed trails have bridges, most go over water but one goes over a busy highway. I'd rather go over the edge into the water than on the highway. Every time we cross a bridge, we stop and look ahead and behind and make sure NOBODY is anywhere nearby. If there might be a chance of encountering someone on the bridge, we just stop and wait until they're over it, then we go. Of course that's difficult if there's a bend in the trail that you can't see around.

I've had run-ins with inconsiderate dog walkers, and bikers on public trails and it really irks me that people don't consider how dangerous their behavior is.

One time there were 2 young kids racing on their bikes, standing up pedaling with all their might. They were coming straight at us, and my horse and I had to go off the trail down into a ditch to get out of their way. They never slowed down, never even looked at me. There are places on the trail where you CAN'T get off because there are 10-20 foot drop offs!

I hope I don't start a war with this but the other danger we encounter are Amish buggies. There is one trail in particular they use to get from Point A to B and they don't slow down for NOTHING. Their horses are in a hard road trot and you better hope you can get out of the way. I've had to hang onto a spinning, bolting, rearing horse while their buggy whizzed by me and they made no effort to slow down. They could clearly see the trouble I was having. I hung onto the horse and thought - oh well, I guess its my fault for taking my horse out into the wide open spaces. It's my choice and my own consequences I guess. She's ok with them now, but that was the first time she'd seen one and for the life of her, she couldn't figure out why that big black box was chasing that horse.

Susan P
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:37 PM
My husband rides his mountain bike at Fair Hill in MD all the time with his buddies. I've really complained to him and told him that this property was designed for horses and that the bikes have no business taking it over or any other purpose for this park. He assured me that he and his friends are very consciencious of the horses. He doesn't think we have more rights to use it than they do, I disagree in the case of Fair Hill since it was created for the purpose of horse use and there are so few places where a horse can be safely ridden over so many acres. Bikes can go almost anywhere else and have what they need but horses, not so much which is no doubt why Willie DuPont created Fair Hill in the first place. If not for the DuPont estates this area wouldn't have much open space left.

Beverley
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:43 PM
Unfortunately, yes, some of them are idiots (as are some folks on horseback), but we need to keep in mind that they vastly outnumber us and so we never want to get into a situation where there is an 'either/or' vote.

Just now we are busy cracking down on unleashed dogs on one trail system. Our hidden cameras show violators to be equal opportunity ignorers-of-signage- on horseback, on bicycle, or on foot.

matryoshka
Apr. 5, 2010, 05:44 PM
I've found that many cyclists are simply unaware that horses have a mind of their own and spook at things humans don't even notice. Many cyclists don't realize they can scare a horse simply by riding by.

Most of the cyclists I encounter at Fair Hill willingly yield the right-of-way, but I try to get out of their way instead. I want my horse to see bicycles going past. I do suggest they speak loud enough to be heard when they encounter a horse. Many don't realize they appear to be a predator to spooky horses.

Education is the best policy. If they don't know why they are supposed to yield the right of way (safety), they are more likely to ignore it.

Narrow bridges/tunnels and horses do not mix.

Seal Harbor
Apr. 5, 2010, 05:56 PM
It isn't just horses that idiot cyclist scare, I've had them come whizzing up behind me while I was out walking - can't hear them, they are supposed to say on your left or on your right - when they come flying by. I had one moron say "beep beep" when she was at my elbow. I was about to turn that way and head back. That would have been fun.



Then there was the bonehead who was 1)on the sidewalk 2) traveling against traffic 3) going really fast 4) crossing the drive way I was turning into, we were both going in the same direction - he was on the wrong side of the road. I almost hit him. He started to cuss me out and then I informed him he was in violation of about three laws. Did he want me to call the police? He left. Had someone stepped out onto that sidewalk he would have killed them. He had to have been doing about 40 MPH on the sidewalk. Ass.

tkhawk
Apr. 5, 2010, 06:12 PM
There is not much you can do. There are just too many of them and we are heavily outnumbered. The trails I ride, while remote, are still close to L.A. So you do have a ton of bicyclists, especially on the weekend. It is mostly hilly terrain with some blind curves. I have learned to listen to the horse-if she starts getting tense approaching a blind curve, there is usually someone there-bicyclist or hikers or maybe a squirrel!:lol:

But I find the worst offenders to be the ones who ride with their music stuff on. They are just not paying attention and come downhill pretty fast. Fireroads are fine-but singletracks with dropoffs, of which they are many here-can get very scary. I just don't ride certain trails on weekends-too many weekend warriors. But otherwise my mare is fine with them. But most are actually curteous-some just don't know horse behaviour at all-so can't really blame them. The ones that seem to be listening to their ipods and seem to be in another world seem to be the most cause for concern.

Equibrit
Apr. 5, 2010, 06:46 PM
This may be worth reprinting and distributing;

Equestrians And Cyclists: Can We Get Along?

Theo Stein

Perhaps no animal has meant as much to the advance of human culture as the horse. Paleolithic man first looked to this grazing herd animal as meat on the hoof. The trick was getting close enough to strike. On the steppes where it evolved, the horse's keen eyesight, hearing and blazing speed made it just about safe from attack. Hunters of all species had to wait for the herd to maneuver into tighter quarters like in the woods along a stream or water hole.
Once the horse was domesticated, its trainability, strength and speed afforded human cultures a quantum leap forward. The horse became beast of burden, transportation and a devastating weapon of war. On the broad back of this noble beast, kingdoms were gained and kingdoms lost. Today, because of the relative fortune required to purchase and maintain a horse, equestrians are often wealthy and landed citizens: people with clout.
Therein lies the rub: mountain biking is a new sport whose devotees are relatively young and not rich. We all wish it were otherwise, but money talks. It is the horse owners who will be able to pull the right strings when conflicts arise. Therefore, it behooves (sorry) us to make friends of equestrians, rather than enemies.

A wary, fast animal of wide open spaces


But this issue is more than just a turf battle over trails between us young turks and them establishment types. It also has to do with safety. On the back of a startled horse, attached only by gripping thighs, a rider is in an extremely precarious position. And to a horse, a mountain biker screaming around a blind corner at Warp Nine looks like a nightmare from hell: alien, silent and horrifyingly fast.
While hiker-cyclist conflicts provoke most land access battles, chance encounters between horses and bicycles pose a far greater threat of injury and death. A horse, by design, is a nervous, cautious beast. Mountain bikers are, more or less, risk-takers. When these two very different users meet unexpectedly on the trail, the results are sometimes disastrous.
Deb Carano, a rider for 26 years and world-class equestrienne racer from New England, believes that the majority of unpleasant horse-bicycle incidents arise from our own ignorance about how this this herbivore perceives its world. When faced with potential danger, humans may choose to fight or flee. Horses have one response, and that's flight - right now.
One of Deb's housemates, Tunde "Tucsi" Ludanye, has studied equine behavior and sensory perception. She said that if self-preservation is the first law of nature, it's also the last word in horse sense. The horse has an inbred fear of being eaten. It is known to be the fastest animal in the world at distances over 50 yards, but within that distance, it is vulnerable to ambush artists like lions and wolves. That first 50 yards is crucial. To gain this ever-important head start, a horse depends on an amazing sensory system - a 360-degree field of vision and ears which swivel a full 180 degrees.
Tucci said it's possible to understand a horse's seemingly irrational reactions as natural wariness. Remember, it's an animal of wide open spaces, not twisty single track. Tucci notes that a horse instinctively fears small, tight, dark places, like a trailer, as place where a horse-eater may be lurking. A tight trail in deep woods may also make a horse nervous, Deb said.
The only way to calm a spooked horse is to convince it that there is nothing to fear. A trained animal takes its cues from its rider or other horses. A startled horse under a startled rider is a dangerous combination. A startled horse under a calm rider is less so.
One of the most volatile elements in the mix is that every animal is different. "My horse Hardin is bomb-proof," she said. "The previous owner used to take him hunting and shoot a gun off his back." Deb and Hardin also used to tag along behind a racer-friend when he trained in the woods. "Hardin loved it. He would just fall in behind the bike and away we'd go. But even with a bomb-proof horse, if you startle it, it's going to shy."
While a horse is a large animal, it is also quite fragile. "There are a number of things that can happen to a horse, just like with any human athlete." A spooked horse, madly dashing over hill and dale, can easily pop a tendon, tear a ligament, break a cannon bone, or twist a fetlock, which is the equine equivalent of spraining our wrist. Any of those injuries entail a long-term recovery and big-time veterinarian costs. A severe injury may oblige the owner to euthanize the animal, which is part cherished friend and part investment. Any rider who has had a horse injured or put down after being spooked by cyclists is sure to hit the warpath against mountain bike access.
But the party most in danger during unexpected confrontations is the person is the person riding a spooked horse.
"Typically horses weigh 1,000 pounds and up," she said. "When you startle a horse, its instinctive reaction is flight, and that's when people get hurt." The most common injuries, Deb said, are broken shoulders and wrists and lungs punctured by broken ribs. But more serious injuries do happen. Deb said she saw one rider break his back after getting thrown. She also knows of riders who were killed after they were thrown into a tree or stone wall. Even a sudden sideways movement in the woods may result in the rider being crushed against a tree or clotheslined by a low-hanging limb.

How to avoid conflict


Approaching a horse and rider suddenly from the rear is the most perilous type of meeting. Popping up in a horse's face will certainly scare the bejeesus out of the animal, but at least the rider can quickly identify the nature of the threat and act accordingly.
A horse is likely to sense a cyclist approaching from the rear before its rider, and will instinctively perceive that cyclist as a threat to its safety. That's why it is vital that you make your presence known to the rider.
"No matter which way you approach, it's critical you alert the rider as soon as possible," Deb said. The best thing to do, she said, is to slow to a crawl or stop and ask the rider for instructions. Don't be bashful and don't wait until you get close. Just sing out, "Rider back. May we pass?"
The rider may tell you to pass, or to wait while he or she moves the horse off the trail. The rider may just need to turn the animal around so it can look you over. With a skittish animal or inexperienced rider, you may have to dismount and move off the trail yourself.
Deb also recommends you outfit your bike with a bell, even a tiny, tin kitty bell under your seat. "That may give the horse and rider the split-second warning they need to buy time for everybody involved."
But the most important thing is to let the equestrian control the flow of events. The horse needs to know the rider is in charge. "Ask the rider for instructions no matter what, she said. "They will appreciate it."
Anticipating incidents is the best way to avoid nasty accidents. Keep your eyes open for horse sign on the trail. A 1,200 pound animal shod with steel shoes leaves tracks on everything short of asphalt. Even then, manure piles should alert you that you're sharing the trail with an animal.
If you suspect there's a horse somewhere ahead of you, consider riding elsewhere. If it's your training day, do ride elsewhere. Otherwise, proceed with caution and make noise as you go.
Despite having a bomb-proof horse familiar with bicyclists, Deb said that she tries to keep Hardin away from mountain bikes whenever possible, more so because she's afraid of how bikers will act than how Hardin will.
"I like trail riding, but it's not relaxing, she said. Given that a horse may spook at the sight of a deer, a few anxious moments per ride in the woods is the norm. Knowing that mountain bikes may be in the area ratchets up the tension level dramatically.
"To be honest, I don't go to areas where I can expect to run into them," she said. "The potential for disaster is just too great where the horse and rider are concerned. I've been there and it's not fun."

Getting along


That admission begs the question: "Can we get along? Yes, if we show respect and a sense of knowing what horses do and what they need. If we don't do that, then I think we're going to be denied access to a lot of great mountain biking." And who wants that?

More Horse Sense From Equestrian Reader

Margo Ems, Lincoln, NE

I am a horse owner and have been trailriding the Midwest for 15 years. I also serve as equestrian advisor for numerous city and state level trail advisory groups, and non-profit trail organizations. I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU for running the informative article, "Equestrians and cyclists: Can we get along?" by Theo Stein in the September ITN.
I would like to make a couple more suggestions: 1) If a horse is crossing a bridge, cyclists should always wait for the the horse to finish. 2) Cyclists should never approach a horse while it is crossing creeks or other water. 3) When calling to the horserider to alert them of your presence, remember it is best not to holler or yell excitedly, but to speak calmly. If the cyclist is some distance from the horse, a loud but calm voice should be used. There is nothing wrong with a "Hello, it's really a nice day for riding, isn't it?" The more an approaching cyclists talks when passing, the more the horse will realize it is just a human being on a strange looking contraption.
One last thing just to set the record straight. Although owning a horse is an expensive hobby, the majority of horse owners who trailride for pleasure are not wealthy. Many trailriders are silly enough to dump every last, hard-earned dime they have into their hobby so that they can do what they enjoy. For many, trailriding is all they do with their horses. They don't show them and do not own expensive horses of show caliber. But they do come from all walks of life, just a mountain bikers do. If all of us use a little common courtesy, and take into consideration the excellent points you have made in your article, everyone can go home at the end of the day after a safe and very enjoyable ride. Again, thanks for helping others understand a bit of horse psychology and promoting trail etiquette.

JeanM
Apr. 5, 2010, 07:20 PM
Great piece, Equibrit!!

I wish every newspaper would republish that article periodically!

the absolute WORST people to run into on horseback are the danged bicyclists! They seem, in general, to have NO clue of how a prey animal reacts, and they are the most arrogant so-and-so's to meet on the trail. There are a few exceptions, but the rule unfortunately is what I have experienced.

In contrast, in my experience, I'll take a motocross rider any day -- your heart is in your throat when you hear them coming, but as SOON as they see you on a horse, they pull over & shut down the motors, and wait until you're well past to start up again. I'll take them over a mountain biker any day. :confused:

Huntertwo
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:04 PM
Wow, that is a narrow bridge.... Thank goodness you have a great mare who took it all in stride.

It looks like a very pretty place to ride. Too bad you have to encounter dopes like that.

Did they respond in anyway?

Equibrit, that would be a great article to post on a Bicycling Forum.

Chall
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:20 PM
I de-spooked my horse to bikes and I now have a problem with him taking off after bikes to join them (like a horse trained to racing - he wants to join the "herd"). That can be as much of a problem as having a horse scared of bikes.

Hidden
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:24 PM
I have also given up on the American tobacco trail. When they decided to pave over 1/2 of the trail to give greater access to the biker's it was clear that the time for horse trails was over. I have a great horse that is not spooked by bikers, but I am and I have lost many a trail ride because I won't go where bikes are allowed. They just don't know.

JollyBadger
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:41 PM
My horse in a panic ended up backing into the side of his truck as he sped by and leaving a very large butt sized dent. I screamed at him to stop! His response was "What do you expect me to do? Move over and let you go by??" My resonse was "yes, asshole that is the law!" I called his supervisor and explained the dent in the side of his truck, just in case the driver would claim ignorance. I never saw him on that particular route again. Idiot never even thought that a very large rattling truck coming down the center of dirt road spewing dirt and gravel might get me killed all he was thinking of was getting his route done as fast as possible.

This story really gave me chills, as a good friend of mine had something similar happen to her a couple of years ago. A guy in a water truck sped past her, right next to where her horse was and she had nowhere to go. Her mare spun and kicked out, caught her rear shoe in the wheel well and pretty much severed the ligaments.

It was within a mile of the barn, with HORSE signs all over the road to warn drivers to be on the lookout. The guy went back to the barn parking lot and just sat in his truck for a bit and drove away. No one saw or heard from him again.

My friend kept the mare, sent her to surgery, went through hundreds and hundreds of bandage changes and x-rays. The vet says the mare is "good to go" for some light riding, so my friend has been able to get on and ride a couple of times recently but she'll probably never be a full 100%.

And all because people are too freakin' ignorant, careless, and/or stupid to show some consideration.:mad:

There are a couple of little towns nearby that decided it would be a great idea to build a paved bike trail connecting them, which will wind through East Fork State Park and (in some places) use the existing horse trails. It's a multi-million dollar project, funded through donations and will supposedly be maintained by the local towns.

I wouldn't have a problem with it, if the local pavement-cyclists showed any evidence of basic trail etiquette. However, most of them are severely lacking in that area. . .and it worries me that the committee in charge of planning the trail just shrugged off the concerns about those sections of horse trail that we will be "sharing."

Because, of course, any incidents involving bikes and horses will more than likely result in restrictions on access for horses. As if we aren't already limited in places to ride.:(

Lieselotte
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:48 PM
We ride mostly where there are no bicyclists, but there is one regional park that is fairly heavily frequented by them and we don't want to give up on the place because the tough hills are great for conditioning.

I have found that most of the cyclists really try but they just don't know about horses... They think quietly sneaking up on a rider is better than making a lot of noise, so we frequently tell them: Just speak up, or yell out, or ring your bell if you have one.

I believe it is up to us to educate others about our sport - we are outnumbered and often a "spectacle" to city folks who only know horses from movies... Let's try to make a good impression and have them on our side.

(And let's not forget, there is ignorance on all sides: There are riders out there, swigging their beers on the trail, littering and trampling down new growth...)

matryoshka
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:08 PM
Great post, Lieselotte. Agree whole-heartedly.

drmgncolor
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:13 PM
I have also given up on the American tobacco trail. When they decided to pave over 1/2 of the trail to give greater access to the biker's it was clear that the time for horse trails was over.

Yeah, and it's not like my horse is new to bikes. Often enough, DH and I trail ride together. Me on the ponygirl and he on his bike. Unfortunately, the majority rules... and the majority of cyclists know nothing of horses.

A bit OT, but it's not really the mtn/trail bikers that really get to my girl, it's the brightly (http://files.tourofcalifornia.org/img/peloton-on-pch-2-large.jpg)colored ever so silent road cyclist that will send her overboard. Ever had a peloton of 75 to 100 or more riders come at your horse head on? That was NOT a good day and a few of them are extremely lucky she didn't NAIL them as they whizzed by her.

Trakehner
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:23 PM
We have a beautiful trail by our house called the W&OD, but I stopped riding it years ago. It just wasn't safe for me or my horse, with all the inconsiderate bikers and completely clueless people. :( It just stopped being enjoyable. Fortunately for us, there are lots of other trails around.

I used to ride the W&OD too. They had a bluestone trail that went up and down the hills while the paved trail was fairly level. Way too many brain dead breeders, pushing prams side by side and blocking the trail...so the guys started using the horse trails and most were total jerks.

The C&O Canal can be a challenge...fishermen, bikers, hikers, lots of dogs and even kayakers. There is the usual jerk contingent but most people are pretty good to deal with.

I used to use a narrow bridge over where the boaters accessed Lake Seneca (actually part of the Potomac River). One jackass revved his boat trying to scare the horses...my mare peed right at that point and it dropped down on his boat...a slight bit of Karma...but way too many bike riders are jerks...towards cars and them following the same traffic laws and horses with their bad attitudes....while motorcycles riders are amazingly polite and seem to appreciate another rider of a big beast. 4x4 riders also seem pretty good when it comes to the horses...

I really don't know where the "beer swilling trail riders" comes from...I sure don't see people drinking, riding and littering where I've ever ridden, far from it. I'd guess these people are rare to almost non-existant (kind've like the drunken hunter BS)

Equibrit
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:25 PM
Another good piece for "making available";
http://www.imba.com/resources/bike_management/clemson_horses.html
Original had pics.

Bikes and Horses:
A Case for Sharing

National Symposium on Horse Trails in Forest Ecosystems

Prepared by Michael Kelley
Clemson University
October, 1998

This presentation will cover aspects of relations between equestrians, their horses, cyclists and their bikes. My basic thesis is that horses and bikes can, and must, share trails together with all other non-motorized users. I hope to show that "problems" are often matters of perception rather than reality, and those that are real can almost always be solved with a proactive approach. The basic tools to accomplish this are education and joint experience. Our biggest challenge is to build the community of trail users and open space advocates into a proactive force to enable all of us to use trails together, and to ensure that trails will be available for future generations of trail users. We must do this together, and the consequences may be severe if we do not.
In some people's minds, horses and bikes cannot co-exist on trails together. We have all heard "horror stories" of encounters with bikes, and any equestrian would be understandably appalled at the thought of any of these incidents occurring with a horse in their barn. We must deal with this.
At the same time, we have other concerns. The amount of public land is decreasing rapidly due to development and population pressures. The number of trail users is increasing geometrically. I'm told that the number of equestrians is decreasing. It strikes me that we all need to act together as one trail family.

The Horse

IMBA teaches cyclists rudimentary things about the nature of the horse. We know that horses were originally plains animals, with a "flight" or "fight" response to danger, A sudden or unfamiliar stimulus will spark this instinct. Self-preservation is the first law of nature for the horse. It has an inbred fear of being eaten, and although it may be the fastest animal in the world at distances over 50 yards, it is vulnerable within that space. So it has an instinctual fear of small, tight, dark spaces, like the single track trails that all trail users crave.
The horses' alarm system operates well through sight, smell and instinct. They have uncanny eyes. Although they allegedly cannot distinguish between colors and have poor depth perception, their eyes are independent, and they are capable of using both binocular and monocular vision. They also have a 340 degree field of vision.
Horses are also quite fragile and, like human athletes, are subject to popped tendons, torn ligaments, broken bones or miscellaneous twists of joint. These can result in tremendous pain to horses, huge vet bills, long term recovery and even euthanasia in the case of serious injuries. Even a slight injury can leave an indelible memory of terror in a horse.
We also know that horses have a very distinguished history. They have hauled cannon, ambulances, fire engines, and even Charleton Heston into the most chaotic of circumstances. Horses can be trained to do almost anything.

Conflicts: Perception or Reality?

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/cowboy_biker.jpg
Obviously, the biggest concern expressed by equestrians deals with both real and perceived dangers of horses being scared by cyclists. Accidents have occurred causing injuries, and even a few horse fatalities. Sometimes these have been caused by inconsiderate rude behavior on the part of cyclists. Sometimes by inexperienced horse riders or spooky horses, and sometimes by a combination of all three. Land managers find that the actual number of significant incidents involving bikes and horses are few, relative to historical use of all users.
Serious accidents have been occurring for centuries on trails used by horses. The advent of mountain bikes didn't change the horse's basic nature, and the risk that equestrians take when riding on narrow trails has always been present. Deer, quail, bee hives, other horses with rude riders galloping up and inciting a herding reaction–these things have always been a risk to equestrians. Now there's just one more potential risk thrown into the melee. This is a consequence of the changing demographics of our times.
While we often hear of the conflicts, we usually don't hear of the thousands of trail enthusiasts who have no problems with bikes or horses. We tend to remember the dramatic, and forget the everyday. Horror stories are told, retold, and embellished, but commonplace trail rides where equestrians and cyclists interact without incident are forgotten and never mentioned.
Adjoining areas can have completely different attitudes towards horse and bikes. In Marin County, in northern California, equestrians and cyclists have seemingly been at war for 10 years. Many equestrians from that area are uncompromising in their belief that multiple-use of trails is an impossibility. Yet a mere trot away across a valley is China Camp State Park, where the Superintendent refused to be swayed by the "conventional wisdom," and opened multi-use singletrack trails. There have been no incidents there over several years. The Superintendent had the benefit of years of experience with bikes and could be proactive.
Conejo Open Space District (COSD) north of Los Angeles is another example where informed land managers ignored dire warnings of perceived danger, and told the users that they would have multi-use trails. Horses had been there for a long time, when nearby jurisdictions began closing trails to bikes. COSD refused. Again, they had the benefit of several years of national experience with bikes, and were able to be proactive rather than reactive. The users were not offered the choice of bickering among themselves, and in fact got together to create a multi-use trail system that continues to function well today.

Trail Impact

Environmental concerns must play a large role in guiding the ways we all enjoy the outdoors. Cyclists have often taken punches on the issue of erosion. We have even had equestrians launch attacks at public hearings, indicating that bikes would somehow cause too much damage and destroy trails. This is not appropriate. It has been shown by studies that the impact of hikers, bikes and horses is relatively similar, compared to the impact of building the trail in the first place. It is foolish for equestrians and cyclists to be at all divided on this issue. Keep in mind that horses have been justly and unjustly under attack for trail damage for decades.
In reality, the impact of all users is significantly less than the impact of water. A poorly designed trail that get's zero use will erode more than a well designed trail that receives heavy use by anybody. What we should all care about most is building and rebuilding trails to make them sustainable. Trails designed for bicycling, equestrian, or motorcycle use need more thorough engineering than a hiking trail. It is important for land managers to realize that the impacts of non-motorized use are relatively the same, and to construct trail to handle the heaviest use. Any trail strong enough to handle horses, can handle bikes.
Trail width necessary to accommodate both uses is subject to controversy. Some jurisdictions, particularly those which formed regulations during the early days of mountain bikes, require road sized-trails in order to accommodate both uses. Nowadays, more information and experience indicates that significantly smaller trails are better for multiple use. Narrow trails tend to slow users down, and in that respect, are less dangerous. The narrower the trail, and the more features such as turns, rises and falls, obstructed views, and occasional protruding rocks or roots, the slower mountain bikers will go. Most experienced mountain bikers would rather ride these challenging trails than smooth, wide open trails that encourage high speeds.
Width of trails can depend upon proximity to urban areas. In the San Francisco Bay Area, China Camp State Park is very close to large population centers. Its multiple use trails are four to five feet wide, become narrower as vegetation fills in, and accommodate horses and bikes very well. In the backcountry, any trail wide and tall enough for a horse, can also accommodate a bike.
So, what are the problems in more detail, and what solutions will work? I've divided the approach into three areas: the cyclist's responsibility, the equestrian's responsibility, and our collective responsibility.
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/horse_biker.jpg

Cyclist's Responsibility

Education works very well to solve trail conflicts. IMBA has developed the Rules of the Trail for cyclists, which, if followed, almost always eliminate problems. In their short form, they are distributed world-wide. Our rules for dealing with horses are as follows:

All cyclists must continually watch for horses, and slow down when the sightlines are poor.
Cyclists must make sure that the horse knows they are there, and that they are human, not predators. A backpack or a bike may appear to a horse to be a hungry animal. Voice communication is the best way to provide this assurance, though in some areas, bells work well. Since people (with voices) feed horses, and bells don't, voice contact is generally better. Cyclists should also speak with the equestrian. This encourages positive relationships between users as they greet one another on the trail.
The approach to the horse is the most critical moment. From the front, the cyclist should stop, and check with the equestrian, if necessary stepping off the trail on the downhill side to allow the horse to pass. When approaching from the rear, we urge care to alert the horse and rider that we are coming, in sufficient time to avoid spooking either. Once communication is established, the equestrian will often have the best suggestion about how to pass. It may be necessary to wait for a wider spot in the trail. Often the cyclist will leave the trail (on the downhill side) to allow the horse to move to the rear. When passing, it goes without saying that cyclists should proceed slowly and steadily, while still talking to the horse to help it relax.
We suggest that cyclists not pet horses, without guidance from the equestrian. We do have a variant on that. We sometimes carry carrots, and give them as treats, always with the permission and instructions from the equestrian. We have had local "Carrot Days". One of my horsey pals suggests that equestrians with spooky horses carry carrots themselves. When encountering cyclists, the horseback person tosses the carrot on the ground, and asks that the cyclist give it to the horse. With this approach, we can get the horse to think of cyclists as food providers rather than predator. Perhaps this will be a step in the right direction. But it isn't always a perfect solution. Many equestrians don't feed their horses when the horse has a bit in its mouth. Sometimes nose bands are too tight for the horse to open its mouth and accept a treat. There is a specific way to feed a carrot to a horse without losing ones fingers. Again, this depends upon the horse and upon clear communication with its rider.Equestrian's Responsibility

This discussion about education would be incomplete without mentioning education within the equestrian community. Any kind of riding requires skills. This includes both stadium and trail riding. Trail riding requires learning the skills necessary to be outside of the arena, including riding with bikes and other users. We are all aware of instances where riders attempt to ride animals that are beyond their skill level. Some horses can spook at any time. I remember one example where a horse jumped at a piece of paper during a public trail dedication and threw its rider. This was a combination of a borrowed horse and rider error. An equestrian friend reacted strongly to this incident, arguing that people who borrow horses and can't stick on when the horse spooks should be considered just as irresponsible as mountain bikers who can't control their bike's speed. The consequence of a loose horse galloping away from a dumped rider on a singletrack trail can't be ignored. Equestrians must be subject to the same level of responsibility as mountain bikers, and it's unfair to accuse a mountain biker of being always at fault when a horseback rider is thrown. One equestrian acquaintance has also strongly suggested that some horses simply don't belong on the trail at all.
As mountain bikers, we are willing to acknowledge that there are some reckless riders in our community, and we are working to educate them. We think it reasonable to request the same level of conscientiousness from the equestrian community in training horses and riders to ride trails.
As stated earlier, most horses can be trained to withstand almost anything. We have developed programs to assist in this. We often have horse desensitization clinics, not unlike the obstacle course events that equestrians are familiar with. Cyclists maneuver repeatedly around the horse, in as close quarters as circumstances permit. Where appropriate, we ask that the cyclist act rudely, so that the horse gets used to that. The results can be spectacular. Some equestrians perform this type of training frequently to make their horses brave on the trail.
A few years ago, Sharon Gibson suggested rules horsemen could follow, which would increase their safety and enjoyment of trails. These appeared in Equestrian Trails on October of 1991, and included:

With some slight changes in terminology, follow the IMBA rules of the trail. They make sense and show common courtesy.
Understand that bikers, like riders, are individuals. The actions of one do not typify the actions of all.
Get to know the mountain bikers in your area. Explain to them that you are aboard 1,000 pounds of unpredictable animal and how horses react to fear. Remember that many non-equestrians are actually afraid of horses, and may also react unpredictably, out of that fear. Tell them about your horse if they express an interest.
Take responsibility for your horse's education. Let it see a bike close up, at rest and without a rider aboard, preferably on a trail you normally ride. Many horses accept bikes on city streets but spook at seeing them on the open trail. Let your horse get used to the sight of bikes, helmets, walking sticks and backpacks.
Contact your local bike shop for information and referrals to groups who may be willing to work with you.
Contact our local mountain bicycling groups. Let them know about the specific trails, situations and conditions that concern you. You will find some of them very helpful. You may even be able to do some joint trail maintenance activities to increase safety for all.
Be polite to the people, (horsemen, hikers and bikers) you meet on the trail. Let them get to know you and your horses. People are always more considerate when meeting friends on the trail.Both equestrians and cyclists can also learn to withstand just about anything–even each other, despite often heard protestations to the contrary. When the dust clears, we find that we agree about almost everything, and that at the heart of it all, we want the same basic experience. We share the wonder at what we are able to experience on our chosen steeds. We love the beauty of the outdoors and the joy of life we breathe as we travel through wild lands. We revel in sports which require exquisite balance and self-control, and which inherently involve a certain amount of risk and exposure to injury should we loose our balance or control of what's under the saddle. We get saddle sores and sore backs. The more time we devote to our respective sports, the more likely we are to put every spare dollar into it. We grow attached to our mounts, give them names, groom and maintain them. We relish the wind whistling in our ears from a swift run along an open trail. We whine about the relative paucity of the opposite sex in our chosen sport. So take a cyclist to lunch.
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/rompstomp.jpg

Collective Responsibility

Our combined responsibilities are even greater than those owed to our own user groups. We can only succeed as a united community. There are several ways we can fulfill these responsibilities.
We've got to share responsibility for our irresponsible members. Trail patrols are proven methods of easing tensions and educating users. Combined patrols, which involve all user groups, are particularly effective. Patrollers receive training, often including CPR and first aid instruction. They may work with public safety departments. They act as a peer group, giving advice on proper trail behavior, and being role models. IMBA has a National Mountain Bike Patrol, patterned after the National Ski Patrol.
Joint events are proven ways to encourage a happy trail community. Dramatic evidence of this comes from the Peninsula south of San Francisco. Imagine this scene: A well meaning equestrian sees a pack of horses riding towards him, and not far behind, some cyclists. He rushes forward to warn his pals that bikes are coming. He is met with the reply, "That's OK, they're with us." This happens during the annual Romp and Stomp ride. "ROMP" refers to the Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers, a mountain biking group, and "stomp" refers to the horses that participate in the ride. Every year the group meets for a picnic and a joint ride. They go on the same trails, to the same destinations, in mixed groups. Cyclists and equestrians get positively giggly with sentiment and good feelings for each other during the course of the ride.
Perceptions after participating in that event have changed dramatically. One equestrian who actively and vocally detested mountain bikes attended a Romp and Stomp event, perhaps only to prove that it would not work. After the event, she completely reversed her stance. She became completely enthused with bikes and wanted them on the trails with her. Sure, most situations will not result in a "conversion" such as this–the trail to Damascus isn't always easy–but it does illustrate the subjective nature of the problem.
Events also can include competitions. A few years ago, a cyclist beat a horse on a 100 mile trail ride for the first time, which was exciting news for me and my cyclist and equestrian friends. We have heard about relay races and poker runs that have combined teams. There have been ride and tie events, and relatively athletic events where equestrians and cyclists have switched mounts in mid event. We find it best if these events take place on the same route, which is entirely possible if the participants are prepared.
Horse groups often invite cyclists to participate in their events. For example, cyclists often provide obstacles for horses to negotiate in safe style in trail trials events. They also help with crowd control and alerting other users during equestrian endurance events.
That old standby event, the trail project, is one of the best ways to build community among users, and at the same time give something back to the land that serves us so well.
We build our trail community by working together with land managers on trail and open space advocacy. We have all seen instances where different user groups enter advocacy situations at each other's throats. This almost never works. It leaves bitter feelings, and often a net loss to the trail family. In fact, our diversity of use ought to be our main strength.
A while ago, we completed a multi-year effort to obtain access to a water district's land. We wanted access for bikes and increased access for other users Horses and hikers could already use it under a permit system. We made a big effort to go in with a united community, and the multi-use trail council presented a proposal for this increased access. During the hearing, most testimony favored the increased access, but a few equestrians bolted from the trail council, and said that the land in question was "too special" for bikes. They even used the trail council's name, indicating that they were the minority view. We all lost. No bikes were allowed and the equestrians did not get the access they wanted.
After that hearing, the board members had a few things to say. Most indicated that not only did they not like bikes, they also wished there were no horses on the water district's land. The rebel horse people made faces as long as their horses'. They were next! To top it off, the rest of the trail council was very irritated at this public display of a lack of unity, and it took a while to get back on track. All trail users lost this round.
In another case involving access to nearby water district land, the same trail community presented a cohesive and united approach. Virtually everyone who spoke at public hearings was in favor of equal access for bikes, horses and hikers. This included a strong coalition of trail users, the same trail council referred to above, the environmental community and the press.
This time the trail community won in important aspects. It emerged united, prepared to advocate for trails and open spaces with renewed vigor. It got over 12 miles of trail for bikes and horses that would not have happened without this collaborative effort. It also got the promise from the district board to examine the issue again.
So, on the advocacy front, we urge cyclists, hikers, equestrians and land managers to band together to achieve our goals. In so doing, we must keep in mind that these are indeed mutual goals–we share much more than we disagree on. Keep in mind that advocacy involves a multi-way trail. Users and land managers should be sensitive to each other's needs. We also must be sensitive to the needs of land managers. We've got to collaborate to keep track of the myriad of legislative, funding and maintenance matters that impact our trails and open spaces.

Multiple or Shared Use

There are many general, yet persuasive reasons to favor multiple use trails wherever possible. Sometimes there is pressure from other trail users who don't want bicyclists on "their" trails, perhaps because they feel their sweat equity gave them ownership, or simply because they were there first. This country club mentality has no place on the public lands. Mountain bikers now form a huge tax paying group–the largest in many areas, and it is unjust to exclude them from land that is purchased and maintained by their tax dollars.
To the extent these views predominate, land managers feel forced to provide separate trail opportunities to cyclists who represent a significant percentage of trail users. This can lead to trail saturation in ecosystems best left wild. It is truly a loss for everyone when social management of different user groups negatively affects the wildlife that calls those lands home.
Over the years, IMBA has devised several points in favor of a trail system that is generally multiple use :

Shared-use trails can best accommodate the needs of the most users. A generally open backcountry disperses users across an entire trail system. Single use or restricted use trails tend to concentrate users. This increases environmental and social impacts.
Shared-use trails help build a trail community by increasing the need for all users to cooperate to preserve and protect a common resource. Encountering other users on a trail offers the opportunity to meet and talk. Without that opportunity, it's difficult to establish mutual respect and courtesy. Separate trails breed ill will, territoriality and rivalries.
Shared-use trails are most cost effective for land managers. They require fewer signs and less staff. Monitoring and enforcement is simplified.
Shared-use trails enable responsible, experienced users to educate outlaws and novices. Because they share the same trail system, the opportunity for peer regulation is enhanced.Conclusion

To sum up, I hope I have convinced you to support shared use as a preference. That doesn't mean all trail must be shared use–equestrian only trails are certainly appropriate some times, particularly on private property. But we do feel strongly that at least non motorized users ought to generally share the trails together, and act together as family members in the trail community. If we don't do this, consider the consequences. Developers are constantly after our trails and open spaces. Huge resources for the environment, such as the potentially $900,000,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund will be lost without collaborative effort. Both equestrians and cyclists have been unjustly under attack, and there is always the risk that both groups will be picked off in access disputes. So let's work together and make it better for us all.

ChocoMare
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:43 PM
Thanks for the votes of confidence everyone. Penny is a dream boat! I know that not many horses would willingly cross that bridge...especially since it BONG BONG BONGS with every hoof fall due to steel framing. But this is the same mare that I got within 30 feet of a steam-driven Pile Driver!

I know that we are VERY outnumbered in the cylist to horse ratio, so always do my best to profusely thank every cyclist who does announce their presence with an ON YOUR LEFT or even just says "Hi! Nice horse!" I want to encourage that behavior and, if I get a chance to chat, ask them to pass the word on.

I also posted this PSA on the SCT Facebook page quite a while back:

Cyclists & Equestrians: How We Can Co-Exist Safely & Politely on the SCT ...

CYCLISTS:

Horses are "prey" animals and have a natural, usually uncontrollable instinct to react fearfully to something coming up behind them by spooking. This is their natural Flight reaction. This reaction may include spinning, rearing, side-stepping or even kicking out....all of which can be dangerous to the horse, the rider and/or you & your bike! So the second you see a horse, IMMEDIATELY let the rider know you are coming up behind them with a clear "ON YOUR LEFT!"....loud enough for the rider to hear. Then slow down as you pass the rider. Whenever possible and safe, pass with a wide margin. Remember, it is State law and your personal responsibility/requirement to Yield To The Horse & Rider. For all bridges, stop your bike and wait for the horse/rider to complete the bridge crossing. DO NOT approach and certainly DO NOT ride up behind any horse on a bridge!

Note: For the most part, equestrians can safely ride on the dirt side of the SCT concrete path or ride within the tree-lined trails in the woods. However, some parts are just too narrow for the horse to safely negotiate, have a severe drop off, a mile-marker sign or may have water/mud that a horse will not go through. Therefore, there may be times when you will come upon a horse/rider on the concrete itself. Again, just let the rider know you are there and pass slowly.

If you are stopped on the side to take a break and a horse/rider passes you, please do not approach to pet the horse without asking permission first. The rider may be training their horse and cannot stop or would prefer to keep a safe distance from you for their personal safety if riding alone....especially in light of unfortunate incidents of the past. If you are biking with your child(ren), instruct your children to immediately stop their bike and wait as the horse passes. Children often become enamored at the sight of a horse and forget to watch where they're going! Same rules for kids petting horses: Just Ask First! (and do not be offended if the rider says "no." - It's not personal nor does it mean the horse bites/kicks. We're just being safe. )

EQUESTRIANS:

Please ride on the grassy/dirt side of the SCT or within the wooded trails running parallel whenever possible. The concrete path is for cyclists, walkers, etc. Should you HAVE to be on the concrete, stay as far right as possible and go only at the walk. If your horse poops on the concrete path, immediately dismount and kick it off to the side. If you cannot dismount/mount from the ground, consider purchasing a Bun Bag that attaches to your saddle to catch the manure for later disposal. (www.bunbag.com)

Equestrians should ride in a single file line on the right, since there is simply not enough room to ride abreast safely. Trotting and/or cantering should ONLY be done in areas where you are 100% sure you can easily see far enough down the trail. Blind curves and hills should be walked.

If you come upon another horseback rider and wish to pass, please ask "MAY I PASS?" and wait for the other rider to acknowledge you/give permission. Pass as widely as possible or (if the path is open), cross to the other side of the concrete path to pass before returning to the right to avoid the possiblity of either horse kicking/being kicked.

IMPORTANT!!! If your horse is a known kicker, you have the responsibility to tie a Red Ribbon in his/her tail to warn approaching riders.

For all bridges, it is recommended that you dismount and walk your horse across. However, some people for various reasons simply cannot do so. In those times, unless you are sure your horse will cross the bridge without spooking, DO NOT ride across. Tis better to turn around and go back then risk severe injury to you or your horse.

When you have to ride across a bridge, wait to the side for any cyclist or walker traffic to clear before proceeding. If you are half-way across and see approaching cyclists, stand up in your stirrups, hold up your hand and say loudly "STOP!" Remember, you're not being rude. You are being safe. Naturally, thank the person(s) when you get across for their yielding to you and your horse.

******************************************
A big THANK YOU in advance to all cyclists and equestrians alike for showing Southern Hospitality to each other and the visitors to the SCT.

Methinks it's time to send the above PSA via Color Flyer to the bike shops that rent bikes along the SCT, as well as within cyclist forums. It's a matter of educating the masses.

walkers
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:49 PM
Reading these nice reasonable posts makes me think that these writers must be optimistic people who believe in people wanting to help each other and get along. How I wish that their world was the real world.
The real world is bikers screaming at a eight year old girl to clean up her horses mess and do it now or else , the real world is bikers racing up on horses tail and slamming on their brakes to scare the horses off the trail. The real world is bikers working together to run the equestrian off "their" trails. The real world is bikers playing "chicken" going down the middle of the 12 foot wide multi-use trail.
All of the above are true stories of the ATT "rail to trail" in NC.
Of course the majority of bikers are nice people who abide by the rules but there are to many nasty bikers who have ruined it. These bikers have also almost run over my leashed dog so they want everyone off the trail.
They have won as most horse people have stopped riding the ATT its just no fun to have to deal with the danger or aggravation from bikers. I have even been crowded off the trail while walking!
we must fight for separate trails for horses and walkers, the bikes need to be on there own trails .
The only way multi-use trails work is if they are used on separate days. The speed difference between a bike and horse makes the situation dangerous even if everyone is polite and follows the rules. What fun is it to ride a trail when you can't canter because of what may be coming at you that you can't see.
I give...................

ChocoMare
Apr. 5, 2010, 09:54 PM
Well, I guess I'm just an eternal optimist. ;)

Please don't misunderstand.... truly, the idiots I encounter(ed) are the exception, not the norm on the SCT. These are the Lance-Armstrong-Wannabes, with their tights and water packs, etc. The average folks are ok...especially the mountain bikers because they KNOW they have to share the dirt trail with us. Besides, we're bigger :D

For anyone who wants a taste, if you are on FaceBook, you can watch this brief video of Penny and I on that very bridge last fall: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/video/video.php?v=1166826445824 - Good sound of the BONG!

Equibrit
Apr. 5, 2010, 10:01 PM
Reading these nice reasonable posts makes me think that these writers must be optimistic people who believe in people wanting to help each other and get along. How I wish that their world was the real world.
The real world is bikers screaming at a eight year old girl to clean up her horses mess and do it now or else , the real world is bikers racing up on horses tail and slamming on their brakes to scare the horses off the trail. The real world is bikers working together to run the equestrian off "their" trails. The real world is bikers playing "chicken" going down the middle of the 12 foot wide multi-use trail.
All of the above are true stories of the ATT "rail to trail" in NC.
Of course the majority of bikers are nice people who abide by the rules but there are to many nasty bikers who have ruined it. These bikers have also almost run over my leashed dog so they want everyone off the trail.
They have won as most horse people have stopped riding the ATT its just no fun to have to deal with the danger or aggravation from bikers. I have even been crowded off the trail while walking!
we must fight for separate trails for horses and walkers, the bikes need to be on there own trails .
The only way multi-use trails work is if they are used on separate days. The speed difference between a bike and horse makes the situation dangerous even if everyone is polite and follows the rules. What fun is it to ride a trail when you can't canter because of what may be coming at you that you can't see.
I give...................


This has certainly NOT been my experience.

matryoshka
Apr. 5, 2010, 10:08 PM
Reading these nice reasonable posts makes me think that these writers must be optimistic people who believe in people wanting to help each other and get along. How I wish that their world was the real world.
The real world is bikers screaming at a eight year old girl to clean up her horses mess and do it now or else , the real world is bikers racing up on horses tail and slamming on their brakes to scare the horses off the trail. The real world is bikers working together to run the equestrian off "their" trails. The real world is bikers playing "chicken" going down the middle of the 12 foot wide multi-use trail.
All of the above are true stories of the ATT "rail to trail" in NC.
Of course the majority of bikers are nice people who abide by the rules but there are to many nasty bikers who have ruined it. These bikers have also almost run over my leashed dog so they want everyone off the trail.
They have won as most horse people have stopped riding the ATT its just no fun to have to deal with the danger or aggravation from bikers. I have even been crowded off the trail while walking!
we must fight for separate trails for horses and walkers, the bikes need to be on there own trails .
The only way multi-use trails work is if they are used on separate days. The speed difference between a bike and horse makes the situation dangerous even if everyone is polite and follows the rules. What fun is it to ride a trail when you can't canter because of what may be coming at you that you can't see.
I give...................Yep, I've maintained this delusion for over 30 years of riding. Of course there are going to be nasty people out there. Believe me, I deal with them, and they usually apologize when I finish. I also have the Park Rangers on speed dial. During a conflict, I offer to call the rangers to settle it. So far, they have backed down.

But these are the exceptions, to be vented about and forgotten. Would you like to be painted with the same brush as riders who drink and ride, gallop up on other riders and scare their horses? I think not. They are out there, too, upsetting cyclists, hikers, and other horse people.

Rude people are rude people whether on bicycles or horses. If I had your view, I would not get out of bed in the morning. I'll keep my delusions.

Susan P
Apr. 5, 2010, 10:09 PM
I just told my husband that I'm reading this thread about the bikes and horses on trails and he said to tell you all that they really try to give the right away. I told him that he only knows the area he rides in, mostly Fair Hill in MD. So I guess locally we got it into their heads for the most part, at least those who ride in bike clubs. My husband rides and races over the road, cyclo cross and mountain bike so he's had to learn the rules and the people he rides with must have also figured it out. Not sure how, so I'm guessing the problem riders are the rouges. My husband does get to see how horses behave because he cuts the grass around my guys and well, they are alive, not machines.

By the way, if you take your dogs with you then you can always tell the cyclist that you won't send you beast after them if they don't get near you and your horse, lol. I know cyclist sure complain when being chased by a dog and they get hurt and rightfully so. I had a German Shepherd who was never interested in bikes because she always saw my husband on his.

MistyBlue
Apr. 5, 2010, 10:27 PM
It coould be a regional thing too. Here in CT the mountain cyclists I've run into run about 30/70 of morons vs polite athletes. (in favor of the polite athletes)
The road cyclists run about 80/20 rude clueless morons vs folks who actually know or care about...well, the laws or safety.
And around my general area you need to do a little road riding here and there to get to trails.
The road cyclists mostly just race right by you, swerving and passing close enough that you can easily touch them. They do this to cars, horseback riders and people walking. Only people they give way to are runners/joggers it seems.
They ride side by side by side...3 across most often. Blocking entire lanes. They both text and chat on their cells while cycling. They ignore traffic lights and stop signs. They weave in and out of cars waiting at stop signs and traffic lights. They zoom by and call out insults to folks on horseback. (get off the road, etc) And they don't carry any way of identifying them if you try to report any law breaking...so they can do whatever the heck they please.
They're a blight on this entire area. Sadly for the few decent ones. :no:
And it seems in CT the trails are mostly kept up by the casual trail riders and serious backpackers/hikers. The cyclists don't show up for trail rebuilding, litter pick ups, etc. Neither do the dirtbikers or ATVers...but then they're slowly being banned off many of the trails anyways. Not that it keeps them off the trails, just away from the trail maintenance days. And the problem riders of the motorized stuff is by and large the younger kids, not the adults. Those are usually plite enough to try to keep things safe when they see horses. The kids...they think it's hilarious to try to chase you or spook the horses. And they rip up the trails.

drmgncolor
Apr. 5, 2010, 11:28 PM
The real world is bikers screaming at a eight year old girl to clean up her horses mess. <snip> The real world is bikers working together to run the equestrian off "their" trails.

They have won as most horse people have stopped riding the ATT its just no fun to have to deal with the danger or aggravation from bikers. I have even been crowded off the trail while walking!

The only way multi-use trails work is if they are used on separate days.

I have been yelled at because of horse poop too. Different trail, but still...

I have also heard that soon enough the ATT will be closed to horses altogether

And it isn't just bikers, sadly. Because the ATT is relatively flat, 5 different highschool XC teams could, by chance, all choose to train at the same time on the same section of trail. Bikes aside, a massive sea of white t-shirted runners is a danger-danger to a prey animal. Ask me how I know...
Bottom line is modern suburban sprawl and horses just don't mix.

I understand all that. I don't really have a "I'm better than you bikers because I have a horse" attitude. I mountain bike as well, so I understand how hard it can be to find a technical trail that also allows bikes. Because you know, bikes damage trails.

I agree that with multi use trails, the alternate days might just be the answer. TSALI Recreation Area (http://www.main.nc.us/graham/hiking/tsali.html) in the Nantahala National Forest does this. There are 4-5 routes and days that are alternated between horses and bikes. I've not ridden horses there because it is so far from me, but I've ridden bikes there numerous times. Actually DH proposed on a bluff above Fontana lake, but I digress... it works!!!

Painted Horse
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:03 AM
I'll speak for the other side. I find most mountain bikers to be very respectful. Almost all of them ( if they see us) pull off to side and stop while we pass. I often call ahead and tell them to keep coming because my horses are used to seeing them, as long as they see them coming, It's no big deal. Most riders stop and say they needed a break anyway, and take a breather while we go past. They usually comment "Nice Looking Horse" and I reply " Cool Bike"

There are several bridges I have to cross. But they are in lower ravines where the creeks flow. When I come across the ridges above them I look way down the trail and try to see if a biker is close enough that we might meet on the single track down to or crossing the bridges. Our bridges are absolutely single track. Only about 30 inches wide. So there is no passing on a bridge. If I see bikers coming, I ask the horse to sit and wait for the bikers. I know they want their speed coming down the hill and want to maintain as much as possible for the uphill climb.

Probably the hardest thing for me, is when I prune the trails. I ride a 16-1 hand horse, I'm 6'2" So I want to prune stuff 8 - 9 foot off the ground. The bikers and hikers keep stuff clear 6 foot and lower. So it's up to riders like me to clear the tall stuff. When i'm holding the reins in one hand and pruners in the other. It's tough to catch everything I cut off. These branches fall on the trail occassionally and I know the bikers hate them because th often get caught up in the spokes. Horses drop road apples on the trails and people not used to being around horses seem to have an aversion to getting road apples on their tires which flips up into the faces. Also the bikers hate it when we ride down a soft trail and leave post holes in the mud or crusted snow. So they have some valid arguments for side also.

It really is in our interest to get along with them, educate rather than call them names. show them as much as much respect as your would to see. If opportunity allows, take your horse off the trail if the biker is working hard at climbing a grade. and if nothing else, Verbally thank those that do yied to you.

JollyBadger
Apr. 6, 2010, 04:57 AM
I'm still optimistic that different trail users can peacefully co-exist on the same trails, without having to set aside specific days for each group to use the trails.

Of course, there is just as much of a problem with careless, rude equestrians when it comes to sharing the trails.

There are the drinkers who tear through the trail and don't stop or slow down for anyone. If you're in the way, they will just plow right into you and your horse. I've run into them. . .sometimes quite literally. . .and my opinion of them is no higher than the jerks who tailgate horses with their bikes.

Or, there are the riders who go off the marked trails, or use trails that horses are not supposed to be on. It doesn't exactly give horsemen a great reputation, when cyclists find fresh piles of manure on trails that are closed to horses. A majority of those riders are people who just trailer in for a day, or camp for the weekend, and take no real "ownership" of the potential damage they are causing.

The thing that really gets to me about the new paved bike trails that are springing up locally, is the fact that they are being funded largely through state and local grants. The local park manager came to one of our horse council meetings last year to discuss the upcoming bike trail project, and someone asked him about who will be in charge of maintaining the new trail. After all, the state park budgets are stretched thin as it is.

He just shrugged and shook his head, and replied that this wasn't the first time a project (like the bike trail) came into the park with big plans, but failed to follow through by maintaining it. Supposedly, the towns plan on using their own manpower and equipment to keep the trails clear for cyclists, but the manager didn't sound optimistic that they'd be consistent about it.

The local county horse councils do all of the maintenance of the horse (and shared hiking) trails. With 55 miles, including a 32 mile loop through areas that are not easily accessible, the task is ongoing. Some of the people who are still active in the local club were actually involved in originally cutting the trails when the park was created. So, while the park owns the land, the horsemen are pretty much on their own when it comes to keeping the trails open.

On one side of the lake, there is a system of mountain bike trails that occasionally intersects the horse trail. Again, the result of a group/club that pretty much cut their own trail and must keep it maintained, along with building the obstacles. I only ride that side of the lake a few times a year, but my encounters with the MBs have always been positive, with mutual respect for the fact that it is up to each group to be sure we still have trails to ride.

But then. . .you have the asphalt-cyclists. They simply show up and ride. They didn't have to build the beautiful, fancy, $200k bridge across one of the wide shallow streams, and they can just report any trail obstructions to the town maintenance department to have them clean it up.

One section of "their" trail is still on an existing (but dead end) road which they DO sometimes have to share with horses and riders, as it is a crossing point with the horse trails. There are signs all along that section, with pictures of bicycles and the words SHARE THE ROAD. From the way the cyclists act, though, they OWN that road.

The responsibility to work together certainly extends to all parties, and all parties contain a few jerks who are going to continue to think the trail is theirs. In that park, at least, I have yet to see the asphalt cyclists actually contribute anything besides headaches and near-accidents.:mad:

Trakehner
Apr. 6, 2010, 07:15 AM
What fun, eh?

The Washington Bridle Trails Association was started 80 years ago...horse trails all through Rock Creek Park from Washington into Maryland. The bike riders whined, the idiot breeders whined, the walkers whined..."We want the trails for us, those horses poop and they scare our children". So, the trails in Maryland were mostly paved over and horses can't use them. Many of the trails in DC are non-horse allowed. It's the typical disaster...someone else did the development work and maintenance and the losers come later to steal the fruits of someone else's labour.

Karmic Balancing Story:

I board in Western Montgomery County Maryland...lots of nice roads and a plentitude of DC road bike riders with bad attitudes. They have a race or ride and they try and block roads...too bad, life's full of disappointments even for guys in way too much spandex and not enough underwear.

I was driving my horse and saw a car with blinking flashers coming so I pulled off on the grass (but not before my horse left a wonderful pile of meadow muffins dead center in the road). The car came with 1 biker behind them. I figured it was a charity rider earning money for something worthwhile. Then another rider or two came by and did some fancy riding to avoid the pile-o-poop. We were just waiting and watching the "dinner and a floorshow". Then, a solid pack of riders 6 abreast and 10 long barreled up and met the dreaded turds...it was a lovely pile-up. Schaudenfreud was in full flower and I did enjoy it immensely. Gotta' admit, I hate the road bike riders..and I'd say it's closer to 95% jerks. I got dirty looks yesterday from a pack of them (on the same road) who just were stopped in the road having a chat...I dared to beep at these self-proclaimed superior people (bikes are so much more sensitive and green than those nasty car denizens.)

PRS
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:46 AM
I was driving my horse and saw a car with blinking flashers coming so I pulled off on the grass (but not before my horse left a wonderful pile of meadow muffins dead center in the road). The car came with 1 biker behind them. I figured it was a charity rider earning money for something worthwhile. Then another rider or two came by and did some fancy riding to avoid the pile-o-poop. We were just waiting and watching the "dinner and a floorshow". Then, a solid pack of riders 6 abreast and 10 long barreled up and met the dreaded turds...it was a lovely pile-up. Schaudenfreud was in full flower and I did enjoy it immensely. Gotta' admit, I hate the road bike riders..and I'd say it's closer to 95% jerks. I got dirty looks yesterday from a pack of them (on the same road) who just were stopped in the road having a chat...I dared to beep at these self-proclaimed superior people (bikes are so much more sensitive and green than those nasty car denizens.)

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
Love it!!! Sadly though most of them most likely blamed the horse and not their idiot selves.

HydroPHILE
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:04 AM
Due to an incident, I had to post the following PSA to my FaceBook account, as well as the FB Group for The Silver Comet Trail:

Because I know the trail and bridge of which you speak (being a cyclist myself,) THANK YOU FOR POSTING THAT! I will now forward it onto every single SCT group of which I am a member.

I cringe every time I see a cyclist come zooming up behind [normally well-trained] horses, and I slow down...just WAITING for something to happen.

There are many rude and pretentious cyclists on the SCT that will crash into slow-moving pedestrians, cut them off, etc. and then sneer/yell at them.

This past weekend we were biking. We had stopped to take a water break (off the trail,) and a family of three had just stood up and were standing slightly on the edge of the trail to fix their son's backpack. A cyclist came flying head-on to them and then cut to the side at the last minute flailing his arm at them and shouting, "DON'T YOU KNOW THE RULES OF TRAFFIC?! JESUS CH***T!!" As he approached a woman, obeying the "rules of the trail" - going slow, enjoying the view, pedaling her speed on the FAR right, he zipped past her and cut her off shouting, "GET OFF THE TRAIL!"

I have, however, found that for every pretentious you-know-what on the SCT, there are five respectful cyclists :)

We ran across some Road-Jerks out in the middle of the country in northwest Georgia. Instead of riding on the right side of the road/as close to the side as they can get, they were riding right down the center line (I guess they thought they were safe doing so in the country.) I waited until traffic cleared and went around them, almost driving on the left shoulder. Two of the cyclists glared at me and shook their heads. Really? You're riding in the middle of the road, and you get mad at us drivers who go WAY around you to avoid hitting you? Geez.

Alagirl
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:07 AM
Because I know the trail and bridge of which you speak (being a cyclist myself,) THANK YOU FOR POSTING THAT! I will now forward it onto every single SCT group of which I am a member.

I cringe every time I see a cyclist come zooming up behind [normally well-trained] horses, and I slow down...just WAITING for something to happen.

There are many rude and pretentious cyclists on the SCT that will crash into slow-moving pedestrians, cut them off, etc. and then sneer/yell at them.

This past weekend we were biking. We had stopped to take a water break (off the trail,) and a family of three had just stood up and were standing slightly on the edge of the trail to fix their son's backpack. A cyclist came flying head-on to them and then cut to the side at the last minute flailing his arm at them and shouting, "DON'T YOU KNOW THE RULES OF TRAFFIC?! JESUS CH***T!!" As he approached a woman, obeying the "rules of the trail" - going slow, enjoying the view, pedaling her speed on the FAR right, he zipped past her and cut her off shouting, "GET OFF THE TRAIL!"

I have, however, found that for every pretentious you-know-what, there are five respectful cyclists :)

law of averages, I suppose.

too bad that he trail rage could have grave consequences...(don't you want to clotheline those idiots tho :lol:)

HydroPHILE
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:09 AM
Methinks it's time to send the above PSA via Color Flyer to the bike shops that rent bikes along the SCT, as well as within cyclist forums. It's a matter of educating the masses.

Try the Silver Comet Depot off Floyd Road in Mableton. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to post this, and they are one of the most popular rental spots/starting spots on the trail (mile marker 4.2.)

ChocoMare
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:11 AM
YOU LIVE! :o Where you been girl? :confused:

LexInVA
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:12 AM
I won't even use the trails here for biking in the daylight. There's nowhere safe from the horrors of family bikers who ride in duck lines, Lance Armstrong wanna-bes who think they are reasserting their manhood to get over their mid-life crisis, and menopausal banshees who are trying to make up for 40+ years of shitty living by power-walking in groups.

jazzrider
Apr. 6, 2010, 11:16 AM
The C&O Canal can be a challenge...fishermen, bikers, hikers, lots of dogs and even kayakers. There is the usual jerk contingent but most people are pretty good to deal with.

We park just outside of Harpers Ferry at the Dargan Bend lot, and ride NW towards Hancock. There are much less of that lot on that part of the C&O, we've ridden there a few times and not run into anyone. But then, we tend to ride the C&O in the winter and late fall, to keep our gaited boys conditioned during the seasons that a lot of the good bridle paths are wet and/or closed.

One note though, if you have an extra tall trailer don't try to go under the bridge at Sandy Hook to get to Dargan Bend. Go the long way around. Trust me. :D

ChocoMare
Apr. 6, 2010, 11:49 AM
Try the Silver Comet Depot off Floyd Road in Mableton. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to post this, and they are one of the most popular rental spots/starting spots on the trail (mile marker 4.2.)

Done! Thanks Shelby :yes:

Mara
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:14 PM
Because I know the trail and bridge of which you speak (being a cyclist myself,) THANK YOU FOR POSTING THAT! I will now forward it onto every single SCT group of which I am a member.

I cringe every time I see a cyclist come zooming up behind [normally well-trained] horses, and I slow down...just WAITING for something to happen.

There are many rude and pretentious cyclists on the SCT that will crash into slow-moving pedestrians, cut them off, etc. and then sneer/yell at them.

This past weekend we were biking. We had stopped to take a water break (off the trail,) and a family of three had just stood up and were standing slightly on the edge of the trail to fix their son's backpack. A cyclist came flying head-on to them and then cut to the side at the last minute flailing his arm at them and shouting, "DON'T YOU KNOW THE RULES OF TRAFFIC?! JESUS CH***T!!" As he approached a woman, obeying the "rules of the trail" - going slow, enjoying the view, pedaling her speed on the FAR right, he zipped past her and cut her off shouting, "GET OFF THE TRAIL!"

I have, however, found that for every pretentious you-know-what on the SCT, there are five respectful cyclists :)

We ran across some Road-Jerks out in the middle of the country in northwest Georgia. Instead of riding on the right side of the road/as close to the side as they can get, they were riding right down the center line (I guess they thought they were safe doing so in the country.) I waited until traffic cleared and went around them, almost driving on the left shoulder. Two of the cyclists glared at me and shook their heads. Really? You're riding in the middle of the road, and you get mad at us drivers who go WAY around you to avoid hitting you? Geez.

I know that trail well, as I live within shouting distance of it. Also my husband is a road cyclist (and he started long before Lance Armstrong's name was ever in print). He HATES the Silver Comet Trail and only rides it at the crack of dawn. His complaint is it's too crowded with novices on bikes, for one, but particularly oblivious breeders who block the entire trail by lining up strollers side-by-side and damming up traffic behind them.

Another beef - and riders need to watch out for this as well - is dogs on those damned "retractable leashes". Usually the owner is on the left side of the trail and the dog is opposite, with said "leash" strung like a trip wire across the trail.

ChocoMare
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:39 PM
Well, looks like good is already coming out of this.

I revised/updated my Cyclists & Equestrians Flyer and sent it to:

--The Silver Comet Depot bike store
--Bike Cobb.org
--Atlanta Cycling.com
--Atlanta Bike.org

Mr. Joe Seconder from Bike Cobb.org wrote back right away, promising to post it on the websites and did! http://www.bikecobb.org/horse-sct

He also recommended I send it off to Cobb County Goverment's "Safety Village." Doing that now.

I also have Rebecca from Atlanta Bike.org doing the same thing on their website shortly.

Soooo, maybe just maybe, the word will spread. Methinks I'll also approach Paulding DOT to see about posting signs at the bridges directing others to WAIT for Horses to Cross ;)

HydroPHILE
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:46 PM
YOU LIVE! :o Where you been girl? :confused:

The answer to that question is a whole lot of negatives (car accidents...yes "accidents," family deaths, and illnesses,) but things are better now.

Keep Cobb Clean is also the organization that is in charge of "adoptions" of the SCT to whomever wants to "adopt a section" to keep clean, etc. They might want "in" on any PSAs. :)



but particularly oblivious breeders who block the entire trail by lining up strollers side-by-side and damming up traffic behind them.

Another beef - and riders need to watch out for this as well - is dogs on those damned "retractable leashes".


INDEED! I think it's rude that when I (not a novice cyclist, but definitely NOT pro, etc.) bike, and I shout "ON YOUR LEFT!" I am met by no one moving, no one paying attention, strollers or walking 4-across the trail. :\

I *hate* retractable leashes! For the most part I've run across responsible dog owners, but otherwise - ugh!

mzpeepers
Apr. 6, 2010, 01:48 PM
I have, however, found that for every pretentious you-know-what, there are five respectful cyclists :)That has been my experience as well. I ride in a state park where cyclists are aplenty. I noticed that hardcore cyclists are respectful and educated while weekenders are entitled, rude and generally obnoxious. For instance, if I ride on a weekday I can use any trail and 99% of the time I'll run into cyclists who are nice and easy to deal with while if I ride on the weekend I need to stay on the "hard" and difficult trails or I'll run into a plethora of morons on bikes who aren't in shape to ride on the challenging trails and stick to the fire-roads.

ChocoMare
Apr. 6, 2010, 02:00 PM
Well, sent "warning sign" query to Georgia DOT, since local DOT kept kicking me out.... I'll let you know what happens :D

Huntertwo
Apr. 6, 2010, 03:29 PM
It coould be a regional thing too. Here in CT the mountain cyclists I've run into run about 30/70 of morons vs polite athletes. (in favor of the polite athletes)
The road cyclists run about 80/20 rude clueless morons vs folks who actually know or care about...well, the laws or safety.
And around my general area you need to do a little road riding here and there to get to trails.
The road cyclists mostly just race right by you, swerving and passing close enough that you can easily touch them. They do this to cars, horseback riders and people walking. Only people they give way to are runners/joggers it seems.
They ride side by side by side...3 across most often. Blocking entire lanes. They both text and chat on their cells while cycling. They ignore traffic lights and stop signs. They weave in and out of cars waiting at stop signs and traffic lights. They zoom by and call out insults to folks on horseback. (get off the road, etc) And they don't carry any way of identifying them if you try to report any law breaking...so they can do whatever the heck they please.
They're a blight on this entire area. Sadly for the few decent ones. :no:
And it seems in CT the trails are mostly kept up by the casual trail riders and serious backpackers/hikers. The cyclists don't show up for trail rebuilding, litter pick ups, etc. Neither do the dirtbikers or ATVers...but then they're slowly being banned off many of the trails anyways. Not that it keeps them off the trails, just away from the trail maintenance days. And the problem riders of the motorized stuff is by and large the younger kids, not the adults. Those are usually plite enough to try to keep things safe when they see horses. The kids...they think it's hilarious to try to chase you or spook the horses. And they rip up the trails.

Misty,
Where are you trail riding??

Agree - The mountain bikers are always very considerate.

The road cyclists, well, not so considerate.

HydroPHILE
Apr. 6, 2010, 03:31 PM
I noticed that hardcore cyclists are respectful and educated while weekenders are entitled, rude and generally obnoxious. For instance, if I ride on a weekday I can use any trail and 99% of the time I'll run into cyclists who are nice and easy to deal with

Same thing on the SCT and other Greenways.

I try to ride as much as possible during the week, after work. I only ever run into pleasant people then.

endurancegirl_15
Apr. 6, 2010, 04:21 PM
Oh my goodness! Thankfully you, your horse, or those idiotic cyclists aren't hurt. Some people dont have the common sense. A large animal is VERY powerful!!

ChocoMare
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:57 PM
A large animal is VERY powerful!!

And mine is quite large! She's a Clydesdale/Standardbred Cross.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2576938350015305252cakkSQ

endurancegirl_15
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:21 PM
And mine is quite large! She's a Clydesdale/Standardbred Cross.


Lol! They BETTER give you the right of way!! Or they will find out what a 1500(?)-pound horse butt can do to them! ;)

endurancegirl_15
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:22 PM
By the way, she is very pretty. ;)

Trakehner
Apr. 6, 2010, 09:43 PM
I have idiot and oblivious dog owners with Muffy and Binky on those retractable leashes have their organ donor dogs come up to my mule. "Uh, you don't want him near the mule, he doesn't like dogs"....and they're oblivious and chatting away. "Uh, you REALLY don't want your dog coming up to my mule!"...and they're still oblivious and chatting away. "Get your bloody &$&^%^% dog away from us!!!" "HUH?" is their usual response..."C'mon Muffykins and Binkypoo...stay away from that dirty mule". Sigh...he's got one fox to his credit already, maybe a few brain dead barkers might add to his record? Fun riding a "hit mule".

Huntertwo
Apr. 7, 2010, 06:22 AM
Gosh, I'm glad I ride in the middle of no where...

I'd rather take my chance with a crazy in the woods, than the clueless surburanites.... (joking)

ChocoMare
Apr. 7, 2010, 08:13 AM
By the way, she is very pretty. ;)

Thank you! :yes: :)

HydroPHILE
Apr. 7, 2010, 08:53 AM
By the way, she is very pretty. ;)

She's a fabulous gal to ride, to groom - everything, too! :D

Being a gelding person, Penny and Tank are the only two mares I can stand - lol.

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2010, 08:54 AM
...he's got one fox to his credit already, maybe a few brain dead barkers might add to his record? Fun riding a "hit mule".

oooo I want a "hit mule". That's definetly what I need in my neighborhood! :yes:

NeverTime
Apr. 7, 2010, 09:19 AM
My husband rides his mountain bike at Fair Hill in MD all the time with his buddies. I've really complained to him and told him that this property was designed for horses and that the bikes have no business taking it over or any other purpose for this park. He assured me that he and his friends are very consciencious of the horses. He doesn't think we have more rights to use it than they do, I disagree in the case of Fair Hill since it was created for the purpose of horse use and there are so few places where a horse can be safely ridden over so many acres. Bikes can go almost anywhere else and have what they need but horses, not so much which is no doubt why Willie DuPont created Fair Hill in the first place. If not for the DuPont estates this area wouldn't have much open space left.

Yes, it was created for horses, but it's still open space and still maintained because it's now a state NRMA, and as such is open to multiple users. If it weren't for being an NRMA now, it would be gone, so try to appreciate that sharing it is just part of the deal for still being able to ride (anything, bike or horse) there.
I LOVE Fair Hill, both as a rider and a biker. The bike groups that are based in that area, like the Delaware Trail Spinners, work very VERY hard to educate members and new riders about riding responsibly and how to act around horses. They also do a *ton* of volunteer trail maintenance that horseback riders get to enjoy (I've yet to see any horsey folk out there cutting back briars or clearing deadfall for themselves...)
Yes, there will be a few idiots on bikes (just like there are always a few idiots in cars) but there will also be a few idiots on horses. When you see someone on a horse that's losing its mind because of the bikes -- even when the bikes are doing all the right things -- you wonder why that rider would put their horse in a situation it isn't yet prepared to deal with. Just like you wouldn't point a green horse at a 4-foot triple and expect it to jump; you shouldn't take a horse who isn't yet comfortable around bikes to a trail area that's teeming with them.
Rider responsibility is definitely the key word on BOTH sides of the equation.

Alagirl
Apr. 7, 2010, 09:54 AM
Well, looks like good is already coming out of this.

I revised/updated my Cyclists & Equestrians Flyer and sent it to:

--The Silver Comet Depot bike store
--Bike Cobb.org
--Atlanta Cycling.com
--Atlanta Bike.org

Mr. Joe Seconder from Bike Cobb.org wrote back right away, promising to post it on the websites and did! http://www.bikecobb.org/horse-sct

He also recommended I send it off to Cobb County Goverment's "Safety Village." Doing that now.

I also have Rebecca from Atlanta Bike.org doing the same thing on their website shortly.

Soooo, maybe just maybe, the word will spread. Methinks I'll also approach Paulding DOT to see about posting signs at the bridges directing others to WAIT for Horses to Cross ;)


Leave it to Chocomare to get things going! :yes:

ChocoMare
Apr. 7, 2010, 10:02 AM
Thanks Alagirl ;)

Yay... Atlanta Bike.org posted it too: http://www.atlantabike.org/node/1594

Progress people...progress. :cool:

JollyBadger
Apr. 7, 2010, 11:14 AM
I went out to the barn late yesterday morning and saw that a friend/riding buddy's car was already there. She was out on trail, so once I tacked up my horse I texted her to see where she was riding, in case we could meet up somewhere. We ended up meeting a couple of hours away by the river, let the horses graze a bit and get a drink, then headed back to the barn together, with her mare in the lead. Ironically, we got on the topic of sharing trails with other users, and how different the interactions can be depending on the type of user (mountain bikers, road cyclists, experienced hikers, dog-mommies).

While we were on a nicer, dry, gravel section of the trail, two high school age guys suddenly came jogging around the bend toward us and my friend's usually-mellow mare balked a bit. My friend yelled to them to please stop for a second, and THEY KEPT COMING.

Had they stopped, even for a few seconds, it would have been enough for her to get her mare settled again. But they didn't say a word, didn't even move to the side, even as the mare spun and began running sideways down the trail. I was yelling at them, too. . .telling them it was a VERY good way to get themselves kicked.

The boys did not react at all. . .never an apology, never moved to the side, never stopped. My friend was able to regain control of her mare and the boys just jogged on by. Neither had shirts on, and they were not wearing ear buds. . .so unless they were both deaf, they were simply ignoring us.

It doesn't bother me to have to share trail. It does bother me when the trail users are inconsiderate, or just plain ignorant when it comes to sharing the trail (and that includes other horse people). Someone could have been seriously hurt yesterday. . .most likely, it would have been one of the boys. And, of course, it would have been reported as "two talented, athletic students were maliciously attacked by a crazy woman and her vicious horse while another rider verbally threatened the terrified young men.:rolleyes:"

The boys were both wearing the colors of a nearby school district, so I'm guessing they were both in one of the athletic programs. I am currently looking up the contact info for that school district's athletic director. Honestly, I think it's great that the park is in such an ideal location that their students can take advantage of the trails. At the same time, the coaches apparently need to have a talk with their athletes about the basics of trail etiquette.

Dramapony_misty
Apr. 7, 2010, 11:19 AM
HA! That's when you get after them on your horse (provided it is a calm sort) and demand their attention. :-P This would be especially funny if your horse was a cutter. Those boys could look like wee little cows ;-)

JollyBadger
Apr. 7, 2010, 01:26 PM
HA! That's when you get after them on your horse (provided it is a calm sort) and demand their attention. :-P This would be especially funny if your horse was a cutter. Those boys could look like wee little cows ;-)

I actually did "stalk" some boys on bikes a couple of years ago, when they blew past me from behind. Didn't spook my horse, but it pissed ME off. They didn't stop, of course. . .and found it amusing that they were able to "outrun" a horse. . .only to get caught up in a muddy, steep creek bank a few hundred yards up the trail.

My horse isn't big, and he's very sweet and easy to work with. Still, if he gets a little revved-up while I'm riding, he does what I call "huffy and puffy," where he really rounds his neck and pricks his ears and widens those big TWH eyes and seems to grow two full hands taller.

The same tough-guy teenage boys didn't seem to think it was as funny when the horse they just sped past came 'round the corner. . .eyes wide, nostrils flared, mane flowing, neck arched, front feet prancing.

One of them had the sense to realize that there was no way they'd get out of the creek before I got to them, so he said to his buddies "ummm. . .I think we should just let this lady just go by.":lol:

Badger nimbly scampered down the bank, through the creek and back up the other side, as I smiled "thanks, guys!" and rode away.:winkgrin:

JollyBadger
Apr. 7, 2010, 01:33 PM
I threw together an email, which I sent to the athletic director of the school district that I suspect the two boys were from. Actually, the first email I wrote, I lost. . .because my provider sucks and when I went to send the email I got a "your session has timed out" message. It was much better than the one I eventually sent. . .but I kind of lost steam when I had to write the whole thing over again.:mad:

Here goes:

My name is {Jolly Badger}, and frequently ride my horse on the trails at East Fork State Park. I am writing to you about an incident that took place on Tuesday, April 6 on a section of the Green Trail at East Fork, which may have involved a couple of students from one of your athletic programs. The only reason I suspect the young men were Batavia athletes is the fact that they were both wearing the dark green colors of the Batavia school district, though if my assumption is incorrect, I apologize. Still, I hope that by sharing this, it
might help keeping your athletes safe on multi-use trails.

A friend and I are both experienced horsewomen, each of us having more than twenty years "in the saddle" in the arena and on trail. Our horses are also both seasoned trail horses that log approximately 1000-1300 trail miles each year.

We were riding on the Green Trail that afternoon in single file, her horse in front of mine, when two young men appeared around the bend, jogging side-by-side towards us. Their swift movement and sudden appearance startled my friend's
usually-mellow horse. She asked them to please stop for a moment, but they continued to run straight toward her. The horse became more agitated, spun around and began running sideways on the trail. Again, my friend told the boys to please stop, but they ran right past her and the panicking horse.

Never once did they change their speed, nor did they move to the side of the trail or even change to single-file. In fact, they never said a word or even reacted to the repeated requests to stop or move to the side of the trail.

Aside from the fact that they were not following basic trail etiquette, they were putting themselves at risk for getting kicked. Both of our horses have steel shoes on all four feet, with Borium (tungsten carbide) tips for added traction. A horse that is frightened or feels "cornered" may kick out to defend itself, and a well-placed steel-shod hoof can do significant damage to skin, muscle, and even bone.

My friend's horse calmed down once the boys passed by, but we were both very frustrated by their behavior and total lack of basic trail etiquette. Just as motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians and cyclists on the road, pedestrians and cyclists are supposed to yield to equestrians on multi-use trails. This is not because equestrians think themselves "better" than anyone else. It is because horses are very large, very powerful animals and it is not always feasible (or safe) for a horse to step off to the side.

As I said, the main concern that prompted me to contact you is the safety issue. I don't want to single out the young athletes involved, nor do I want to get them into trouble, but I really don't think they realize just how easily they could have been injured.

Please feel free to share this information with the coaches in your athletic programs, especially those who use the trails at East Fork State Park as part of their training and exercise programs. By educating their students on trail etiquette for multi-use trails, they can not only ensure the safety of their own students, but also encourage them to be respectful of the other people who use those trails.

Thanks, and Happy Trails!

Huntertwo
Apr. 7, 2010, 03:23 PM
Nicely worded letter Jolly. Hopefully this will be passed along to the students.

Dramapony_misty
Apr. 7, 2010, 11:23 PM
*HEARTS* JollyBadger :D

I love it when you get all huffed up like that and so does your horse...makes you feel like even more of a team with a shared sense of purpose!

Nice letter too. It doesn't accuse the school of anything and reads like a great PSA. Hopefully the message will be passed on to keep their kids safe.

lcw579
Apr. 8, 2010, 09:34 AM
Reading these nice reasonable posts makes me think that these writers must be optimistic people who believe in people wanting to help each other and get along. How I wish that their world was the real world.
The real world is bikers screaming at a eight year old girl to clean up her horses mess and do it now or else , the real world is bikers racing up on horses tail and slamming on their brakes to scare the horses off the trail. The real world is bikers working together to run the equestrian off "their" trails. The real world is bikers playing "chicken" going down the middle of the 12 foot wide multi-use trail.
All of the above are true stories of the ATT "rail to trail" in NC.
Of course the majority of bikers are nice people who abide by the rules but there are to many nasty bikers who have ruined it. These bikers have also almost run over my leashed dog so they want everyone off the trail.
They have won as most horse people have stopped riding the ATT its just no fun to have to deal with the danger or aggravation from bikers. I have even been crowded off the trail while walking!
we must fight for separate trails for horses and walkers, the bikes need to be on there own trails .
The only way multi-use trails work is if they are used on separate days. The speed difference between a bike and horse makes the situation dangerous even if everyone is polite and follows the rules. What fun is it to ride a trail when you can't canter because of what may be coming at you that you can't see.
I give...................

Wow! If that kind of stuff really happens where you are it makes me thankful for having grown up riding in Valley Forge Park where people were always pretty respectful - and still have been on the few times I've been there recently.

Now I ride out in Radnor and other than some drivers not slowing down enough - but many more being kind enough to stop completely - I have to say we're really lucky.

People like you meet up with would make me want to take the sanest widest orneriest pony I know - one that would enjoy pissing people off - and just march down the middle all prancy and snorty and face all comers down. I had one as a kid that would have really enjoyed a game of chicken with some bikes. ;) But then I'm just contrary - tell me I can't do something and I want to all the more!



And mine is quite large! She's a Clydesdale/Standardbred Cross.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2576938350015305252cakkSQ

Chocomare - she's lovely and looks like she'd be perfect for that game of chicken!

JollyBadger - that was a great letter. I'd love to hear what kind of a response you get.

Ajierene
Apr. 8, 2010, 11:34 AM
It has been my experience that rude people are rude people and it has little to do with cyclist/dog walkers/etc. being rude to horses, but just rude.

I trail ride on Fair Hill often, as does my step-mom. She and people from her barn have had discussions with kids on bikes that are barreling down on them and do not seem to comprehend what 'right of way' means.

I also witnessed the true nature of rudeness. I was on a trail in the valley. The trail was wide enough to easily fit two, possibly three horses across. Making a right turn led you over a bridge. Straight ahead, at the curve, was a bike only trail up a hill. The trail is windy, but since it was winter, it was easy to see the trail. A group of about four bikers respectfully passed me on my horse (we moved over, as we were walking and hence the 'slower traffic'). As they were approaching a bike trail, you could see someone racing down the trail. Never looking up, he emerged onto the main trail and almost ran into the first two bikers of the group that had passed me. A bit of a talk ensued. I just continued on my way and shook my head at the narrow minded lone biker.

ChocoMare
Apr. 12, 2010, 02:33 PM
Welll, I can't say for certain, but during my 2 hour ride on Saturday, Penny and I were certainly treated with MUCH more respect and courtesy.

I went west this time, where I have to go under 2 roadway over passes, cross 4 bridges and go through a VERY dark tunnel. Each time, either the cyclists gave a good ON YOUR LEFT or waited for me to get through/over. Each one was thanked profusely by me! :yes:

For those that still hadn't quite gotten the message, I politely said "An ON YOUR LEFT is appreciated when passing." Most said "Oh, ok. Will do!"

I'm still waiting to hear from Georgia DOT and will be putting a call into my County's DOT office this week ;)

FancyASB
Apr. 12, 2010, 03:03 PM
A State Park in Orange County CA Right of Way Signage Equestrians, Hikers, Bicyclists. A friend and I were walking our horses on a dirt road about a lane and half wide talking within the Park when a bicyclist came up and rode between us, note room on left to pass. He actually tried to push my horse's head out of his way, she spun and knocked him to the ground. He ended up with his head under my horse and his legs under my friend's horse. His feet were in those peddle things so he was stuck. Luckily I had my horse park out (ASB) and my friend dismounted and held both horses. We waited a few seconds to let the horses settle down before I dismounted; we were afraid the horses might go off and dance on this idiot man laying in the dirt. We asked if he was alright and he said yes and we told him to be very quiet and still. I dismounted and some men came up and helped us to side pass our horses one at a time. There was no way this idiot could get up or out from under the horses until they were moved. Someone had called the Park Ranger and he showed up a few minutes after we got the horses moved but before the man got his feet untangled from the peddles and could get up. He had a few scapes but was ok. The Park Ranger took statements from us and witneses and the bike rider. The bike rider was given a citation for not yelding to the right of way and endangering persons and horses. I always think what could have happened...

ChocoMare
Apr. 12, 2010, 03:05 PM
WOW :eek: That could have been very ugly. :no: Kudos to the Ranger for writing him a ticket. Idjit!

JollyBadger
Apr. 12, 2010, 08:24 PM
The Park Ranger took statements from us and witneses and the bike rider. The bike rider was given a citation for not yelding to the right of way and endangering persons and horses. I always think what could have happened...

:eek:EEP!!:eek:

Seriously, what enters people's minds when they do stuff like that? Riding between two horses and trying to push the horse's head out of the way? Great to hear that the Park Ranger wrote the guy up, too.

After last week's incident with the two teenage joggers/runners, I posted a Facebook status update. Some of my non-horsey FB friends also use multi-use trails, and my update was simply a PSA-style reminder that horses have right of way on trails.

I also added that, if they do encounter a horse that is acting up/spooking, and the rider asks them to please stop what they are doing, park their bike/stroller for a moment, or step off to the side of the trail, it is not a case of the rider trying to be rude or bossy. It's because they want to be sure no one gets hurt!

Trakehner
Apr. 13, 2010, 06:48 AM
I had a teenager slap my horse on the butt when he rode his bike by...I grabbed him by hair and yanked him off his bike...and ripped him a new one. His parents just looked the other way.

Oh a happy note, in Washington DC, I saw an old lady stick her umbrella in the front wheel spokes of a bike courier riding where he shouldn't be (on the sidewalk). Nice sudden stop, crash and the old lady giving him hell for endangering real people.

HydroPHILE
Apr. 13, 2010, 11:08 AM
I had a teenager slap my horse on the butt when he rode his bike by...I grabbed him by hair and yanked him off his bike...and ripped him a new one. His parents just looked the other way.

Driving a horse and carriage in Helen, Georgia while in college...more than a few cars had gotten pops on the windshield with a horse whip when they started to merge over into the horse I was driving/coming over in front of my wheel or came up beside us and laid on the horn and then kept doing it when the horse would just turn his ears instead of freaking out like they hoped. Luckily, my horse, even for being the youngest guy out there, was virtually bombproof and had the mentality of, "do you realize how much damage I could do to your car, buddy?"

Alagirl
Apr. 13, 2010, 11:13 AM
A State Park in Orange County CA Right of Way Signage Equestrians, Hikers, Bicyclists. A friend and I were walking our horses on a dirt road about a lane and half wide talking within the Park when a bicyclist came up and rode between us, note room on left to pass. He actually tried to push my horse's head out of his way, she spun and knocked him to the ground. He ended up with his head under my horse and his legs under my friend's horse. His feet were in those peddle things so he was stuck. Luckily I had my horse park out (ASB) and my friend dismounted and held both horses. We waited a few seconds to let the horses settle down before I dismounted; we were afraid the horses might go off and dance on this idiot man laying in the dirt. We asked if he was alright and he said yes and we told him to be very quiet and still. I dismounted and some men came up and helped us to side pass our horses one at a time. There was no way this idiot could get up or out from under the horses until they were moved. Someone had called the Park Ranger and he showed up a few minutes after we got the horses moved but before the man got his feet untangled from the peddles and could get up. He had a few scapes but was ok. The Park Ranger took statements from us and witneses and the bike rider. The bike rider was given a citation for not yelding to the right of way and endangering persons and horses. I always think what could have happened...

Given the outcome could have been like sneaking in the open space next to a right turning semi, this dude got very VERY lucky! :eek:

Moesha
Apr. 13, 2010, 11:48 AM
I won't even use the trails here for biking in the daylight. There's nowhere safe from the horrors of family bikers who ride in duck lines, Lance Armstrong wanna-bes who think they are reasserting their manhood to get over their mid-life crisis, and menopausal banshees who are trying to make up for 40+ years of shitty living by power-walking in groups.

Wow, has to be one of the funniest things I have ever read on here! :)

CosMonster
Apr. 13, 2010, 01:54 PM
Reading this thread makes me glad that the land around here is too rough for any but the most dedicated cyclists--and they tend to be very aware of the rules, and very polite. :yes:

I've had to struggle not to be nervous around bikes ever since someone I was riding with was in a horrific accident--bucked into a tree--due to some idiot with earbuds in going way too fast around a mostly blind curve in a multi-use trail. We saw him through the trees and shouted at him to slow down but he couldn't hear us, and we tried to move off the trail as much as possible but there was nowhere really to go. He almost hit my friend's horse, who was normally good with bikes but panicked at that. My friend spent several days in the hospital and much longer doing rehab thanks to that jerk. He just kept going, too, and we never did find him. Probably didn't even notice he caused a wreck.

Luckydonkey
Apr. 13, 2010, 02:37 PM
I emailed the article that was posted in here early on to my brother- who in the last year or so has decided he is one of the greatest mountain bikers of all time...We ended up having quite the discussion over it, and he feels that if people can not control their horses then they should not ride them on multi-use trails....I told him if he did not like the horse poop, then he should stick to sidewalks, lol.

ChocoMare
Apr. 13, 2010, 02:40 PM
Just remind him of what is easier/greater to control:

a) a non-thinking, non-feeling, non-breathing Bicycle under the physical control of a thinking, feeling, breathing HUMAN capable of stopping it (the cycle) at a moment's notice...

or

b) a thinking, feeling, breathing, REACTIONARY 900-2,000 pound animal?

:winkgrin:

HydroPHILE
Apr. 13, 2010, 02:50 PM
b) a thinking, feeling, breathing, REACTIONARY 900-2,000 pound animal?

:winkgrin:

And reason b) is why my many motorcycle friends say they'd never ride a horse. They'd rather ride something that can't think for itself :)

Leather
Apr. 13, 2010, 03:50 PM
This past weekend I was riding in the park across the road from where I board.

I love the park due to the fact that there are no paved trails and no bikes are allowed.

My friend and I were at the trailhead on our horses chatting with some friends that also happened to be there.

We see this strange object coming up the driveway to the trailhead (it's about 1/3 mile long).

It's a guy walking a velomobile, which looks like this: http://www.recumbent-bikes-truth-for-you.com/images/Aerorider%20Side%20Closed.jpg

He brought the thing into the horse trailer parking area and leaned it up against a tree!

One of the people we were chatting with was on a green horse, who definitely took issue with this alien spaceship landing in the parking lot.

While he was courteous by walking the thing in rather than riding, we were rather perplexed as to what he was doing there anyway. (We left right after he parked it.)

Most likely he was taking a rest, but he could have parked the thing in the woods near the driveway entrance rather than bringing it up near the horses...

Alagirl
Apr. 13, 2010, 03:56 PM
And reason b) is why my many motorcycle friends say they'd never ride a horse. They'd rather ride something that can't think for itself :)


Nah, thay don't want to be outsmarted by a dumb animal.

FancyASB
Apr. 14, 2010, 01:14 AM
Many, many years ago I lost a high school friend due to high school boys playing a prank. We had gone for a trail ride and she had to ride about a mile to her house from mine. There was a two lane road and way off to the side was a small trail where she was riding her horse. Teenage boys came up behind her in their car and blew the horn several times. Her horse took off and she was thrown off and hit her head on the pavement and was killed instantly. Amazing her horse stopped and wouldn't leave her. The boys took off but witnesses got their license number. Her Mom called my house looking for her. My Dad went out to look for her and found the accident. My poor Dad lead the horse home and had to tell her Mom about the accident. The boys were located very quickly and found guilty of vehicular manslaughter/leaving the scene of an accident, etc and spent many years in prison. That accident left such an impression on me, I never forgot her...

ChocoMare
Apr. 14, 2010, 09:22 AM
Oh my :( :cry:

Luckydonkey
Apr. 14, 2010, 11:21 AM
This past weekend I was riding in the park across the road from where I board.

I love the park due to the fact that there are no paved trails and no bikes are allowed.

My friend and I were at the trailhead on our horses chatting with some friends that also happened to be there.

We see this strange object coming up the driveway to the trailhead (it's about 1/3 mile long).

It's a guy walking a velomobile, which looks like this: http://www.recumbent-bikes-truth-for-you.com/images/Aerorider%20Side%20Closed.jpg

He brought the thing into the horse trailer parking area and leaned it up against a tree!

One of the people we were chatting with was on a green horse, who definitely took issue with this alien spaceship landing in the parking lot.

While he was courteous by walking the thing in rather than riding, we were rather perplexed as to what he was doing there anyway. (We left right after he parked it.)

Most likely he was taking a rest, but he could have parked the thing in the woods near the driveway entrance rather than bringing it up near the horses...

Iwould have taken it as an opportunity to show my horse that it was nothing to be scared of....and walked my horse up so it could get a closer look and a sniff....

PRS
Apr. 14, 2010, 11:55 AM
Many, many years ago I lost a high school friend due to high school boys playing a prank. We had gone for a trail ride and she had to ride about a mile to her house from mine. There was a two lane road and way off to the side was a small trail where she was riding her horse. Teenage boys came up behind her in their car and blew the horn several times. Her horse took off and she was thrown off and hit her head on the pavement and was killed instantly. Amazing her horse stopped and wouldn't leave her. The boys took off but witnesses got their license number. Her Mom called my house looking for her. My Dad went out to look for her and found the accident. My poor Dad lead the horse home and had to tell her Mom about the accident. The boys were located very quickly and found guilty of vehicular manslaughter/leaving the scene of an accident, etc and spent many years in prison. That accident left such an impression on me, I never forgot her...

Wow...so sad. People just don't THINK. I'd bet that those boys never thought that their stupid stunt could cost that girl her life. It absolutely infuriates me when people do stupid stuff like that though. My friend and I were riding alongside a road a couple of weeks ago when a man honked his horn while approaching from behind. He wasn't somebody that either of us knows and we were well off the road with a ditch between us and the road and a farm field on the other side. We don't know why he honked his horn...maybe he wanted to see some action :confused:

JollyBadger
Apr. 14, 2010, 01:17 PM
Wow...so sad. People just don't THINK. I'd bet that those boys never thought that their stupid stunt could cost that girl her life. It absolutely infuriates me when people do stupid stuff like that though. My friend and I were riding alongside a road a couple of weeks ago when a man honked his horn while approaching from behind. He wasn't somebody that either of us knows and we were well off the road with a ditch between us and the road and a farm field on the other side. We don't know why he honked his horn...maybe he wanted to see some action :confused:

I think some jerks do that because they DO want to see some action. The nearby park has a section of trail that runs parallel to the park road, and it's not uncommon for local-yokels to actually speed up, revv their engines, peel out, honk their horns, etc. when they see a horse on that trail.

Funny thing about it, though, is that it's such a common occurance that most of the people who ride the park regularly are used to it, and so are their horses. . .so it really doesn't have the "desired" effect. People who do that are, IMO, just losers and cowards who would actually be terrified if confronted by someone on horseback while they were on foot.

Two friends of mine were on that trail at one point last year when a car tried doing that to her. . .she actually started chasing the car, yelling that she was going to kick their @$$ (she has a short fuse). My other friend, a guy in his sixties who looks like he stepped right out of an old Western, added "yeah, and I'll hold her horse while she does it!":lol:

CosMonster
Apr. 14, 2010, 05:45 PM
If it was just a polite honk as he was approaching you from behind, it may have been a misguided attempt to warn you. I've had people do that to me.

Of course there are definitely those jerks who just want to spook the horses.

xeroxchick
Apr. 14, 2010, 06:22 PM
Iwould have taken it as an opportunity to show my horse that it was nothing to be scared of....and walked my horse up so it could get a closer look and a sniff....

Oh, brilliant. I love it when people make a deal out of unfamiliar things and have to "show" it to their horse.

Luckydonkey
Apr. 14, 2010, 07:03 PM
Oh, brilliant. I love it when people make a deal out of unfamiliar things and have to "show" it to their horse.

And why is that a problem?

Hampton Bay
Apr. 15, 2010, 12:26 AM
Heck, I've had my NEIGHBORS drive down the driveway that goes by my pasture, honk, scream out the windows, swerve, etc. Then they floored it backwards and did it all again! Luckily my horses just stood there and stared at them like they were insane. Their dad is very very nice and respectful of livestock, and when we have had other issues with his kids he has always been easy to deal with. Like when his 22-yo daughter hit the fence while drunk one night, let all the horses out, and then just left and went home.

tabula rashah
Apr. 15, 2010, 09:15 AM
And why is that a problem?

Was wondering the same thing myself?

HydroPHILE
Apr. 15, 2010, 09:48 AM
Nah, thay don't want to be outsmarted by a dumb animal.

Oh they know darn well how intelligent horses are....they're just scared of them. They can road race (legal road racing on a track,) but they're scared of horses :)

sublimequine
Apr. 15, 2010, 11:37 AM
On the subject of cars, I used to live in the suburbs of Chicago, where the vast majority of people have probably never touched a horse in their life, let alone understand how horses work. My barn had awesome trails, but you had to cross a street to get to them. Often times people would honk their horns at us.. then wave hello. They had NO IDEA that honking was a bad idea, they just wanted to say hi to the pretty horsey I guess. :lol:

Now the people that revved their engines past us.. they got a firm fist-shaking and a few obscenities hollered at them. :o

I'm glad to be living out in a rural area now.. the people on these back country roads at least understand how large prey animals think! They slow down, cut it waaaaaaaaay wide around us, or if they see the horse is dancing or being nervous, they will actually come to a complete stop behind us and wait until a rider waves them by. It's great. :)

Lady Counselor
Apr. 15, 2010, 01:42 PM
A couple of years ago, I would have throttled a bicycle rider with my bare hands if I could have gotten ahold of his scrawny little spandexed neck.
I was riding back home after a trail ride on a quiet, two lane road. Now my guy is OK with cars, motorcycles, bicycles, dogs, baby joggers, cows, pigs, people with strange hats on, you name it.

What he wasn't ok with was getting snuck up on.

The a**hole came up from directly behind us, no warning, no sound, probably doing about 25mph. There wasn't a single car to be seen or heard on this stretch.

I heard a faint noise behind me, turned my head to see what it was in time to see this flash of yellow off my horse's hip, like 1' off his hip! (WHY do all the yuppies wear yellow? They all dress up like they are pretending to lead the Tour de France!)

Anyway, my guy heard it at the same time I saw it, and he panicked and jumped 10' straight sideways. We went off a small drop onto someone's yard. Thankfully, there wasn't anything in the way, nor did he do that much damage to the guy's yard.

I was royally pissed. That was one of the most boneheaded, ignorant moves I've seen. This dipstick had the entire lane to himself, heck the entire road, and could have been in the middle of it instead of all the way over to the edge where we were. It was like he wanted to deliberately buzz us.

My guy would have been ok if the bike was a little further away. And for sure he would have been fine if he could have turned his head and seen him before he got to us. But he never got a chance to be warned.

Thank God he's not a kicker. Old "Lance" would have gone for one hell of a ride..
asshat

leilatigress
Apr. 15, 2010, 01:57 PM
I actually have a sign that hangs on the back of my saddle over his tail that says "Beware I kick". But I also have the luxury of riding a horse that used to be used as a carriage horse. He would never kick but most people see that and either ask me if it's true (cluing me in they are close) or give me a wide berth. Now I do have to reach back and get the sign out of the way when he wants to poop but other than that it just sits there and he's used to it so it doesn't bug him. When I do have enough space for a good canter I remove the sign and stash it in my trail bag. If you can get your horse to tolerate it you might try that and I will happily post my template of the sign and take pics of him wearing it. Now if I can just convince my dogs not to chase the bikers we'd be good.

AppendixQHLover
Apr. 15, 2010, 02:07 PM
I just read all this. I would say that the majority of the bicyclists are decent there are just a few that have the nick name Richard Cranium.

I ride both mountain and road bikes. When on the trail I will stop and get off my bike. The horses go past me and i wait a bit before continuing on. When going the same direction of the horse I will say really loud cyclist back here. Most of the time the rider will stop and turn the horse around to look at me.

On the road I will say the same thing.

I would never ever pass a horse without saying anything.

On the bike trails I dread riding there. The people with baby carriage, multiple walkers, and so on have no courtesy at all. I yell on your left and they just totally ignore me. I yell a little louder...ON YOUR LEFT still ignore me. Finally I just get up right behind them and ride REALLY slow. They get the hint and move. One did ask me why I doing it. UM..because the 4 times I yelled on your left you ignored me and I caught up.

stryder
Apr. 15, 2010, 02:25 PM
Friend of a friend (FOF) was running on a trail that's commonly used by horses. FOF was not on horseback.

Cyclist crested a hill, at fairly high speed, approaching her. They collided. Cyclist's helmet crushed into FOF's skull. FOF was taken to our trauma hospital, and then put into a coma while brain swelling subsided. She's now in intensive rehab, learning to walk, talk, etc. She remembers nothing of the collision.

Cyclist maintains FOF jumped out in front of him. Other people think they both moved into the other's path, instead of instinctively moving to their own right.

Many of the trails around here are shared, at least part of the way. My barn friends have met real jerks on the local shared trail. But many, many of them are reasonable and courteous.

Another friend is both a cyclist and a rider, and belongs to a large cyclist user group at a large employer. She's worked hard to educate cyclists about the unpredictability of horses, and in the event of a horse/cyclist collision, the cyclist will lose.

So sad, on all fronts, when people can't get along and share limited resources.

elysian*fields*farm
Apr. 15, 2010, 04:58 PM
After reading most of the posts on this thread, I worry there will be soon be no place safe to ride or drive except in private arenas, on private property or at or a few dedicated publicly-funded equestrian centers.

In fact, there are no public trails for horses close to me. The closest ones are about an hour and a half away in Mississippi. There are trails on the levee and around town in Baton Rouge, but they are for cyclists and walkers only-- no horses allowed even though they wee built with everyone's tax dollars.

I have to agree with the poster who mentioned that many trail riders are just ordinary folks who have ordinary horses whom we spend all of our disposable income on to keep.

Louisiana law does allow horses on roads that are not state highways, so I often ride right here in town-- right along side the walkers, cyclists, motorbikers and, of course, car and truck drivers. Well, maybe NOT right along side, but I do use the same public roads.

For the most part everyone is courteous, and since this is a rural town, many people have at least some knowledge of horse behavior-- but not everyone.

I also agree with the poster who wrote that rude people are rude wether they are walking, riding, cycling or driving. When you go out among other people you will meet all kinds.

Most people, I think, are afraid of horses because they are so large. Most people do their best to aviod coming up suddenly close to my horse. And I try to avoid coming up suddenly on walkers, cycilists or other riders.

But I have had a few close calls myself. I have had teenaged boys deliberately try to spook my horse by honking their vehicle horns or hanging out the windows, yelling and flailing their arms-- even beating on the sides of their vehicles.

I did have one cyclist crowd me on a wooden bridge (not a covered bridge) while passing from behind. I guess he was afraid of meeting a speeding motorist head-on cresting the hill around the curve just past the bridge, so he tried to pass while staying as far to the right as possible. Actually, all of the streets and roads in town are narrow and no one is supposed to try to pass nyone going in the same direction while on one of the bridges because of this-- but oh, well.

But my pet peeve are the people in town who ignore the leash laws and allow their dogs to roam free, or walk them off-leash.

Just last Sunday, I had a most unnerving and awful experienced caused by a loose dog. One of my neighbors has suddenly come into possession of a rather large full-grown Jack Russell Terrier. I say this because three weeks ago, there was no such dog on this street, so I assume they "adopted" theis dog recently.

Anyway, I was driving my horse Betty and buggy-- it was such a lovly day and all the azaleas are were at their very best, so I headed down the street for an afternoon drive.

Without any warning, this brown and white "bullet" shot out of their yard and began trying to bite my horse's legs while barking furiously. I mean that little dog was running in and snapping right under my horse, while it's apparent little boy owner called plaintively, "Rascal, come back" over and over, but made no move to actually come out to catch it.

This "attack" continued well past their property as we went on down the street. I did not yell, and that dog stayed well out of whip reach-- I really would have popped him even in front of his owner, if I could have reached him.

Well, you would think that after that, the dog would have bee restrained or locked up or something, becvause shurely my neighbors realized that if I went down the street, I would be returning up the street to come home.

But NO!!! On the return, once again this terror lept out and bagan its attack. It wa worse and more agressive this time. At one point "Rascal" grabbed my horses pastern from the rear. Betty actually lifted her hind leg up and that thing clung to her pastern until she was able to shake it loose. Did that stop it? No, after it flew through the air, and hit the ground, it just shook the dirt off and attacked again.

Once again, the boy about 10 or so just stood there calling, "Rascal, come back!" Rascal, just ignored him as before.

I tried to speed Betty up, but he just kept weaving in and out of her legs snapping-- I didn't want to run him over with the buggy in front of a child (Where were his parents? Surely hey could hear all this commotion?):eek:

That dog chased me almost all the way home, and when he finally did turn to go home, and passed me, I did give him a pop (just one pop) with the whip end hoping it would discourage him in the future.

Well, you guessed it, I bet. J was in the middle of unharnessing Betty when a truck pulled into my driveway-- Rascal's owner's father had come to let me know he would report me for cruelty to animals if I evern hit his son's dog again. He said his kid had been traumatized by seeing me hit his "little dog for chasing that big ole horse that he could not hurt if he wanted to.":confused:

After telling him how dangerous the whole situation was for me and my horse-- not to mention the "harmless" little dog, well, I made some threats, too. I told him if it happened again, I would dial 911 and report a visious dog attack in progress.

I did inspect Betty for wounds-- that little dog had some pretty big sharp teeth. Luckily, I think he was mostly hanging on to some of her winter hair at the back of her pastern that one time he had managed to get a grip. I didn't see any bleeding or puncture wounds. I put some linament on just in case it was bruised.

But like I said at the beginning of my post, I am afraid that soon there will not be any place safe to ride or drive a horse. :(

ChocoMare
Apr. 16, 2010, 08:01 AM
How scary for you Ely! :eek:

Falconfree
May. 1, 2010, 02:51 AM
And the problem riders of the motorized stuff is by and large the younger kids, not the adults. Those are usually plite enough to try to keep things safe when they see horses. The kids...they think it's hilarious to try to chase you or spook the horses.

Agreed many times over! We only ever used one trail, because it was across the street from the boarding barn and usually it was very empty. This is when I was about 14. Went on a trail ride one day and these three 9-12 years old (I'm not great at estimating ages) boys on an ATV thought it would be hilarious to ride right at me, even though the trail was huge. Thankfully, my mare sort of kept her head and I managed to get her off the trail and into the trees where they couldn't easily follow. This went down twice more on different days with the same kids. I was angry, but I didn't know them from Adam so I didn't know what to do.

Until the day I was schooling in the pasture by the road and the boys rode by several times and disappeared for a while. Then they drove up and two of them started shooting at my mare with BB guns. Literally, shooting AT her, and hitting her too! She freaked, of course, and it was all I could do to haul her into one of the smaller pastures farther from the road to calm her down. Thankfully, BO's hubby was working in the shed by the barn so he made sure we were alright, then took off after them. Mare was fine, just shaken up. BO's hubby chased the boys home and said he had a talk with their parents. He wouldn't ever tell me who they were (probably a good thing too!), just that it was taken care of. Guess it was, because I never saw them again.

CatOnLap
May. 2, 2010, 10:49 AM
The narrow bridge scenario freaks one of my horses out every time because of the cyclist who tried to cross a narrow bridge immediately behind us, sending the horse into a panic that ended up with him unseating his rider and nearly breaking his nose...

Don't get me started. Oops TOO LATE!

-The jogger who punched my horse in the shoulder as hard as she could as she approached on a narrow trail to try and shove him off the trail at a bottleneck instead of waiting 3 seconds for me to pass through the narrow bit. Of course, horses move into pressure and she ended up sandwiched between his shoulder and a tree.
-the jogger who grabbed my boot to steady himself as he passed me on my horse from behind, earning him a reflexive kick from me to free my foot and and a "budge" from my horse who of course, moved towards him to be under my weight as he grabbed my boot- because we weren't going fast enough for him on a narrow trail. He was mad at losing his balance and falling off the trail
-the cyclist who came barrelling down a straight hill at about 30 mph and had to ditch his bike into the blackberries when he turned the corner and almost ran straight into me and a novice rider on another horse- both horses were too surprised to spook as he crashed. And who yelled that we shouldn't be riding side by side. Uh, buddy? The posted rules say you are supposed to slow down or stop for horses and pedestrians.
- the cyclist who came up behind me on a steep rocky narrow forest trail on his bike so that my horse actually sat on his bike and bent the front wheel and forks- and then tried to claim I should pay for his broken bike. Hey buddy, YOU crashed into ME- let me see your driver's licence so I can claim the vet bill- and who took off carrying his bike through the bushes when I suggested that.

The idiots who ride their minibikes in a nature preserve where no motorized vehicles are allowed- who got so mad when I followed them at full gallop to their driveway outside the preserve and called the police on my cell phone. I think one of those guys actually lost their licence for operating an unlicenced vehicle on the short bit of road that connects their place to the preserve.

The one who tried to tell me that horses were not allowed on the park trails, until I pointed out that I personally had helped build those trails more than 20 years ago...

@ssh@ats are everywhere!

AlfalfaGirl
May. 2, 2010, 03:19 PM
Idiot abound everywhere! Where we ride is an equestrian park so I have encountered walkers but no bikes. :winkgrin:

It is hard to believe people are so stupid as to push a horses head, push their shoulders going by them. They don't know that horse from Adam's house cat and they could seriously end up injured and have no one to blame but themselves. I would be seriously PO'ed if some one shoved Red's head and caused ME to get hurt (I am a sissy).

I was sorry to hear about the death of the teenager and I myself, have experienced that. When I was 13 and in the Rainbow Girls (girl's branch of Mason's and Easter Star's) one of the officers was a girl a year older than me from the side by side town next to ours. She was riding double behind her friend and the friend's brother came up on his motorcycle and revved the engine. Horse reared up and Vicky fell off hitting her head. She died at 14 years old from someone being silly around a horse. My kids went to the same middle school she did and there is a plaque in the foyer with her name on it and when she died. How sad is that?

Everyone needs to play nice on the trails and remember they aren't the only ones and that their actions could cause the injury or even death of another.

Falconfree
May. 2, 2010, 11:33 PM
Don't get me started. Oops TOO LATE!

I love that your horse "got even" with the idiots in your stories.

Trakehner
May. 3, 2010, 06:51 AM
I was riding my horse on the C&O Canal towpath. A guy came by with a kayak on his shoulder (no problem) and when he was next to us he banged on the bottom, my horse spooked into him, knocking the idiot into the canal proper. His friends gave him hell for being such a jerk.

I usually find women are better about being total weenies near horses, my guess is they've ridden in the past and have some experience with the beasts...the worst of the worst have all been males on bikes....I've been lucky, the 4x4 riders and the motorcyclists have most been great (I don't know if being a guy rider makes a difference).

Zwarte
May. 3, 2010, 10:17 AM
One place to check out for riding possibilities are state Wildlife Management Areas.

There is one near my house that is used for Field Trials and so provides free trailer parking (with water and electricity), stables, kennels etc.

It has 5000 acres with a fence all the way around the perimeter and no cross fencing. Motorized vehicles must stay to gravel roads. Nobody bikes there.

The best part is the welcoming attitude of the staff. During field trial season (winter) the place is booked up on weekends so it is best to check in first.

edited to add: the area is closed for hunting about 3 weekends a year. It is a favorite area for birdwatchers.

Huntertwo
May. 3, 2010, 11:02 AM
I've been lucky, the 4x4 riders and the motorcyclists have most been great (I don't know if being a guy rider makes a difference).

In the state forest where I ride, I've found the most courteous are the 4x4 off roaders and the dirt bikers.

The off roaders always slow down and pull off to the side and I always thank them.

I was out on the trails about a month ago and heard a dirt bike heading down the trail toward us pretty fast. Soon as he saw me, he stopped his engine and took off his helmet. :)

GotGait
May. 3, 2010, 12:52 PM
I was riding my horse on the C&O Canal towpath. A guy came by with a kayak on his shoulder (no problem) and when he was next to us he banged on the bottom, my horse spooked into him, knocking the idiot into the canal proper. His friends gave him hell for being such a jerk.


Awesome. :lol:
The people on the Canal are in a league of their own. I don't even ride on it when it's nice out anymore.