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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Default WWYD? Road riding in the dark?

    Road riding in the dark: Safe, or no?

    We're talking relatively back roads, not a ton of traffic - I saw maybe a dozen cars in an hour or so, mid-afternoon, and never more than one at a time (no cars trying to pass in opposite directions).

    If properly decked out in reflective gear and lights, a la cyclist-style, do you think it would be safe to ride a few times a week either at sunrise or just after dusk? I'm facing some difficult decisions and financially won't be able to afford to haul to an arena more than about once a week until I either get a raise or a better job (or one with different hours). I've got studs and can do some light work in our field, but the road is nice for long walks and trot sets (we live just a hair under 2 miles from town in a straight line).

    Thoughts? I don't mind getting rained on at all. I just don't want to get hit by a car! Cyclists ride on the road after dark all the time, right?
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
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    I think with the proper reflective gear it would be okay. I would learn all the spots where you could safely get off the road in case you needed to. I use to have to ride to lessons (it was dusk on the way home) but I was able to ride far enough off the road to feel safe.
    Dawn

    Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
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    120

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    I only do it if I know there's going to be room for me to get a few feet off the pavement almost all the way. If there are places along the way where I can't do that, I just have to stop, look, listen, then hurry on past the bad spot.

    Some drivers won't give you an inch even if it's a back road with no traffic.

    BE CAREFUL



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2002
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    I would not do this unless it was absolutely necessary.

    I thought nothing of hacking on the road at dusk until a mare I was riding slipped on unseen black ice, did the splits, snapped her elbow and had to be put down.

    In this day, it's too dangerous. People know nothing of horses and drive much too fast. Even with all the high-viz in the world, an ignorant redneck can KILL you. I was lucky. I just lost a horse.

    Wait until it gets lighter in the spring and meanwhile hack in your field and save roading for weekends in daylight.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Dec. 17, 2012
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    Default

    ^^ best advice. LOL



  6. #6
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    Apr. 2, 2009
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    North Carolina
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    I don't ride ON the road. I will ride on a shoulder if it is wide enough that I am in the grass on the other side of a ditch with plenty of room between me and traffic. But on the road itself? I think I would have grave concerns about being hit or horse slipping.



  7. #7
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    Dec. 17, 2012
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    I should have made it clear that it's mostly DIRT roads that I ride on. Sometimes I just have to cross or go a very short distance on a paved road.



  8. #8
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    And I should have clarified - this is a straight, flat, 2 mile long stretch of road that takes you to a 25mph zone and then a stoplight in town. No hills, no corners, not crowned at all, 35mph speed limit - it is right near a newer residential neighborhood, so not the crazy 65mph+ drivers of your typical "back road". There is a shoulder in some spots, driveways and such that I can get off the road if need be, although I can see & be seen from a pretty far distance anyway.

    I just came in from a quick ~3 mile jaunt down and back and encountered maybe 10 cars? All passed reasonably respectfully, and the big horse pays no mind to them anyway. The ones that slow way, way down actually cause more trouble than those that just continue on by. I live in an agricultural town, where the Circle K even has hitching posts. Mr. Heinz works at one of the grocery stores in town and I really wish they'd put in a hitching post - I'd happily take the horse grocery shopping.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
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    One time a dog came out of a field and started barking and my horse swung around and was in the road before I knew it.

    I just think you need to be EXTREMELY cautious and always expect the unexpected. Something WILL happen. For me it's extremely difficult to enjoy riding, much less get anything accomplished, under such circumstances.



  10. #10
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtph View Post
    One time a dog came out of a field and started barking and my horse swung around and was in the road before I knew it.

    I just think you need to be EXTREMELY cautious and always expect the unexpected. Something WILL happen. For me it's extremely difficult to enjoy riding, much less get anything accomplished, under such circumstances.
    Horse is dog broke, gun broke, car broke, weather broke... my biggest concern is being visible to cars so we don't get hit, frankly. I know today was daylight, but we practiced leg yeilds and shoulder in and medium-free-medium walks and pretty much everything else we do in our regular rides at a walk/trot with the exception of circles, and even those can be done 10m at a time if I'm really feeling ambitious.

    I'm going to think on it some more, and pay closer attention when I drive it tonight on my way to the store for blind spots and other low-vis issues.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  11. #11
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    Aug. 30, 2011
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    Massachusetts
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    Default

    I would think sunrise would be safer than sunset, less people drunk at 6 am than 6 pm. Get one of the reflective quarter sheets, Horze makes one that has a reflective shoulder guard too.


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  12. #12
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    Feb. 28, 2006
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    The rocky part of KY
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    I got into huge trouble with the parents for riding in the pitch black back in the day. So much trouble that they sprang for the difference between lessons on my horse and a school horse and gave me rides in the car. However, that being said, I used to ride the fire roads and trails around my house in the pitch black all the time, no car traffic to speak of. Horses see fine in the dark.

    Now, we get less than twenty cars go by here every day and if it were a two lane road and dirt or one lane with big shoulders I'd go road riding a lot more - but I don't like the pavement and no shoulder. There's like three feet of ditch and trash and nasty barbed wire fence at the edge, and in some spots the pavement just drops right off to nothing, no shoulder at all - and there have been a fair number of cars getting in single car accidents due to that. The other thing is that the UPS lady and the Fed Ex guy drive like maniacs and they're the scary ones. For some reason it's also really hard to hear a car coming - there's far away background freeway and train noise and lots of wind in the trees and creek noises - a real pain when I'm walking the dog and throwing sticks for him so he's off the leash.

    Totally your call - I really like the availability of good high visibility gear nowadays and if you have good lines of sight and plenty of room then go for it.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  13. #13
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    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
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    I'd actually be more worried about drunks at 6 am than 6 pm since they're probably coming home/back from wherever they were. I'd even put flashing bicycle lights on you and/or your horse. That way you can still be seen if there arent head lights.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 25, 2007
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    1,435

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heinz 57 View Post
    Road riding in the dark: Safe, or no?

    We're talking relatively back roads, not a ton of traffic - I saw maybe a dozen cars in an hour or so, mid-afternoon, and never more than one at a time (no cars trying to pass in opposite directions).

    If properly decked out in reflective gear and lights, a la cyclist-style, do you think it would be safe to ride a few times a week either at sunrise or just after dusk? I'm facing some difficult decisions and financially won't be able to afford to haul to an arena more than about once a week until I our field, but the road is nice for long walks and trot sets (we live just a hair under 2 miles from town in a straight line).
    either get a raise or a better job (or one with different hours). I've got studs and can do some light work in
    Thoughts? I don't mind getting rained on at all. I just don't want to get hit by a car! Cyclists ride on the road after dark all the time, right?

    Cyclists do it all the time.

    ======================================


    Yes they do and they get hit all the time.

    Dusk and dawn are the worst times.

    If you are riding to the west at dusk, the driver coming up behind you will be blinded by the sun and if the wind shield has the smallest amount of dirt on it, road oil, bugs, etc., he is blinded.

    Same going to the east at dawn.

    Has your horse ever shied? What if something in the ditch makes him shy into the road?

    70 years ago, it was not dangerous. Today, it is.

    There must be a small field close by where you can simulate riding in a ring.

    Find one.



  15. #15
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    Jun. 1, 2002
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    Indiana
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    Default

    I don't have any advice either way, but the Europeans are excellent with their reflective gear, and Horze has a TON of it.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2011
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    469

    Default

    You may have clear sight lines, but it won't to you a darn bit of good if the drivers aren't looking at the road. Give some thought to the number of people texting and driving, then decide if it's worth the risk of being hit by one of them.

    Though honestly, it sounds like you've made up you're mind to do it and are just looking for validation.
    Last edited by Snugglerug; Dec. 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM. Reason: typo


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
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    18,472

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    I understand why you are considering it but I would ask you to consider how catastrophic a wreck involving a car, a horse and a human can be. I have seen a horse hit by a car twice - once with a rider, once without. None of them survived. Luckily the drivers were ok but when you consider the damage a deer can do, imagine a horse going through a windshield? I dont think the risk coukd possibly be worth the gain. Please be careful.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2012
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    689

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    I'm nervous as hell when doing it in broad daylight, on virtually empty country roads. I have my head on a swivel the whole time.

    There is absolutely no way I would even consider doing it near dawn, dusk, or during night time.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by cssutton View Post

    There must be a small field close by where you can simulate riding in a ring.

    Find one.
    Your optimism is inspiring. However, I live in something reminiscent of a swamp right now. Very, very flat valley, all hay fields that are currently partially under water - no riding allowed. My own back yard is turning into a muck hole and my pasture is quickly becoming unrideable. It's been a very rainy fall and early winter and the creek that runs through our property overflowed, putting over half our property under 1'+ of water. A friend has an outdoor that I can haul to, however she will only allow it to be used when it's not pouring (fat chance here in Oregon!). Once or twice a month if I'm lucky.

    Snugglerug, I haven't made up my mind yet, and frankly don't require the validation of a bunch of internet strangers to do or not do something. I was interested in hearing others' thoughts on the idea and am talking it out. I may give it a try sometime this week to see how it goes, if I feel safe or not. I appreciate everyone's concern and didn't realize that, for some people, riding on the roads was so very very taboo. It's not really a big deal around these parts.

    This is not a spooky horse. The worst he does is eye the cows and puff up across the bridge over the creek - road lines, dogs, sheep, cars, big diesel trucks, funny looking stuff, puddles, garbage, street signs, gunshots, play structures, junk, running water, none of that bothers him. He's a lazy, nearly 15 year old OTTB. I would never consider this on a different horse. My biggest concern would be staying visible to drivers - flashing lights, reflective gear, whatever is necessary.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2007
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    Virginia
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    I wouldn't. Not near dusk or dawn. Nor any other time unless with all the precautions mentioned and a sense that the drivers in your area will be used to horse traffic, which I guess is possible since you mentioned the hitching posts.
    "However complicated and remarkable the rest of his life was going to be, it was here now, come to claim him."- JoAnn Mapson



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