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Bog bridges on equestrian trails

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  • #21
    Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
    We have tons of bridges like the one pictured in Morgansercu's post. I cross at least a couple every time I ride. The main problem I have with them here in the swampy/humid mid-Atlantic, is that grow that slippery moss/mildew film on them when it's damp (which is like all the time) and if you add that to cold weather- you get icy, slippery mildew. I have ridden some of the bog bridges that were clearly okay for horses but in general, I'd stay off them
    Where I live and ride we have to be super-careful not to rip up the trails and get equestrians banned. So we have to use the equestrian bridges, stay off the trails if they're super-wet, etc.

    One thing I have seen done to the bridges is adding 1"x1"x 8' long (or whatever the width of the bridge) or 2"x2" pieces about 8 inches apart the length of the bridge. That way there is a little stop if a horse should slip but it's not so high that people are likely to trip on them.


    • #22
      We have a fair number of bridges, high and low, on our equestrian-only trail systems. Some are plain wood, and some are either covered with shingles for grip, or painted with sand/paint mix.
      Patience pays.


      • #23
        Originally posted by Melissa.Van Doren View Post
        We have a fair number of bridges, high and low, on our equestrian-only trail systems. Some are plain wood, and some are either covered with shingles for grip, or painted with sand/paint mix.
        How awesome to have dedicated bridle paths. Do riding groups have to maintain them or does the county/town/whatever? In my area, we would be losing trails if we hadn't started TROT years ago and more recently teamed up with mountain bikers.


        • #24
          Bridges are one thing. Bog bridges are another thing. When I googled what a bog bridge is (because I had not heard the term) I learned that it is not just any old bridge, it is a bridge built a certain way. Typically no sides, very narrow with a gap between the two boards.


          • #25
            Originally posted by MorganSercu View Post

            How awesome to have dedicated bridle paths. Do riding groups have to maintain them or does the county/town/whatever? In my area, we would be losing trails if we hadn't started TROT years ago and more recently teamed up with mountain bikers.
            If you are part of TROT we must be fairly locale
            Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?


            • #26
              Originally posted by MorganSercu View Post

              How awesome to have dedicated bridle paths. Do riding groups have to maintain them or does the county/town/whatever? In my area, we would be losing trails if we hadn't started TROT years ago and more recently teamed up with mountain bikers.
              The trails wind through the private farms and conservation easement lands in our very horsey area. Maintenance is done by dedicated volunteers under the guidance of a "trail boss". We are very lucky here.
              Patience pays.


              • #27
                Originally posted by Rondar View Post
                Thanks for this anecdote, Rider. Clearly bog bridges should not be used where a misstep off to the side mires a horse in 4' of muck.
                To clarify: it only became 3-4' of muck after the horse thrashed its way into being literally bogged down. Knowing the location, I would have guessed the horse would sink to its knees at worst and be able to pull itself out again. Even the creek running through at the other end was only 2'. But it's a bog. It has no real base. It was a very wet year, so maybe it was softer than usual, but again, bog, by definition = soft. You're not stepping into a puddle or some mud with clay underneath. You stop when your weight has distributed enough goo to the side and compressed enough goo underneath you to stop you. (Very scientific wetland terms, I assure you.)

                The picture in the paper was a horse buried in mud to its chest, as the rider held the exhausted horse's nose out of the mud. The rider is sitting cross-legged on top of the bog, the tops of her legs showing, because she's lighter and not struggling, so she's not sinking. The surrounding firefighters are muddy to the tops of their boots, because they're heavier and moving around. None of them are buried the way the horse is. Wish I could find that image, but I threw out my copy. Too dark for me.

                So, again, I would not ride my horse into a bog and expect a 3' width of wood to be enough protection against a slip or a shy, and I certainly wouldn't think something sized wide enough for a pedestrian is going to gracefully accept the weight of a horse. Of course, the bog bridges where I am from are 50' to 300' long. Not inviting. Bogs are big and you've got to make it from one end to the other and there's no solid ground to be found beyond the narrow, typically slick wood you're standing on. The image in the conversation above, of the wide bridge crossing what looks like a ditch or creek - those are used in the equestrian parks around here. Spent a summer training my horse to cross them slowly, and now I use them without question. Have still seen some untrained horses try to jump off the side. So the moral is really to train your horse before you put it into a new situation...

                One thing I haven't seen mentioned - have you checked to see if the bog bridge is intended for equestrian use? Our bog bridges banned even bikes. You can turn sideways and pass another pedestrian, but you can't pass a horse or a biker in two-way traffic, and meeting a biker or a horse halfway across a long bog bridge makes everyone unhappy. Before I decided to go traipsing across any bridge, I would make sure the local park meant it to be used for horses. Like I said, our foolish riders got all horses banned from the park in short order.