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Finding good trails for horses

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  • Finding good trails for horses

    I would love to haul my horse out this summer and start really trail riding her. Unfortunately, the only place *I* know of is the very local state park that is overrun with people. I'd like to really get out of town and not have to worry about some bicyclist screaming around a blind turn right into my horse :-/

    So, how do I find good trails for horses?

  • #2


    Trail Rider Magazine is pretty good, too.


    • #3
      If your state has a horse council you can see if they publish a guidebook. Our state publishes a beautiful, full color spiral bound book that costs about $25. EAch trail has a map, and driving directions, any special quirks about the trail you should know about, etc. I didn't know this book existed until I got it for Christmas.

      You can ask your local tack store and feed store if they know of such a book.

      Also go on your DNR's website. Our DNR website has all the state trails with really nice maps and stuff.

      Check into all the local riding clubs and talk to the presidents/directors. They're usually in tune with the local trail scene.

      And if all that fails, start asking your local farmers, parks and rec department, or local biking clubs. I found a couple of trails this way.


      • #4
        There's also a book called Horse Trails of Northern Colorado or something like that. I've seen it at Jax and I think 287 Supply. I don't have it myself but a friend does and she loves it. Also, I'm guessing the state park you're referring to is Lory. There are some trails further back (can't remember the names, I usually ride with a friend who knows the area like the back of her hand and I just kind of follow her ) that are a little more challenging and not very crowded. I usually go on weekdays, though, so it might be different on the weekends. You still have to ride for a little while on the crowded trails, but there's some nice riding back there.

        I think the bikers are everywhere, though. I don't really mind them, personally, as most of the ones I've met up here are really polite and will slow down or stop if necessary. I used to ride in NM, and I swear the bikers there make a point of trying to run horses off the nearest cliff. It's heaven up here by comparison.

        ETA I just remembered that I heard Young's Gulch is a very nice ride without many bikers. It's somewhere up in the Poudre Canyon, I think. I know I've seen the sign for it. I keep meaning to try it because I've had several people recommend it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
        Last edited by CosMonster; Mar. 27, 2008, 04:08 PM. Reason: remembered something
        exploring the relationship between horse and human


        • #5
          Originally posted by Simkie View Post
          I'd like to really get out of town and not have to worry about some bicyclist screaming around a blind turn right into my horse :-/
          The trick it to ride you horse in such a way that the _ bicyclist_ is the one that has to worry. Speak softly but ride a big horse and all that.


          • #6
            that doesn't help you on a steep switchback trail that tops out on a crest..and the bike tops the crest headed your way


            • #7
              Drop in at the National Forest office and ask the ranger:


              • #8
                Originally posted by katarine View Post
                that doesn't help you on a steep switchback trail that tops out on a crest..and the bike tops the crest headed your way

                Then you politely ask the biker to get off and move to the downhill side of the trail so you can go past. Downhill gives way to uphill and all give way to horses. Love the ones that try to hide behind trees so they won't "scare" the horse That's more scary than being right out in the open so the horse can see you. And hikers, don't reach out to pet the horse without first speaking so he knows you're a human and not some grotesque monster with a hump on his back. As a matter of fact, don't pet the horse at all.

                Sorry, went off on a mini-rant there.
                Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                • #9
                  There is NO TIME to say anything to a mountain biker cresting a hill coming your way! LOL! Honestly by the time you get your first words out they would probably have already hit the brakes and stopped for you, at least around here. We've just been lucky not to have a wreck with them YET. Those bikes move fast and silent and the riders look freakish, all so out of context to a horse. Ours seem to do ok so far but we haven't had any bikers ride up their butts or noses YET. It'll happen. The bikers we've seen have been great, holler back and get off their bikes, speak to us quickly, one guy a couple summers ago took his helmet right off so he looked human again. They try but by the nature they are a hazard to horseback riders. My kids ride bikes all AROUND our horses HERE, but not in the backcountry and on some of those trails there is not an INCH of spare trail for a spook. Nervewracking. But they've got a right, it's our responsibility to deal. We've thought about sending a rider ahead to warn bikers on the steepest trails or calling up, whistling.. bikers don't mean to cause wrecks but they sure can!

                  OP-look for Wilderness Areas to ride in, mechanicals like a bike are not allowed in Wilderness Areas... Call your FWandParks or Forest Service to find areas that bikes aren't allowed.
                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                  • #10
                    Try a search for Back Country Horsemen. They have chapters all over the U.S., and they're a great source for trails and trail rides.

                    I just looked, and there are several chapters in Colorado.


                    • #11
                      I am a BCH from Montana, check http://www.bchcolorado.org/, they are a wonderful resource as the previous poster said. Access means a lot to everyone and when it gets shut down for one it is soon shut down for another.
                      Last edited by cowboymom; Mar. 30, 2008, 02:42 PM. Reason: clarification
                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                      • #12
                        Me too. I'm in BCH of Washington - There's about 30+- chapters.
                        Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                        • #13
                          Green belts. Every city has them. Walking trails, power lines, wide bulevards. I ride them all. Parks are usually sources of water for a quick cool down. I even found a working hose on the side of a factory that I can quickly hose him down to cool off.
                          I trailer to the edge of a very large city and from there run forever on lawn, cut grass. Have been doing it for 20 years and Never get in trouble, even the police watching me jog down the bulevarde on a wide street say nothing.
                          No bugs, good footing, water every now and then and unlimited places to go.
                          Once the bugs start in the bush it is off to the city for me.
                          My horse has been trained around cars, trucks and busses, bikes, joggers, trains, nothing get to him.
                          I always ride alone so rely on no one.
                          Last edited by Shadow14; Apr. 4, 2008, 09:40 PM.


                          • #14
                            You might want to check out and post on this board:


                            Colorado based trail riders forum, though has members from all over. Your local BLM office is a good place to start. As you are near Fort Collins, you also should have a National Forest office pretty close. The Colorful Colorado Horse Trails book was written by someone from Fort Collins, so you could always contact her and ask if you could hook up.
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