Do horses have the right of way on roads? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Do horses have the right of way on roads?

I know that bicycles and pedestrians do, but what about horses? I have to ride a short distance about 1/8 mile on a road with not much shoulder to get to trails. Road is 2 lane residential 25 MPH, but everyone seems to drive faster than that. It is scary, but I have no other option to trail ride. I have posted about this before and I can't just give up on trail riding. That is what I bought my horse for. Unfortunately, he cannot be trusted to stay safely off to the side of the road. What to do??
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post #2 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 08:47 PM
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When if you have full right of way, drivers don't know or respect that! Just be safe ok?
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post #3 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 08:54 PM
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I would not ride an unsafe horse down the side of the road. If your horse spooks, gets in the road, causes a wreck you will be liable. You need to work short stretches of the road at a time until the horse can calmly go down the road.
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post #4 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 09:15 PM
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I don't care if horses/bikes/pedestrians have right of way or not - cars are bigger, heavier, faster and tougher and will severely injure/kill you AND the horse if they come speeding around a bend and can't stop.
I do not trust road users when on a horse. It is 100% your own responsibility to keep safe, not the other road users. If you KNOW that your horse is not trustworthy on roads, you NEED to work on that before riding him out. It's not worth his life, your life and the life of a motorist.
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post #5 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 09:26 PM
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You'd be surprised at what traffic laws are still on the books. In Manitoba a gal was waiting to cross a highway when a semi driver blew the air horn and the horse went over backwards. Our club decided to dig into the laws. Going way back the law was still 25mph if livestock was within x many feet of a roadway. The newpaper printed the story for us and the speed law, which helped.
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post #6 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 09:48 PM
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Re right of way: You'd have to check your local municipality/county to see what they have in place for road usage. As an example, where I am, the City that I'm closest to has the rule that if you're pedalling a bicycle you're basically operating a vehicle so must follow those rules applicable to vehicle operation - however if you're pushing rather than riding your bicycle then you are considered a pedestrian.

Re safety: Kayty has summed up that quite nicely. I would add that to increase your safety on that short stretch of road in particular, you should be wearing helmet and vest if possible; you should consider the time of day you plan on heading down the road (pick times when traffic volume is down eg 2:00 in the afternoon might be a quiet time because most people are at work and 5:30 in the afternoon might be a busy time because people are coming home); consider leading him down the road (if he's quiet and steady at that) and mounting when you hit the trail; at every opportunity work on your leg yielding, turning on forehand, haunches, sidepassing, etc. to refine and improve the communication between you two so that it becomes second nature for your horse to respond to your voice, legs and reins to improve "placement" when on the road - add this to putting on lots of good miles on your horse and you've got yourself a plan.
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post #7 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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I knew you all would say this, but how do I get my horse used to being near a road if I can't take him on it? I have before and we haven't been killed yet, but there were some close calls and everytime I go out I am more nervous. I walk him to the end of the drive and make him stand there while cars pass. I wait until there are no cars and walk him out aways and back. I practice all the time, but the fact is, I can never absolutely predict how he will behave. I can deal with anything, anywhere, except on the road. Cars freak me out. I feel like I am being pushed by them and don't have the time to work through a situation like I would normally if I didn't have a car trying to pass me.
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post #8 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 10:00 PM
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If it's only an 1/8th of a mile, there is no shame at all in leading the horse. Also carry a long bike flag sideways, makes cars move over.
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post #9 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Kayty--- I totally agree with you, but how do you get a horse used to being on the road without him being on the road? It is almost a rhetorical question. I had my horse on the road and a motorcycle stopped beside us to ask a question and my horse was unfazed. But another time, there was no traffic and a garbage can caused him to lose his mind. I never know what to expect.
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post #10 of 36 Old 01-30-2013, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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I actually feel safer on his back than leading him, cause I feel more in control. Can I carry a flag in my hand maybe?
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