What do you do with bikes?
In the area we ride in there's bikes. Always is and always will be. It's just a fact. My friend's horse flips out over them still (we're working on it), Allegra ("my" mare) does fine and most of the other horses we're out with are fine too.
Anyways, Allegra's owner (my instructor) took her and another horse, Talat (a very, very broke horse that used to do xc) on the trail yesterday with Talat's owner. Allegra was in the front (she likes to walk fast) and Talat was in the back. A biker rode up behind them, and while they don't really care, the slightly not-so-smart person got a short three feet from Talat's back end. Luckily for the guy Talat didn't kick but man...
We've slowly discovered that some bikers just don't care and go zipping past us, flipping out even the most well behaved horses. But some of them are also very good and slow down, even stop. Okay, that was just a few people, but still. My friend and I make sure we're always talking loudly to each other over hills or sharp turns where we can't see but I'm pretty sure that won't always help.
If you see bikers on the trail, what'd you do?
If there are any doubts in your mind, warn/remind the bike riders as soon as you see them to insure everyone remains safe. The rule in NC, and I believe in most places, is that 4 legs always has the right away over 2.
Yeah, we have that law as well - I don't think many people are aware of it. We have the slower, bigger moving animals after all...
When I see them I try to stop my horse and talk to the bike rider to let them know either to cautiously go around me or to wait for me to get off onto a side trail for them to pass (if my horse is more sensitive). Horses have the right away in most states so the bikers should be careful and follow your instructions. If there are people who don't realize, tell them, and if they don't listen just make sure your horses can watch them so they will be less likely to spook. Hope you don't encounter many ignorant bikers anymore!
Etiquette for Use of Trails
While many of you know to say a quick hello when meeting or passing fellow trail users, a lot of you may not have been on greenways or trails used by horses. The key thing to remember is that "Wheels Yield to Heels". Bicyclists and other wheeled users yield to those on either two or four feet! Hikers should yield to equestrians. If you aren't sure what to do, stop, and let the other trail user pass. Feel free to ask the horse rider what you should do. Most folks riding horses will gladly chat with you about their mount.
If you overtake a horse, cyclist or hiker from behind, make verbal contact with the trail user."On your left" will generally do it. A quick "thanks" after passing is always a good idea.
If while riding your bike, you overtake or meet a horse and rider on a bridge, or in a tunnel, please stop and let the equestrian exit the confined space of the bridge or tunnel. While many horses are OK with other trail users, there may be a few who have never seen a cyclist, or many other people, other than their riders. Help make it as easy on them as possible by stopping and letting them get out of the confined space. If in doubt with what to do when encountering a horse and rider, particularly in a confined space like a bridge or tunnel, STOP. Let the horse and rider pass. Remember, Wheels Yield to Heels.
I ride along trails with LOTS of mountain bikers. I've found most of them to be very curteous. Most stop and pull their bike off the trail well before they reach me. I often tell them to keep coming as my horse has become very accustomed to them. My use the opportunity to catch their breath and take a drink while we pass. On a rare occassion, one will over take us from behind, sometimes on a blind curve or hilly area. And yes my horses spook at the screeching brakes behind them. But it has beena good reason to teach them how to spook in place.
Lots of bikers compliment me on my horse. I often reply "Nice Bike" in return.
I have to say, there was one particular biker near me that really had an issue with the horses on the trails. He would zip past every weekend I was out with my friends, and whip past missing the horses by mere inches(honestly - he bumped my boot twice). As he went by, he'd always say something nasty as well. As immature as it was, I got ticked off by him the last time he did it. There was a green rider with us, and he scared the crap out of her, and her horse. So, I decided to deal with it the same way he dealt with us - I ROARED up behind him, and whipped past him by inches with my big mare(she even switched her tail as we passed, so I know she smacked him in the face), then did a roll back a little ways past him so I could face him on the trail. He started in sputtering and starting to yell, and as soon as he stopped I very calmly said - it's no fun when someone roars past and acts like an ass, is it?
He's given right of way ever since. Def. not the way I should have handled it, but this guy was a real jackass. A big city guy with a 'cabin' out here in the country, that thought he had right of way, irregardless of the trail markings, and rules posted all up & down the trail.
Kinda on / off topic but I just wanted to share the story.... my aunt one day was trail riding with a couple of friends. One of the horses she was with hates bikes... and when one speedster came flying down the hill behind them, the horse flipped out and kicked at the biker... well the biker dodge the hooves luckily but scared him and he ended up going off the trail down a ten foot ditch. A good lesson learned. The guy was a total city folk and learned the hard way I guess.
thanks for all of your replies! it's cool to know that some places actually have signs - we wished our trails did.
Today we went out again, a six mile trail or so, and it was pretty good. We decided to simply let them eat when they see bikes so they'll learn that bikes mean food. Or that's what we're getting at. Allegra has no issues with them anymore and really just doesn't care. If only my friend's horse did the same...
But we made lots of progress today! Went up a rocky path, drank from a puddle, walked into the stream..It was a good day. Though I did find out if anything is a bit steep, where normal horses would find their footing down, it's very much a 'psh, my way is easier!' sort of thing and she just jumps off of it. Haha. Oh yes, that went well the first time. Crazy mare.
Oh geez. I wish we lived where you guys do! :roll: Trail riding around here, you take your life into your own hands. Or rather, hand it over to whatever moron happens to be out on a dirt bike, quad or snowmobile and thinks it's amusing as heck to see a horse break your face open on pavement.
They are JERKS around here. We've attempted talking to them, asking them to slow down. What do they do? Speed up, and boot it around us, spraying gravel as they go. I was dumped off a neurotic Arabian mare last year after a group of quads literally "attacked" us (one tried to "hit" Szerina after she dumped me and bolted, and almost got kicked in the head). Shay-las mom went after them in her Ford Exploder, we haven't seen 'em around since. :lol: It's absolutely ridiculous - it's gotten to the point where one of our most trusted trail horses has become so neurotic around little things that go zoom, you have to get off her if a dirt bike or quad gets within 50 yards of her. They're delibrately cruel and vicious. It's not just the ignorance of not slowing down, we've had them delibrately slow to spray gravel at us, boot it past us only to turn around and continue driving back and forth as fast as they can, and circle us laughing as our horses are rearing and freaking out.
We've called the police, they don't care. Laws are great, but good luck enforcing them out in the boondocks. So I've taken to riding with large rocks in my pocket. Next idiot dumb enough to mess with me and my Arab (who for some reason doesn't give a hoot about them, no matter how many times they buzz her) is going to have one heck of a headache.
In that sense though, we do our best to make friends with those who ARE courtesous. We do get a lot of snowmobilers and quadders who'll actually stop and turn their machines off. We thank them profusely, and trot by quickly to get out of their way. It's always so refreshing, and we make sure they know how thankful we are.
So anyway, yeah, do your best to talk to them, but in my experience, if you feel in danger, GET OFF YOUR HORSE. Nothing good is going to be accomplished from your horse being delibrately terrorized with you on it's back. It used to be a pride thing for me, and frankly, I just don't care anymore. I'm not going to the hospital when my mount finally goes over backwards and I get rocks thrown at me for good measure laying broken and bleeding on the ground :roll:
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