On our trails, sometimes we encounter drunk people on 4 wheelers. It is horrible, because some of our horses arn't used to it and they get extreamly nervous and are tense after an encounter, and are to nervous to enjoy the trails. It is against the law for them to go on our trails, but we are afraid to report the 4-wheelers because they could hurt our horses, as they know where they live. Has something similar happened to you, and what should we do?
I would start exposing my horse to the four wheelers as we go on many multi use trails and need to have horses that are not afraid of noises or inconsiderate people.
I never know what I'm going to run upon trail riding around here. We've come upon sheep herders, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, etc... Fortunately, most people are fairly courteous, but some aren't.
The only thing I can suggest is what WickedNag said & try to get your horse slowely used to them.
If you are that afraid to call the cops then I would just get them used to it. But I have called the cops on my own family members for driving 50 mph by my horse. I care about my horses safety and my own safety when riding and I don't let anything get in the way of that. If they aren't supposed to be on your land then that is a charge, and if they are driving four wheelers drunk that is actually considered a DWI and they could go to jail for it depending.
Oh and not to mention riding on your horse trails is ruining them, so that could be considered destruction of property. We have guns in our home so if anyone steps foot near my horse trying to hurt him I will know about it and they won't live to tell the tale.
How do you know they are drunk? That to me is a huge issue. Around here it is just as illegal to be drunk driving a 4 wheeler as it is a car, snowmobile, or boat.
And how would they know it was you specifically who reported it? Have you already had personal confrontations to the point you think they would deliberately harm your horses?
Otherwise, the only way to desensitise your horse is to expose him to (friendly) 4 wheelers. Like the previous posters said, see if you can get a friend to bring one over and get them used to it.
Back on topic, like everyone else has said, expose them to it. My horses are EXTREMELY used to tractors, four wheelers, our Yahama Rhino, and obnixiously loud trucks (thanks to my brother).
Drunk on a horse?! "Officer Im not driving! my horse knows where to go, I'm just riding haha"
I feed my horses every day with a four-wheeler. Belive me, they are not frightened. In fact, several years ago my sister-in-law and I decided to ride around Mt. Thielsen up by Diamond Lake in Oregon in either November or December to see how late in the year we could do the ride before having too much snow. Anyway, when we got back to the trailer (yes, we made it all the way around) a snowmachine came by on the road. They immediately slowed down-they weren't going fast to begin with-and asked us about scaring the horses. I just laughed because the engine had the same pitch as the four-wheeler. I could tell my horse was looking for dinner.
As far as dirt bikes, my suggestion is when you hear them coming, try to get off the trail, stop and turn your horse toward the direction they will come. Seems that by getting off trail they do better.
I haven't experienced it, but my understanding is that most horses do fine with motorized trail toys. They don't do so good with bicycles. Motors they can hear coming and, therefore, they know that it isn't a horse eating monster. Bicycles are quiet and, because they can't hear them coming, MUST be horse eating monsters.
Predators don't come through the woods with a gas motor. And horses are just flat concerned about predators.
It's the same reason you can often see more deer and other wildlife on a four wheeler than you can walking the same trail (yes, I HAVE experienced this). Deer know that if it makes a bunch of noise in the woods, it ain't gonna eat 'em! A person walking quietly in the woods may well be a predator and, therefore, something to avoid.
The best thing you can do is get your horse used to the noise. And Sailor, I find loud ATV/Motorcycles way worse than any mountain bike.
As suggested, Borrow a ATV or Motorcycle and drive it around your horses every day. Start off my by letting you horses follow it. After they get used to it, you can follow behind the horses.
I have an ATV and drag a harrow around the corral to loosen the soil and break up the roadapples. I pull a small trailer and load the manure up and haul it off. Sometimes I even deliver the hay in the trailer. So my horses hear and see the machine on a regular basis. When you ride around them, don't go gentle. Goose it!, Make noise with it. Let them hear it at it worse. So when a jerk does that on the trail, It's just like you at home.
Its the same principle as teaching your horses to be calm around people shooting guns. When I'm hunting and I see an elk, I bail off and pull the trigger, I don't always have a hitchin post, tree or something else convienent to tie my horses up to. I don't want them getting suprised when the gun goes off and running away. It's ok that they can be startled, Just not spooked enough to run.
Regardless of whether this is inconsiderate of the ATV riders. It's your responsibility to teach your horse to spook in place and look to you for leadership. If it's not a motorcycle on the trail, it will be a truck passing you along the side of the road, the PA system at the fairgrounds, the marching band in the parade or strange Llama and some hikers in the mountains.
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