Dirt Bikes And Public Trails - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By womack29
  • 2 Post By bbsmfg3
  • 5 Post By ArabLoverCDL
  • 1 Post By Roux
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-30-2013, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Ontario
Posts: 1,166
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Dirt Bikes And Public Trails

There are some really great trails in my community that my friend and I would like to take our horses on sometime. I'm not sure about her mare, but Nell seems to enjoy going out with other horses. She's pretty steady, but a little nervous when we ride out alone on our own property, not much really gets to her. My only fear is the dirt bikers who frequent the trails this time of year. Nelly has never seen a dirt bike before, and some of the trails are pretty narrow. I'm afraid to know what would happen if a bike came up behind her. She has seen motorized vehicles in action before, my dad is usually out on the four wheeler or tractor and they didn't seem to bother her much. What are some ways to be safe on the trails?

ETA: I just read that hunting is permitted there ... :/

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post #2 of 10 Old 08-30-2013, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
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My husband rides dirt bikes and I ride horses so I am lucky that my mare is not afraid of them at all but I do not ever ride my mare in areas where off road vehicles are allowed. One thing to remember is that the dirtibike riders are traveling at speeds much faster than you on your horse. I know there are some trails the guys ride 65mph on. Most likely they are not going to see or hear you first. I would recommend finding an are that is for equestrian riders only if possible. In the national parks and state parks there are many equestrian only trails.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-30-2013, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Ontario
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I'm not near any national parks, and there are no trails for equestrians only. I suppose we can just go in the winter when there are no motorized vehicles permitted ...

Thank you for feeding us years of lies. Thank you for the wars you left us to fight. Thank you for the world you ruined overnight. But we'll be fine, yeah we'll be fine.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-30-2013, 10:21 PM
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That sucks no equestrian trails only.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-30-2013, 10:34 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canada
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You could spend some time studying the trails to see when they are actually being used. Probably early in the morning on week days would be quiet (by way of a guess). If hunting is allowed in those areas, I would wear an orange safety vest every time you go there (just in case) and definitely not go on the trails during hunting season. Also, dirt bikes make a fair bit of noise so you may be able to hear them from a distance and get yourself in a safe place slightly off the trail in time to let them pass.

P.S. In winter, you'd probably have to contend with snowmobiles using those same trails.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-31-2013, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central Missouri
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It is very true some of these bikes may be moving a lot faster than your horse, BUT, On most trails the horse has the right-of-way over the bikes, SO, if you get your horses accustomed to the bike, then riding with them is not a problem, BUT, you may have to get out of there way, simply because of the speed they are traveling.

The only way I know of getting horses accustomed to bikes, is simple exposure. A bike coming up from behind sounds a lot like a snake about to strike. Find some bike riders that will work with you, and start out a little bit at a time, in a safe area. It takes time, but can be done.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-29-2013, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: AZ
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If you can find a bike rider to work with you, have your horse follow the bike. They much less scary when your horse is "chasing them" and its moving away. Also, when the bikes stop, have them feed your horse a treat. Then your mare will associate good things with the bike.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-03-2013, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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We ride in areas where we encounter dirt bikes and atvs also. Most of the riders I come across are very polite and give us the right away. My horses are used to cars and trucks and they reacted to the dirt bikes the same way. When we see or hear one I just step out of the way and point him in the direction of the bike so he sees it and were good to go. We don't have any designated equestrian areas here either.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-09-2013, 12:39 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Maine
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Great advice on getting your horse accustomed to dirt bikes. I was fortunate to have a nephew that rode dirt bikes come over with his and ride in the fields and around the round pen while the horses were in it. T, my mare, was accustomed to the sound and didn't faze her, and Walka took her cue and wasn't concerned, just curious. I then allowed Walka and T out into the field and Walka was very happy to "herd" the dirt bike. We have come upon dirt bikes on the trail and Walka is very calm and not worried because of his prior exposure. I do step off the trail, as our trails are very narrow, if we are not visible to the bike before it us upon us.

As far as the hunting issue, yes of course wear blaze orange, but you must also address the sound of the riffle being fired. We have accustomed Walka and our late mare T to this by target shooting often with various rifles. We are now in the process of desensitizing our new mare Misty to this. Unfortunately she has been kept in a bubble most of her life and is very reactive. Good thing is she looks to her handler or rider to decide what to do. There is nothing more unnerving then to be out riding and be taken by surprise by gunshots and have your horse freak out.

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post #10 of 10 Old 10-11-2013, 07:16 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Excellent advice from the previous posters....

Might I add when you ride especially during hunting season to add a bell or 2 to you and also to your horses tack...
Hunters will hear you and not mistake your horse and movement for an animal shooting first and looking second...
Don't forget to carry a cell phone when ever you ride ON YOU, not the horse for those emergent times you might have.

Happy trails and be safe.
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