I walk alone here in dangerous territory. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 07:18 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Flushing, MI
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I read through it too, and felt deeply insulted. Luckily, our barn has it's own trails, so we don't deal with bike riders, which means I've never dealt with bike riders either, but, agreeing with everyone else, some of their arguements were just plain silly.
'They teach horses to ignore gunshots and cannonballs, police horses also don't spook all the time. Sure they can be trained to be calmer around such events, it just takes work. Are the equestrians going to do what is required to not present a hazard to other trail users, or are they just going to take the lazy route?'

^Okay, mister tough biker, let's see you train a horse to be calm around gunshots and cannonballs, and i'll check in to see how you do. *rolls eyes*

'oh come on. if there is one thing that is simple about this discussion, that should be a no-brainer, it is that they should clean up after them and that it can be done with minimal effort.'
^Uh-huh. I'll have you ride with a pitchfork, ride along, dismount, clean up the manure, then somehow manage to mount up again, while holding a pitchfork.

I could list more, but I'm not gonna push it any farther. I think this sorta proves that all of us need to have a more open additude toward riding on shared trails.
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post #12 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 07:20 PM
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^_^ Though kudos and karma to you for braving our forums! :)
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post #13 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
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My horse doesnt spook at most things, but if something pops out of a corner, he will still jump and so will I.

Also, im not riding around with a pitchfork and hoping off everytime my horse craps. I HAVE earned the right to ride on those trails and you can bike around them. I do think I'm entitled to use those trails just like everyone else who uses them.
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post #14 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove View Post
My horse doesnt spook at most things, but if something pops out of a corner, he will still jump and so will I.

Also, im not riding around with a pitchfork and hoping off everytime my horse craps. I HAVE earned the right to ride on those trails and you can bike around them. I do think I'm entitled to use those trails just like everyone else who uses them.

You see, again with the biased-ness we (at least I) understand it's not practical to get off every time the horse drops a few cookies on the trail, Try and take things from our perspective, as I am trying to teach others on my forum to do so, Yes it's natural, and yes it does dissipate so chances are you probably need not make the effort to go back through and clean it up.. I think one of the main concerns the biking community has however is the trail maintainence, and who is usually blamed for it. You know the kind of dirt your steeds can kick up on a soggy day, just as we know the impact of the ruts we can make on a day similar. What I think many (NOT ALL THIS IS NOT TO SAY SOME DON"T) feel is that the mountain biking community is out there more often than the horse community, cleaning up the damage of both.

So, would poop bags be nice, probably, but it doesn't mean we are insisting everyone to go get one and holster it on. What I think would really do both parties some good is to schedual (actually post it on the trailheads) co-opted trail maintainence, this would shut the mountain biking whiners up about the horse community not "helping" and would give a neutral ground upon which bonds and friendship betwixt us both could grow.

Now being a realist, chances are none of this will take effect, but if one thing can get through (to both parties not just you guys) is to go into every situation with an open mind and attempt to slip your riding boots into our clipless pedals and we'll attempt to slip our shoes into your stirrups...
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post #15 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 10:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
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See, around here like I said, the bikers, hikers, and equestrians seem to be on the same side and we all maintain the trails so that we can keep our trails. I certainly see where you are coming from, but I think that it's something that comes with using public trails...you have to deal with other people and their ... remains just like we have to look out for and "deal" with you.

But I'm apparently naiive as I've never had a problem getting along with everyone else on the trials. (Except motorcylces but thats a whole 'nother rant).

EDIT: I realize my last post probably came off more pissy than I meant. My intention was to say that we just have to deal with one another. Horses poop, bicyclists leave ruts and can scare horses sometime but we BOTH love the trails and we need to work together to make sure we keep them.

Last edited by Spastic_Dove; 08-15-2009 at 10:50 PM.
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post #16 of 50 Old 08-15-2009, 11:00 PM
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I would like to point out....

For the accusations that equestrians are rude, we aren't the ones bashing bicyclists
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post #17 of 50 Old 08-16-2009, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Mariposa, CA
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If we equestrians do not work together with all users of the forest we will ALL lose the right to enjoy it. At lot of the national forests are already limiting access. I have been working with forestry in open and closed round table discussions for two years now with representatives of users - OHV, bicyclist, hikers. Forestry may not close the trail but they will close off the parking or access. This may not affect your riding trails today, but it has already started in the Sierra National Forest and elsewhere.

Horses can alert very subtly to hearing things way before we can hear them. If I feel an alert, I don't know what it is - boar, bear, cougar, hiker, llama w/backpack... but I'm prepared to take action. As equestrians we need to be always be prepared to ride aware and defensively.

We have encountered ugly minded users out there, but have found most all shared users of the trails have been by far and away courteous including the bicyclist. They don't want to come around a blind corner to meet a horse and rider, a bear, dead fall or a crazy gun waving person any more than you do.

Damage to trails, I think motorized tires do more damage than cyclist tires. Personally I think trail maintenance is done by the few and enjoyed by the many. Horse poop? A lot of national forest is free range... so what about all them cows pooping on the trails? Diapers for the wild critters too? - lol
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post #18 of 50 Old 08-16-2009, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
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A question; Where are trail maintenance days advertised? How to MTB's know when they are on and when to turn up? Just curious because if it isn't a public notification then horse owners will have no ideas that organised trail work is going on, we generally don't frequent MTB gatherings and I guess you know why.

The situation is very different where I live. There aren't any designated horse/MTB trails around me... Just trails. Anyone and anything can use them. Just a note, but these trails don't have hoof ruts in them; Maybe our ground is different or more hardy than yours?

The problem with spooking is that riding a bike around a horse in a controlled environment is very different to when a horse is on a trail, which in itself is a new situation with a lot of stimuli, a bike added in (whule by itself may not bother the horse) may be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Simply a 'brain overload'; It does happen. Also, the only true way to get your horse to become a calm, quiet trail horse and relaxed around other trail users is to get it out and about and to realise that they won't hurt it. It is inevitable that while it is learning spooks will occur. It is impossible to replicate this situation as some people on that forum suggested.

The poo issue? I can see both sides. It's not practical for us; Would it be a pleasurable ride for a MTB'er if they had to regularly break momentum to stop and do something similar to picking up poo? It's the same for us. Often trails are valuable cardio workouts for our horses, conditioning work making them fit for a coming event or purpose. But I can also see how piles of poop would be annoying to MTB'ers. *Shrugs* I don't see a solution to that one.

If I see bikers, I normally don't expect them to stop. Most bikers around me don't know trail rules and don't know horses. It is simply safer for me to look out for myself and not count on any respect from riders. I ALWAYS treat other trail users with respect. The only time I don't If I have already politely asked the kids on bikes NOT to follow on my 'horsies' heels with their bikes, and they ignore me. That is ignorantly endagering me, my horse, and themselves. Then I get mad :]

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post #19 of 50 Old 08-16-2009, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
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First of all, I find most of the mountain bikers I run into very courtious. If they see me, they stop and get off the side of the trail. If the trail is wide enough, I usually call ahead and tell them it's ok to keep coming, as my horses have seen enough bikers to not be scared of them.

Like all horses, mine will spook at the unseen biker. The one that flies around the corner unexpected. It's just part of trail riding and we deal with it. No different than a wild turkey exploding from cover or a deer busting through the trees.

As far as trail maintenance. {I think one of the main concerns the biking community has however is the trail maintainence}

There is a section of one of my favorite trails that divides. The hikers and bikers go over a bridge and the horses go down through the creek. This section of trail is maybe 1 mile in length. You CAN visable see a difference in the trail used only by the horses. The common trail leading up to and the bike/Hiker trail after the dividing point is about 24"-30" wide. The horse trail is barely 12" wide. So something other than horses is causing the trail used by bikes to be worn off in a much wider area.

When trails get muddy, people should not use them. But I do see long tire ruts where bikers rode in the mud. The water then runs down hill in the tire ruts, washing them out and making them worse. Yes horse make holes in muddy trails also. But it doesn't form a continuos rut that the water follows. The best solution here is for everyone to respect the trails and stay off them when they are easily damaged.

Which brings up manure. Horse manure is recycled grass. It's not a big deal. It breaks down quickly, adds mulch or fiber to the trail to help prevent errosion. It doesn't stink like Dog or human crap. It doesn't stick to your shoes like Dog crap. It doesn't contain pathogens. In utah, most of our water flows downhill off the mountains. These water sheds are protected, because it IS our drinking water. I often see restriction about taking dogs into these areas because of the risk of contaminating the water supply. I never see any restrictions about horses in these areas. I'm not a scientist, but it appears that the bacteria that horse manure contains is safer than the pathogens that dog crap contains. Same process with gardening. Many people and and myself included often put horse or cow manure in my garden, Nobody ever recommends putting dog crap in your garden. There is a difference.

Manure from livestock ( horse/cows/sheep) and wildlife ( deer/elk/moose) are just a fact of life on the mountain. It's not a big deal. I think bikers get too concerned over it. From an uneducated point of view, they seem to consider it the same as the Dog crap. It's just not the same.

From a horse persons view. I don't think we should clean out our trailers at the trail head. I think it's very incourtious to leave a pile of horse manure/straw/woodshavings etc at the parking area. If my horses crap on the black top at the trail head, I carry a manure fork in the trailer and fling the road apples off into the brush. These areas of concentrated use, should be kept clean.

My biggest complaint about bikers has been the parking. On my favorite trail, I used to pull up, park and ride. I'd see a few other horses along the trail. Maybe a hiker. In the last 5 years. the bikers have taken over that trail. There is never a spot to park a truck/trailer. The bikers have been successful at closing off access to half of the trails to horses. ( the management of the area still allows horses on the dirt roads, but has closed them to using the trails) The trails are there because, horses rode them years and years before bikes became popular. In fact the Great Western Trail was developed as a trade route for original Native Indians of the Great Basin. It was traveled by indian tribes long before white man.
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post #20 of 50 Old 08-16-2009, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I do agree that the poo issue is that of a "hopeless" one even if you had a foldable shovel, getting on and off a steed of that magnatude is daunting (I've tried... Mom's attempt to get me into show jumping) many times Horseback riders are small in stature anyway (less for them to hold up) so yes this topic is in a difficult position..

With that being said, and answering the above question, I truly think that all of these feelings of resentment would be eliminated by having co-opted trail work days, which many times are posted at the parking lot, trail map, ect. And if there are no such things and you feel as though your in an area of feelings of disdain for one another, all the more reason for YOU (take that in a neutral sense, not trying to put the burden solely on you guys.) to schedual a date (trust me, seeing a biker, rider trail maintainence day would tickle us pink).

In my life experience, I have always been quick to judge, wrong as it may be it is part of my nature. However I am quick to find out that in spending a little time with those I've pre-judged, I am 95% of the time incorrect in my allegations.. And if I hold any inclinations of the human race, and these two parties in particular, I feel many would soon find out much the same.
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