We are in the suburbs, so being on or near a road at some point is almost a given.
Riding the same few trails can get boring after a while. We have done some strange things in the past to avoid the monotony.
About a mile or two from the stables (opposite direction from the trails) is a strip mall. We once rode there for Pizza. Hitching posts are a problem so I tied to a cement column near the handicap parking spaces in the parking lot. All the shop owners came out to see - there were about four of us. Getting there was interesting. We rode down a busy industrial road with tractor trailers and garbage trucks. When they hit a bump they are loud. The deli owner gave us some apples for the horses and it was a fun time.
Only problem was a drunk from the bar at the end of the shopping center. He walked out of the bar, got in his car and drove down to us. He parked, got out of the car, yelled at us for "making a mess." Then he bought smokes in the deli, got in his car and drove back to the bar. Pretty strange since the bar was only 500 ft away in the same parking lot. We ignored him.
Another time we left the trail to get some fast food. The drive through people were amused, but asked us not to come back (to the drive through). They were concerned about the Board of Health giving them trouble. Drive-thrus can also be crowded places... even if your horse is good, the other drivers may not be.
My favorite was a hot summer day on trail. I was thirsty and remembered a great bar about a mile away. Six of us exited the trail onto the streets and headed over. In the summer, the bar opens its large doors to a fenced in area on the street. The fencing made a great place to tie the horses, even though it was on the sidewalk. We were able to get a table on the inside of the fence right next to the horses. We drank beer and shared with the horses (who loved it).
The bar is adjacent to a railroad crossing. It got interesting when some trains came through. The building vibrated and the train horns were incredibly loud. One or two of the horses didn't like it, but we just put them in between the calmer horses.
On the way back to the trail we passed by some little kids with a lemonade stand. They were happy for the business but I though their eyes would bug out of their head.
It is fun to mix things up a bit instead of riding the same old trails. Do be careful of overpasses... if something goes wrong it is a long way down.
BTW - check your local/state traffic code for horse laws. Most places allow horses on just about all roads. The exception is usually "limited access" roadways such as interstates and major highways. Local roads are _generally_ OK. It is incumbent on the horse community to "ride responsibly" on roads. All it takes is a few idiots and there will be laws enacted to keep us off the roads.
Last edited by Tazmanian Devil; 05-04-2011 at 10:49 AM.