Riding along roads with big trucks - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Canada
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Riding along roads with big trucks

Hi everyone,

It has been a long cold winter here in Ontario and after four looooooong months I finally got out for a few rides. My hubby and I have been riding on side roads which is new territory for us and the horses. We have been leading them along a busy road and mounting on the side road. Both horses are fine along the road with vehicles going by.
The other day we were on the side road, that does not have much of a shoulder, especially with the snow banks. There was a vehicle coming towards us, that stopped at a safe distance as there was a large fuel tanker truck that just turned up the road and was coming behind us. We got our horses off the road down a driveway. Both were becoming nervous with the noise of the tanker truck. We kept talking to them, kept as calm as possible and the truck passed. We went back on the road and were fine!!
I had my horse facing down the driveway and he refused to move farther ahead. We were only approx. 6 feet off the road. Should I have turned him around to face the truck? We will be riding on this road again and there will be trucks as their office is on this road. I would like to desensitize him to this ASAP.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Oregon
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By your horses reactions I would say it wont take long to desensitize them. I normally turn my horse to face traffic when I get out of the way.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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Maybe walk them on a lead line until they are bored by the trucks? At least that way, they cannot jump in front of a truck WITH you...
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 04:00 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK
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Yes, we always turn to face traffic when off the road in a layby. Can you take your horses to a safe area where they can meet large vehicles in a controlled environment? (a busy barn / yard).
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 04:39 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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I just hopped on mine and hoped she'd be fine with the tractor trailers since she's fine with a pickup/trailer combo. Well, she backed out in front of a fully loaded tractor trailer and almost killed us both. Never again have I let her stand with her back end towards traffic. I can keep her from going forwards, but I can only do so much about her going backwards (don't carry a whip).

Though, down the roads with weight limits (the odd combo that decides to risk DOT out of service being the only vehicles larger than 20k#), I usually just ride along with traffic and generally don't stop unless it's one of the dump trucks (she's not scared, I just don't want to push them over the center line) or a truck with a large trailer. In which case, I face her towards traffic so she can see what's going on. I'm sure if I walked into a driveway and left her facing away while traffic passed she would probably spook and fly backwards to see it (she's stupid and won't just turn her head around or spin the other direction)..just like what happened with our first encounter with a tractor trailer. o.o' I'm still thanking everything that the driver swerved around us..I'd have been mortified to find he lost his job and life due to my horse jumping out in front of him (obviously I'd have found out as a ghost or something, haha).

Anywho, after our tractor trailer incident, I will not keep her on the road if she's going to put not only our lives, but the lives of other motorists at risk. If that driver would've hit us, he would've lost his job and probably went to jail for manslaughter..and seeing as I would've been dead, I wouldn't even be able to take the blame for it so he could still provide for his family. Basically, as I ramble on and on, what I'm saying is, while you're getting the horses traffic safe, be extra cautious. I never even thought about her causing harm to someone else aside from me..until I had that experience. I'm now ALWAYS paying attention to every little detail, which I'm sure you are as well. I, on the otherhand, was not until I experienced my near death moment. To this day, I still thank everything that he swerved to avoid me and that there was no oncoming traffic. On the other hand, I wouldn't have felt a bit bad had the car following 6" from his tailgate just barely clipped my arm or something..I wouldn't have felt bad about taking everything he had. I mean really, if you see a semi swerve..do you really think a little Focus could take on what they were swerving to avoid??? LOL
But yeah..I'll stop rambling now. Good luck!
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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I think it is best practice to turn your horse to face what ever could be potentially frighting. That way they can see it coming and can rationalize what it is. Worst case scenario then is they could spin and take off the other way which you should be able to handle with a one-reign stop etc.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 06:32 PM
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Location: Midwest
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Yes always good to face
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 07:24 PM
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Agreed, if you aren't exactly sure how they'll react, then I also believe it's best to face them in the general direction of the scary thing so that they can get a good look at it.

I also agree with Darrin, the fact that you were able to stay so close to the road and have the semi go by without freaking them out is a big plus. It won't take hardly anything to get them desensitized to it all. Just more exposure is all it will take. Also, remember to keep yourself calm and relaxed; if you start getting nervous about what the horse might do, then you run the risk of making the horse nervous and basically talking him into misbehaving LOL.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-28-2014, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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My horse likes to turn her butt towards car and truck noises. I think she's getting ready to let the giant scary beasts have it with her hooves. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-01-2014, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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My horse is fine with anything going down the road except for things that are taller than she is: cube vans, school buses, tractor trailers, rvs... No matter how many times she sees them, she still just doesn't like them. So, I've long since given up - I just take the ditch and keep riding. As long as she has about 20 feet between her and the vehicle she's OK.

I used to turn her to face them as well, thinking it would help, but it never did, so all I do now is turn her so she sees it coming, then keep riding --- but in the ditch.
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