Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
I have spent many, many years riding on roads, from rural to city, and here are my tips.
- First, talk to your state's Department of Transportation (DOT) about any laws/rules/restrictions. You can also talk to your Sheriff's department and Highway Patrol, but in my experience they are not familiar with any horse laws.
- Wear a helmet and a bright vest like many folks wear during hunting season.
- When riding on the shoulder, ride as far from the road as possible and watch out for roadside litter. I've ridden through places that are full of bottles/cans that people toss out their windows.
- If your horse has not seen cyclists, dismount or be extra careful the first time. Many horses are more afraid of cyclists than cars. Bicycles are quiet and "sneak" up on you and your horse.
- Ride WITH the traffic.
- If you need to ride in the road, do NOT hug the shoulder. Just like with bicycles, drivers tend to try and stay in the lane and will come very close to you. Do not be afraid to take up enough space in the lane to stay safe. This also forces drivers to slow down and pass you instead of just zooming by.
- Do not be afraid to signal drivers with your hands to ask them to slow down or stop if your horse is getting excited, and do not feel rushed. At least in NC, you have a right to the road, too. You want to stay calm and keep your horse calm.
- Avoid or be very careful if there are any blind curves. There are some spots around here that have blind curves with a very small shoulder. I will not ride there.
- If the road is asphalt, be aware that your horse does not have the same traction as on dirt/grass, especially if your horse is shod.
Be safe, stay calm, have fun.
On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.