Trailhead parking questions - The Horse Forum
  • 4 Post By Avna
  • 3 Post By lb27312
  • 5 Post By horselovinguy
  • 2 Post By walkinthewalk
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-10-2019, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: CenTex
Posts: 1,485
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Trailhead parking questions

I'm starting to imagine taking our horses (well, not Teddy, sigh) out on some trails. I've hiked all of the trails at a nearby state park and I'd be comfortable taking Moonshine and Pony out there. I checked out the trailhead parking, though, and I have questions.

This place has a great set-up, with several little pens, water troughs, and ample parking. At least, it looks ample on the weekdays when no one is there. Both parking lots are basically long rectangles with no markings to indicate where to park.

1. Where would I park in such a place? At the edge of the lot, like parallel and against the side? If so, which side? Not the side that has the driveway going into it, right? In the middle? I am guessing that parking right next to one of the pens could be rude since it might impede people from using them.

2. Is there a polite way to indicate to others what I consider enough space around my rig for me to manuever out again? I'm an early person, so I'd probably be one of the first ones there, so I'd be able to go to the end of the lot and swing around so I wouldn't have to back out. But I would still need a certain amount of space behind my trailer to where I could load them up again. And it wouldn't be good to come back to find someone parked right in front me, so I couldn't just pull out.

Basically, for a trailhead parking lot that is just open, with no indications of who should park where, where is the right place to park? And how do I keep people from hemming me in afterwards?

ETA: and if anyone has any suggestions about questions I didn't even think to ask, please let me know!

Last edited by ACinATX; 11-10-2019 at 03:35 PM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-10-2019, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Park with your nose right where you need it to be to pull out, if at all possible. If you think someone is going to park right up against your trailer doors, put cones out behind you. You may lose them to a total jerk but at least you tried.

Short horse lover
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-10-2019, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: NC
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Pull in to where you are able to just pull out and be able to swing if someone is beside you. Hopefully other riders will be considerate, at least I am when I park. No one should park right behind you. Is there designated trailer parking vs car parking? One of the places I go to has that but people in cars will STILL park in the horse trailer area and in the middle, one time I pulled right up against the door, too chicken to get close enough to where they couldn't open it but was there when they went to their car, I asked them if they had seen the sign that said designated for horse trailers only.... no... it's RIGHT when you pull in.

Can you go there on the weekend? There should be horse trailers there and you can see what they do...
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-10-2019, 06:10 PM
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What do you consider "early" could make a big difference in what you encounter on the trailhead lot.

For me, my family...
We are on the road nearly to trails @ 7:00 AM as it can get hot, really hot for the horses with winter coats by 10:00AM.
We are usually one of the first trailers in.
I always park so I have a easy out, near a straight shot to the roadway as possible...
However, I also intentionally park so I have either a fenceline or another trailer next to me, leaving enough room for tieing next to the trailer and a horse to be led behind and not be in the line of a kick either.
Most horsepeople are aware of the needs of others with animals and trailers being towed.
They don't want to get pinched in either..
Now, if you were referring to horse show don't get oodles of extra room, you just don't.
Trail heads people commonly hang-out after the ride with horses tied munching haynets, riders having a meal...then bath/rinse-off and some hand grazing while drying.

So, if you trailered your horse in my trailer...
We would pull in, swing around to either side is easiest out for me to maneuver.
Leave about 8 - 10 feet at most from side of my trailer to fence-line/another trailer parked as a walk-through knowing my trailer has 2 sides I can tie to too. I don't leave enough room for another trailer to fit in that space either.

If you have a ramp or large swing door...leave it open, seriously, mark it with a cone if you want but leave it open so you have given notice not to crowd to close is my feeling.
I leave nothing in my trailer worth stealing so don't lock it...a spare halter and cheap bridle, manure fork and tack compartment is locked, the trailer is not. Truck is always locked, alarmed and no valuables are in it.
Remember when you are a early riser you often are done, loading for home when many are just heading out to ride...
Trail-heads here are often getting busy around 10:00 AM, we are usually headed back to the trailer at that time done with our ride.
We enjoy the trails, nature, the animals out yet eating their breakfast... all in quiet and peace without having many to share the beauty of morning awakening with.
If we are riding with others we plan to eat a quick bite after the ride...often beverage of your choice and someone brings donuts, another bagel/rolls, someone else some fresh cold fruit...all shared and enjoyed.
A hug and wave goodbye, safe travels wished to all and we head for home and chores to be done.
When you do partake of the trails...remember the fully charged cell phone is kept on you the rider, never the horse!
If you should part company {it happens!} you want/need to alert others to a loose horse, heaven forbid someone is hurt and needs emergent care.
Pre-program phone numbers of ranger station/check-in point if there is one.... when a horse runs in riderless and no contact a all-points goes forth and begins a massive search for a hurt rider. A call to the ranger station/check-in may also bring you a faster return if they come to get you off the trails...
If your group split up during the ride alert them too as they may come across your loose horse joining its buddies and great concern for you now rising.
Common sense and courtesy to others is what is needed at trail-heads...someone will surely set you straight if you do it wrong.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-16-2019, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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1. Since this place is close enough that you have hiked the trails to check them out, why not go over in the car some Saturday or Subday around 11:00 AM to see what the parking routine is.

2. As others have commented, I always parked with my nose headed out.

3. It is not only polite but smart for the next trailer pulling in to leave ample space for horses to be tied to both trailers so nobody (horse or Hunan) gets their heads kicked off.

3.1. The times that rule was broken only happened when the trailer one was parking next to was recognized and the horses were so seasoned and socialized, all they did was say "hay -- so how much mud do ya think we'll have to slog thru today---"

3.2. This ^^^^ segways into you need to know how to jockey your trailer around, in case some moron does partially block you in. It's the second reason I've had a heavy 3/4 ton 4-wheel drive the bulk if my adult life. The first reason was where I lived:)
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-24-2019, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Ohio and Michigan's U.P.
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I am terrible at backing up with my trailer, so I'm always very mindful of how I am going to get myself out of any parking place I might get into.

I too always try to point my nose heading out.

My trailer has a ramp and I usually leave the ramp down while I ride. That way I know that no one will get right up behind me.

I've never had a problem being blocked in by another trailer.
Cars with hikers is a different story- I guess they just don't think.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-25-2019, 09:46 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ohio
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A lot of the time what I do if I'm going to a new trail is I'll look it up on google maps and look at the satellite view, that usually gives me a good idea of the parking situation. I always park myself in a way that I don't have to back up to leave, so nose facing the way I need to go. If you're the first one there, get yourself parked, back up as needed so you have all the space you need to get situated, and park facing forward. Most people know to leave space because they want people to leave space for them as well. I haven't been to many trailheads where people park like, in single file behind you. Most have room to park slanted. So drive in, park at an angle so then you just pull out to leave. Depends on how WIDE the long retangles are but generally thats how I park at most trailheads that are rectangles.
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