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horses(12 posts)

May 14, 2001 2:03 PM
Some of you are probably wondering why there is a post on this board about horses, but there is a good reason. A lot of people on this site ride off road and know how to approach a horse on the trail. But has anyone ever encountered a horse walking alongside the road while out riding? I did the other day and was not real sure how to approach it. Some horses get real spooked at the sight of a bike and I can only imagine what happens when you go buzz past one from behind. Any thoughts or similar experiences?
My Friend FlickaMeDotOrg
May 14, 2001 2:29 PM
I've past several many on the road and haven't had a problem yet. Perhaps it's because the horses I've passed are used to seeing trucks and autos, so a bicycle is no big deal.

I always give myself a fair amount of room when I pass, though. I would never allow myself to be sandwiched between a car and a horse...
In NYCThioderek
May 14, 2001 2:51 PM
I pass horses all the time in NYC. They dont even get the least bit spooked as I pass them. I have even experimented with distances and speed without any visible reaction. Mostly they just seem miserable to be on the streets in the middle of traffic.
Blinders (and experience) prevent their getting spooked.boy nigel
May 15, 2001 9:13 AM
I always feel bad for the carriage-pulling horses near Central Park; no way for a horse to make a living. They do look unhappy, though I'm not sure exactly how to tell (Ever see a horse smile?). Police horses have more pep in their step, but they have to--plus, they're not tugging heavy carriages/people around all day.

City horses wear blinders, which keep their focus forward and eliminate their peripheral sight lines so that they keep a straight path and can't see cars/bikes/people come at them from the side.

I suppose they've seen it all in their lives, too; this certainly helps.
Stop and SpeakIxnixit
May 14, 2001 3:36 PM
My wife is horse trainer, so I've had the benefit of actually asking someone who knows what to do.

Her cardinal rule - stop your bike and speak to the rider. A simple "hello" will do. This tells the horse you are a human and hence "okay." You have to remember that horses see you as much larger as you are and cannot distinguish where you stop and the bike starts. In general, you're seen as a predator and their first response can be to simply run away - a bad thing for the person on its back. Of course, this will vary from animal to animal. In our barn (9 Appaloosas) some could care less and some can't stand bikes. And they've all been raised about the same way. So, best bet stop and speak and there will be no hard feelings. I use this philosophy on my local bike path which is shared between equestrians and all types of other users and I can tell you, horse people are very pleased when you treat them with this type of respect.
May 14, 2001 3:42 PM
Look here...
Picture of the year-so farmike mcmahon
May 14, 2001 10:01 PM
That's a great picture. I don't know the story behind it, but I'm assuming that was a horse off in a pasture that got spooked by the peloton and took off running. In any event, I love the look on the boys' faces: Do we just keep riding? Do we stop? Can we draft it?
Eddy Merckx actually looks intimidated!The Kid
May 14, 2001 10:46 PM
I guess it's because "The Cannibal" doesn't eat horses.
re: horsescp123
May 14, 2001 9:52 PM
I agree with that mentioned above. I've got feet in both camps as a horse and bike rider, although my own horse doesn't usually get stressed about bikes. If you are approaching a horse from behind, often its reaction is due to the surprise or scare factor. The horse can't see directly behind and it may react due to the sound or a sudden appearance of a bike (back to the prey mentality). If I want to pass a horse, I generally call out to the rider first - even a "hello there, bike behind". This gives a rider a chance to collect his/her thoughts and at least be prepared for anything that the horse may do, but also gives the horse an indication that it's only a person behind and not some mad horse killing thing.

From the other side, my worst experience relating to bikes with my own horse was when i was at a road junction. 2 teenage roadies came along the road and I halted at the edge to offer them the right of way. One of them pulled out his bidon, took a swig and then as he passed us, without any provocation, he squired it right at my horses butt. Needless to say, that almost launched my horse into orbit. Had I not been at a major road i would have thundered off after them. I was FURIOUS!!! And had my horse not been as good as he was, or perhaps if i was a young kid, the results could have been disastrous. The boys rode off laughing.
just don't surprisegeezer
May 15, 2001 1:06 AM
My standard route through the Lincolnshire Wolds includes a lot roads popular with equestrians. Very narrow single lane roads with little extra room to pass. I just make sure I don't surprise the horse or rider by passing from behind too closely or without in some way announcing my approach. As long as a horse and rider can see or hear you coming, there shouldn't be any problem. I don't see the need to slow, just give as much room as you can comfortably spare and let them know you are there. A friendly greeting is also nice, as equestrians are out doing the same thing you are: enjoying a nice morning out in the countryside. They are usually in the same good mood that you are. Well, at least here they are.
If they are on the road...mr_spin
May 15, 2001 9:29 AM
I think you can assume they are used to cars, bikes, screaming children, etc. I will give the horse a lot of room on the road if I can, and I'll make some extra noise to give it and the rider a little warning, but there is no way I'm going to stop. Give me a break! It's a road! With cars, bikes, screaming children, etc.

Off-road is a different story completely. I will slow down to a crawl and ask the rider if it's OK to pass. I won't stop completely unless they ask me to. So far no one has. On the rare occasion where I encounter a horse when I'm going uphill, I figure I am already going slow enough, and there is no way I'm going to stop!

Quite frankly, I think anyone who rides a jumpy horse in area (on or off road) where the horse can be spooked is an idiot and totally irresponsible. I've never had any problems with the equestrians on my local trails. They are all friendly and their horses well-trained. But I've ridden in other states where the riders won't talk or even acknowledge anyone on a bike. That's real helpful when you're asking them if the horse is going to freak.
re: horsesDINOSAUR
May 15, 2001 10:46 AM
I ride in rural areas and it's not unusual to encounter a person on horseback. I always make it a point to slow down and make some noise, such as clicking my brake handle a number of times, and make sure that the horse turns his/her head and is aware I am there. I did spook a horse once while descending, luckily the rider mananged to control the horse and avoid getting thrown. A loose, spooked horse can do a lot of damage.....