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 Post subject: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:34 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
As is the case most Saturday or Sunday mornings, I was out on my horse this morning.

As it was sunny, so were a lot of other folk.

I was riding up the long hill that leads out of the village when I spotted a road bike coming down the hill. I was concentrating so much on what turned out to be a chap in his 70's on a nicely weathered Olmo that I was not aware of the three lads coming up behind me until they called out "is it OK to pass?", I said yes fine and past they came in a neat line on their Specialized and Giant carbon exotica.

Later in the same ride, I came across a group of about 20 mtb'ers on the road. They were all struggling towards me up a pretty decent hill on full sussers and wearing helmets and body armour. We exchanged a few jokey comments and off they went.

Later on the same ride, I was now starting to climb a steep rocky bridleway. I had just got to the first blind left hand corner and.... yup, the mtb'ers were coming down. The first couple had a bit of a shock, but I positioned my horse off the path so that they could ride past, and assured them that he would not be bothered. One of the guides stayed at the edge of the track and called to approaching mtb'ers to slow down and keep riding.

And all was well, they finished their ride, my horse did not turn a hair and managed an naughty nibble of some cow parsley (which he loves), we thanked one another and off we all went.

Finally, about a mile up the track I saw another lone mtb'er coming down hill fast. I pulled off the track and shouted to him not to worry about slowing down, he came rattling past and thanked me.

I know some bike riders are nobs, I know a lot of horse riders get pissy with anyone else on 'their' path (in my opinion this is because they are in fear for their life due to their inability to handle their horse, but that's another subject), or give the impression of being a long way up their own, usually rather large, bottoms, but in reality, it ain't so hard to get along.

I was going to post this thread on Singletrack, but.. well, you know. :roll:

Note: In order to train a horse to be calm when they encounter bikes, they need to encounter bikes and have their rider keep calm, so don't blame the horse, blame the rider.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:47 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:13 pm
Posts: 2574
Location: The Cock Inn, Tillett, Herts
I encountered 2 horses on my ride round the forest this afternoon. The trail is narrow, and while I could have been rude and squeezed past there's little doubt I'd have come off worse if a 3/4 tonne horse had gone all Schwarzenegger on my arriss. So, I pull to one side and took the opportunity to take on some water and admire the two fit looking ladies in jodphurs.

I've always been respectful around horses, and I've yet to meet a horse rider that has been anything other than courteous and friendly in return.
I think an arsehole minority from both pastimes get far, far modern attention and discussion than their numbers justify.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:09 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:23 pm
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i think the important thing as said is to treat ohers how you would like to be treated.

and to be in the position to think ' at least i wasn't the c*nt in that encounter' :)


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:18 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Chopper: I thank you on behalf of all horse riders and tend to agree.

I was riding a bike in a local woodland a while ago and saw three horses, including a Shire, walking towards me. I pulled over and so did the two other riders with me. The riders thanked me and the guy riding the Shire told us that the horse was frightened of bikes, so I talked to the Shire and told him what a 'good boy' he was. The rider looked pretty gobsmacked that an mtb'er would know about horses.

A bit of courtesy works wonders.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:50 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:33 pm
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Location: The Home Of Mountain Biking, And All Great Things.
I bet he was even more gobsmacked when the Shire replied.

Newer bikes with the chattering discs and such make lots of weird noise to an animal and can be very frightening for them.

I am always amazed at how little space drivers give you when you are on a horse. Some are great, they cut their engines and drift past. Most cyclists seem to be fairly horse aware. You are more in touch with things riding a bike.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:54 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:16 am
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Location: Camden, London
seems horse riders round us have taken a leaf out of the cyclists in London's books and started using the pavements rather than the road judging by what I saw last week as was driving in Farnham :roll: not sure what the rider expected any pedestrians to do.............


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:25 pm
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Location: It's not easy being a dolphin.
Good post; especially as I'm not a fan of the bike - horse mix (along with dogs). I've been in the ditch a few times due to a startled horse. Once had to ride in a 3 ft snow drift as an alternative to being kicked off the bike; of which I was helped out of the snow drift by the "mother" horse rider who also apologized for her "daughter" not controlling the horse or being aware of what is happening around.

Cycling at night fall with no lights in a forest and meeting a bunch of horse riders galloping (equally with no lights on) was also a good brown chamois moment. Think some jodphurs must have had Ariel treatment too :wink:

Like cyclists, not every horse rider is experienced and courteous; but ultimately (unlike the iron horse) a horse does have it's own brain and sensors and may act like the beast it is and thus it always will have the right of passage when I encounter one. A friend who rides horses told me it's best to make a constant volume and regular noise when approaching to overtake as the horse can gauge distance that something is approaching from behind - seems to work well.

When eye contact is made with the horse rider there's never really been any issues and a lot of mutual respect to enjoy the country side.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:55 am 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
My horse and I talk to each other all the time, his replies may not be verbal, but they are clear to me. :wink:

I have to confess that we do occasionally use the pavement, to avoid being run down. A Policeman told me off and said the traffic must drive round us, that's easy for him to say, he has a uniform and a rather distinctive car both of which have an amazing effect on local driving standards. However, when he's not there....... Car drivers around our way are pretty good, the worst offenders in the getting too close behind and not giving enough room department are elderly drivers, I don't think it's malice, just pi$$ poor driving caused by poor eyesight. :evil:

Anything approaching a horse directly from behind is perceived by them as a threat, noisy or quiet, as that is where a predator in the wild would attack from. If you move out to one side (over close to the white lines if on the road), then they can get a better look at you, and many horses will prick their ears up and look around, if the rider does not react to such a clear message.... well, no comment.

Some horses can be spooky and flighty, mine was when we first got him, but it is still the responsibility of the rider to train the horse to get used to things like tractors (with and without big clanky trailer) cars, cyclists, dogs, scary green recycling bags, terrifying tigers disguised as carrier bags, puddles that absolutely for sure have a crocodile in them, the list is almost endless.

Training horses takes time, so it's always worth giving a horse some room, but equally the horse rider should be aware of and acknowledge the cyclist, and a quick word or two will soon clarify the situation for both.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:37 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Location: Moomin Valley
I always make sure the horse hears me, ears in my direction so its not likely to get excited by a large smelly ape cycling by. I ignore the rider (sorry Neil!) and concentrate on not spooking the horse.

On a side note, was 'testing' my old RS1600i and came across a stereotypical girly horse rider all clobbered up as if she was at Burleigh House but sans horse... She was a bit red in the face (and a bit large to be honest, poor horse!), her horse had thrown her and buggered off out into the country side. We were near the A1M so I was a little concerned and decided to give her a hand. I have never seen such a happy horse! running through the fields completely ignoring its owner/rider. It took about 40 minutes to sort it all out.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses and cyclists.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:54 am 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
legrandefromage wrote:
I always make sure the horse hears me, ears in my direction so its not likely to get excited by a large smelly ape cycling by.


That's the kiddie! Can't ask for anything more.

In most cases it is probably best ignoring the rider.

As for the run away horse... it happens.

I hopped off to open a gate and left my wife to hold my horse, she didn't realise I wanted her to hold H (my horse) and so I opened the gate, he said "thanks guv" and happily started to canter around a freshly tilled field :facepalm: :oops: I walked towards him and he thought it would just be the funniest thing ever to run off and make me do the walking for a bit.

My wife caught him after a few minutes (and too many hoofprints) and we carried on with our ride. :roll:


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