6 Comments

  1. Horses also cause the most damage to trails. I’m all for equal use on trails, but sometimes mountain bikers get a bad rap. Good stewardship and responsible trail use is necessary by all trail users. Whether it’s poop, yielding or moving downed branches, mindful use of the trails is always appreciated 🙂

    1. Brooke: I hadn’t even considered the damage issue. Luckily, on average, the people I meet on the trails–hiker, biker, or horseback rider–all seem to share a sense of appreciation for each other and a gratitude for the existence of a quality place to recreate. What I question is the establishment of a hierarchy, especially in this self-policed world of good people. I get that if we all stepped aside for each other, we’d all be waiting for each other on the sidelines, and so an established set of expectations keeps traffic moving. But as you eloquently point out, it shall also be established that every single user is responsible for minimizing impact and maximizing the experience. Thanks for contributing!

  2. Ah, but they can be skittish beasts and are way bigger than us, so I’m inclined to make way for them.
    But you do make me wonder about something: Dogwalkers can be fined or at the very least detested for not cleaning up after their pets. But dog droppings are tiny compared with equine excrement, yet riders don’t have to clean up after their animals!

    1. Great observation, PG. Yes, I make way for horses for that very same reason, regardless of etiquette. But I make way for bikes, too, ’cause it just seems easier for me to step aside then it is for them. And I suppose that, even though the horse piles are large and I hate having to watch for them when I’d prefer to be looking at the scenery, they are less of a concern than dog waste due to their makeup: grain and grass versus beef, etc. I’ve been told that riders really are supposed to stop and push the piles aside, but there is plenty of evidence to prove that many don’t.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

      1. Agree, horse hockey is more biodegradable, plus it’s easier to spot. I suppose riders find it tedious to stop & dismount for a cleanup. Plus they could plead ignorance because the activity is happening behind them & they’re proceeding away from the smell!
        Also agree with you about cyclists; it’s easier to maneuver on two feet than on two skinny tires.

        1. Tedious to stop: yes. Ignorance: not always. The rider who knows his or her horse well understands the meaning of its belly’s expansion and contraction, the grunt-like push, and the break in its gait. 🙂

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