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Old 09-25-08, 05:59 AM   #1
cyclezealot
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Ever spooked a horse while on a bike. ?.

Today, I was riding on this some what narrow country road used by both cyclists and equestrians. So two women were on horseback about 40-50 feet ahead.. I find I am often heard by squeeking my brakes. So, I wanted to approach the horse caustiously, not sure how they re-act.. Should I have shouted . That seemingly is more startling.? So from afar the horse picked up on my hybrid's squeaky brakes.. Next, the horse starts wildly bucking and a little out of control... I shout, ok to pass. She says. Wait.. She gets off the road..
Recommendations as how to approach horses from behind so as not to spooke it...?.. . This has happened before and the horse was used to bikes and no problem.. Not this time..
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Old 09-25-08, 06:16 AM   #2
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Heck, I've startled cyclists by calling out that I am passing them when they don't expect someone to be coming up on them.

I think a good call to the rider would be the best tactic. Where I live horses fall between bicycles and pedestrians.
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Old 09-25-08, 07:50 AM   #3
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When approaching a horse from behind shout "Bicycle approaching!". Otherwise shout a nice hello or such. If the horse reacts like yours did, stop and dismount. It's both polite and safe. Squealing brakes may well have aggravated the situation.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:02 AM   #4
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I confused horses from people... Often my voice is ignored by pedestarians. Guess, not sure if I was talking to the horse or the rider.?.... From my experience, Squeaky brakes seems to be more effective with people.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:21 AM   #5
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We had horses when I was a kid. I took care of them when I got older. Something to remember is that horses are herbivores and their first line of defense is "run away". They are a bit hard wired to panic.

Also, horses are devious. Some will feign panic and shy sometimes intentionally just to give the rider a bit of a change up.

But if the horse has been exposed to traffic and people, they don't have much problem. Of course, always remember the horse defines what a "problem" is and not you.

Our horses generally reacted well to a low calm voice.

When I am near horses, I talk to them so they know where I am. Also avoid getting within easy range of their rear legs. Always assume that any horse will kick at any time for any reason. Even then, they will get you every so often.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:59 AM   #6
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Many cyclist make the mistake of trying to be as quiet as possible when passing a horse. That is probably the worst thing you can do. You need to call out (in a calm voice), before you are close to the horse. They will generally turn their heads to see what the noise is. Then pass quietly and say Hello when you get next to the horse, this will reassure the horse and rider.
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Old 09-25-08, 12:14 PM   #7
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There are sometimes horses along a short section of the trail we frequent. Sometimes as many as 4 in a group. Once as I was approaching the gal asked me not to slow as not to spook her horse. I don't know about horses so I gladly slowed at her request in concern for her safety.

But, a week later on the same stretch of trail, there is a ton of fresh horse dung scattered along both sides of the trail. Shouldn't they also take our safety into consideration?
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Old 09-25-08, 12:38 PM   #8
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GOd I hate descents when there is tons of horse dung..... Guess, I was overconfident, because all other times I passed a horse on a bike, the horse was calm.. I had thought 40 ft was enough of a barrier to not startle the horse as it would seem i am not an imminent threat.. Since cars also can be found on this country path, you'd think a bike would be of little threat to them.?
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Old 09-25-08, 01:19 PM   #9
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When I lived and rode in Texas (San Antonio), we had a couple of routes that took us by several Ranches with horses, cows and even a Buffalo. We we told to keeping riding in a normal manner and all would be fine. Several times, the horses would race along the fence with us making for a good work out. Just maintain a normal pace and if you are coming up on a Horse and Rider, politely alert the rider to your presence so they can maintain control over their steed, just in case.


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Old 09-25-08, 04:01 PM   #10
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I'd say it's a good idea to call out "Bike approaching, okay to pass?" from a safe distance away. I've passed some horses and give them as wide a berth as possible, usually to an appreciative "thanks" from the rider. Give everyone a chance to be on their best behavior.

You can never tell how a horse is going to react. Heck, you never know how a human is going to react!
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Old 09-25-08, 06:42 PM   #11
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We own several horses and have been around them for years. The best I can tell is that horses think that riders are some kind of horse or other animal. Thus the racing mentioned above, but most likely they will spook. When riding by a horse and rider begin speaking in a normal manner, ask the rider if the horse is OK with a bike or simply comment on the weather keep talking the horse will usually settle down. Then ride by.
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Old 09-25-08, 06:52 PM   #12
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Old 09-26-08, 03:02 AM   #13
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I believe much has to do with how much the horse has been around, so to speak.

On a fairly recent tour, I approached a horse with a woman rider and she was very firm is telling me to "Say something... he is a young horse and needs to know you are there". I suppose it's a bit like the advice the Canadians give in regard to bears -- make a noise, such as talking, so the horse/bear knows you are there.

I pass people riding horses along the roadways here... on organised tours. I've done one myself, in which case the tour leader said: "Don't worry about the horses, they know exactly where they are going and the routine". Yeah... like galloping away at a million miles an hour, all together, at one point in the ride!! What I do know is that horses are big and a handful to handle if spooked (or just playin' with ya).

Anyway, the point to that is that those horses couldn't give a horse's patootie about you on a bike or any other traffic on the roadway as they amble along the parallel track.

Slowing down a fair bit also is a good and polite idea when passing close-by on a bike, such as on a trail.
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Old 09-26-08, 04:11 AM   #14
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many cyclist make the mistake of trying to be as quiet as possible when passing a horse. That is probably the worst thing you can do. You need to call out (in a calm voice), before you are close to the horse. They will generally turn their heads to see what the noise is. Then pass quietly and say hello when you get next to the horse, this will reassure the horse and rider.
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