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2012 Race: April 28th!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody have a problem with conflicts? All the riders I know in the Redding/Whiskeytown area say they've never had a problem. But then a nasty letter to the editor appeared in our local paper written by a non-local equestrian. Somehow this came out of the Forest Service meetings held in December and a positive review of said meeting by Thom G in the newpaper a few days later.

Letters to the editor: Dec. 30, 2006
Mountain bikers ruin trails
I don't think Mr. Thom Gabrukiewicz stopped to analyze the information he was spoon-fed by the U.S. Forest Service and the International Mountain Biking Association (Column, Dec. 17) regarding the conversion of hiking/equestrian trails to standards that accommodate mountain bikes. There is a good reason for restricting mountain bikes to very specific trails and to a limited number of miles.
Mountain bikes can easily travel at three to five times the speed of other trail users. Cyclists often are on the trail for thrills, challenges and the rush of executing a superb turn around a blind corner at maximum speed. Trails that allow mountain bikes soon become mountain bike-only trails because other trail users will not risk their own safety to pursue their rightful place on a public trail.
Land managers like the Forest Service have struggled for years against the environmental destruction caused by mountain bikers who ride illegally on public lands. The hillsides are scarred by the tires, habitat is ruined and animals displaced. Instead of managing this illegal behavior with law enforcement, the Forest Service has decided, regardless of public outcry or a bad environmental report card, to increase mountain bike access in our national forests.
The wisdom of this venture defies sound reasoning. Our forest trails are used by foot traffic, human and animal. On most days you will find people with their dogs, moms with kids in strollers, the elderly, the disabled, the bird watcher, a few serious hikers and a couple of equestrians on the trails to which the Forest Services now thinks mountain bikes are a prudent addition.
I realize the mountain bikers think it is terribly unjust that they are not permitted on all trails all the time, but where is the justice for those of us who want to peacefully and safely enjoy nature without fearing a life-threatening collision with a mountain bike?

Janet Peterson
California Equestrian Trails & Land Coalition

I checked out the equestrian group's website. Their goal is to have mult-use trail designation (meaning trails mtn bikes are allowed to ride) only for trails where all users proceed at walking speed. I think this group is way off base. Anybody have any experience with them?
 

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2012 Race: April 28th!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm concerned because I've heard the horsies are starting a take back the trails campaign whereby they ride en masse to assert their rights. Its foolish to get into a conflict, we all need to work together to get more trails and maintain the trails we have.

Recently I was exiting BLM's Swasey area singletrack. I came upon 3 women on horses in the parking lot who were headed for the trail. I heard one woman say "Oh great, we're not even on the trail yet and already we see a mtn biker". What kind of attitude is that?
 

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from the flipside

I grew up with horses. We had two. Great enjoyable BEASTS, but they get twitchy and spooked easy. Think of a horse as a freaky-nervous cat. Not all of them, but some. When you understand this, you'll understand why the riders have concerns.

A MTBer has more control over a 30lb + bike at any given time than a horse rider does over a massive animal that is living, breathing and yes even thinking on it's own. If you've ever been kicked by a horses or fallen off one, then you'd understand the rider's concern.

Last week I encountered two horses near a trailhead. I was whizzing my way there when I saw them and I immediately slowed down and gave them the right of way. I don't want to be responsible for the injury of someone who is simply trying to enjoy "their thing" while I enjoy mine.

Mutual respect can help resolve problems on the trail. Zero respect (from either side) will create more problems.
 

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OOOOOOOh Gee Are Eee
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sacto said:
I grew up with horses. We had two. Great enjoyable BEASTS, but they get twitchy and spooked easy. Think of a horse as a freaky-nervous cat. Not all of them, but some. When you understand this, you'll understand why the riders have concerns.

A MTBer has more control over a 30lb + bike at any given time than a horse rider does over a massive animal that is living, breathing and yes even thinking on it's own. If you've ever been kicked by a horses or fallen off one, then you'd understand the rider's concern.

Last week I encountered two horses near a trailhead. I was whizzing my way there when I saw them and I immediately slowed down and gave them the right of way. I don't want to be responsible for the injury of someone who is simply trying to enjoy "their thing" while I enjoy mine.

Mutual respect can help resolve problems on the trail. Zero respect (from either side) will create more problems.
Since mountain bikers are faster than horseback riders and hikers we have a burden on us to be as respectful and aware of other trail users as possible. In the case of horseback riders that includes giving them as much notice as possible that we are approaching and dismounting to pass if the horseback rider requests it. Beyond that there isn't much we can do.

Horseback riders have an obligation to understand their animals and be in control of them on the trail. If a horseback rider is mounted on a 3000lbs animal that they cannot control in a public place, they are jeopardizing themselves and the people around them recklessly. Unfortunately a % of both groups neglect their respective burdens which is where I think the greatest friction comes in. This is exacerbated by the fact that in many areas the trails are overcrowded and poorly managed.

I don't have a lot of conflicts with horseback riders because I avoid overcrowded (Bay Area) trails. If you come ride the less crowded Sierra Nevada trails with me you rarely run into anyone and when you do they are almost always genuinely friendly.

As for environmental issues and trail damage... horses clearly cause much more damage than bikes, I don't think anyone here would dispute that.
 

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What Sacto said. I too grew up with horses and a little bit of care, maybe a soft word or two to assure the horse that yes, the funny looking thing is in fact a human, can go a long way. Who knows, you might get to chat with a pretty girl (lots of 'em ride) while you pet her horse. I still like the smell of horse sweat after they've used me for a rubbing post.

If we pass horses or hikers without slowing (or stopping when appropriate) we get exactly what we deserve, which is lost trails.

As far as the letter goes, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd go ahead and let her brand herself as a zealot, and do outreach to more reasonable local horse associations for trail days and such. Let the good will trickle down to the idiots - maddening as they are, they ain't going away. Much like the neocons.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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sacto said:
I grew up with horses. We had two. Great enjoyable BEASTS, but they get twitchy and spooked easy. Think of a horse as a freaky-nervous cat. Not all of them, but some. When you understand this, you'll understand why the riders have concerns.

A MTBer has more control over a 30lb + bike at any given time than a horse rider does over a massive animal that is living, breathing and yes even thinking on it's own. If you've ever been kicked by a horses or fallen off one, then you'd understand the rider's concern.

Last week I encountered two horses near a trailhead. I was whizzing my way there when I saw them and I immediately slowed down and gave them the right of way. I don't want to be responsible for the injury of someone who is simply trying to enjoy "their thing" while I enjoy mine.

Mutual respect can help resolve problems on the trail. Zero respect (from either side) will create more problems.
I've never had a problem with equestrians. That being said, if the horse you're riding is that nervous and twitchy, one has wonder whether the animal is fit to be ridden among other users.

As for the article, it's full of outright misrepresentations. Nobody has anything to gain from trying to exclude each other from public lands.
 

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I too grew up w/ horses. Ours were trained (if that is possible) not to be spooked since a lot of our riding was on cow trails (now single track) in the hills.

My thought is this and will always be this. If a rider can't control their horse around people or people w/ bikes, then the rider and horse should not be out on the trail. Pure and simple. And I have told that to horse people when I get grief.

That being said, it behooves a mtber to respect the horse and rider too. Get off the bike, announce your self that you wish to pass.

I've only been hassled once, however it will not be the last.

jps
 

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Fireball in the Night
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On the trails, if I see the horse first, I slow and yield. Last week, the equestrians beat me to it and I thanked them and we shared a small-talk chuckle about the rain. Too many times, people find it easier to be divisive in a heartbeat.

~ Rex
 

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yep...

Some horses should not be ridden, no doubt about that. And horses that might be easily spooked should probably not be out in the public. My only real defense of the horse is that we on bikes must remember that it is an animal with a mind of it's own - no more predictable than a dog, deer, bird or a mountain lion.

I just walked by two of CA's finest (mounted CHP officers) walking their throught the local park. These horses aren't afraid of gunfire, screaming people, things being thrown, etc... we could whiz past them all day and ride circles around them! Unfortunately they are not the norm.

When I had my encounter last week I made my slowing very clear, from a distance, so both horses and their riders knew I was not going to go flying by them. One of the riders clearly and loudly said "THANK YOU" as they went by in front of me. Just a moment of consideration can go a long way.

That being said, there are narrow-minded folks who ride horses and MTBs. That will never change and the debate will be endless. Everyone should remember that getting run over by a horse on a MTB or causing someone to get thrown from one, both realities truly can be life-threatening.

Personally, I ride to LIVE! :p
 

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The letter is full of half truths, misrepresentations, and reads like standard anti-biker boilerplate. I did a google search and turned up nothing, Sounds very much like a form letter. Wouln't be suprised.

Here is the original letter:

http://www.redding.com/news/2006/dec/29/letters-to-the-editor/

here is the website of the organization responsible . .

http://www.calequestriancoalition.com/

THIS PAGE is of particular interest:

http://www.calequestriancoalition.c...0Monthly%20Comments%20%96%20December%2006.htm
 

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Let's ride
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[Flame suit]

I ride with some newbies that are much more easily spooked than a horse/rider. Should they not be allowed on the trail, or should all other trail users yield to them?

What if we started to ride great danes, and that whole situation is also very easily spooked by a horse and rider? Maybe then, horses will be disallowed on some trails? Maybe if horse riders understood my great concern of how little control i have over my great dane while riding it, they should start yielding to me, and or keep off the trails. At a full gallop, the horse is easily 2x my speed on a great dane.

What about those huge dumps that horses take on trails? And when i bike over them, i get a mouth full of shite? Anything to be done about that? While riding my greatdane, I have to pick up its dumps.

I watched a horse rider get dragged down the side of a mtn by her horse while her fellow riders watched in horror. Imagine a poor woman's head, bouncing along, hitting the ground, at about 15-20mph, 1 foot caught in the stirrup, dragged down the side of a mtn. I'm there, pulled off the side of the ST, waiting for all of them to pass by. No we didn't spook the horse, it assumed this state even before we made eye contact with the front most horse rider(she was the last of 5 riders). Why some folks choose to take this hobby, and then put some of the responsibility on the other folks on the trail is downright unfair. If i want to ride a motocross bike with 2000 hp, that i can't always control, and want you, the other trail user to respect my needed space and welfare...? what?

Don't read this as I won't pull over for horses; I will every time, and do. I just don't understand why it is demanded. Imagine a world where all the horse riders were required to pull over and let mtbs pass safely. Serves the same end goal... Like that will ever happen. I just don't understand it.

Well said Zorg.

This Janet lady just lost my support. Nice going Janet. She'd be much more successful by building bridges with the trail users, rather than spreading biases, and complete misunderstandings.
I had no idea I was riding just for cheap thrills...

Just a perspective. :mad:

[/Flame suit]
 

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ol'guy who says hi &waves
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rensho said:
[Flame suit]
... I just don't understand why it is demanded. Imagine a world where all the horse riders were required to pull over and let mtbs pass safely. Serves the same end goal... Like that will ever happen. I just don't understand it.

[/Flame suit]
Having been a former horse(s) owner I know the answer to this one. It relates to what Ogre and others talked about.

Horse's eye sight is not that keen. They have survived for millions of years because their nature is to flee at the sign of danger instead of fight. Even trained horses have bad days and when they flee their rider is in for a scary ride...been there done that. For whatever reason, they don't always recognize a familiar person or thing on a regular basis. One day they may walk by street sign another day they'll bolt at the same street sgn.

Having been atop such a animal, I can't even imagine how they would perceive a swift movng predator on two wheels.

When I choose to ride bikes in an equestrian area, I always stop and ask the horse owner how to pass. In turn, on lots of occassions, I've had horse riders pull over for me, but I still stop and ask and they are always appreciative.

The main reason I no longer own horses is, to me, they nothing more than a stupid four-legged stomach.
 

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I am so sick of this issue and the horsie lady rhetoric.

p.s. from that organization's website:
Remember: The horse community is a historical user of trails in California and we should never back away from this topic in our discussions with government agencies.
....maybe horses will get to own/operate casinos someday:D
 

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Here in Oroville, we have all kinds of problems with equestrians... no, let me rephrase that, with a few equestrians. most are decent folks just out to enjoy the day, a few are irresponsible whackos, but its the loudmouthed nutjobs that are heard, and usualy head organizations such as the one mentioned above. personaly, i dont care what they say, im going to ride the trails regardless, and as long they are nice, im nice.
 

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Ride Responsibly
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Petterson is a known trouble maker who tries to pass herself off as representative of equestrians in general.
As legitamate trail users, cyclist need to have good working relationships with equestrians so we can all enjoy more trail opportunities. Folks like Petterson will end up creating a backlash that may lead to horses losing access to public trails, instead of "preserving" all trails for horse use only as JP would like. Talk to local equestrians when you can and ask their views on people like JP, before you know it the horse community will be telling her to shut it. Janet Petterson and her ilk have caused a big division within the equestrian community and more and more "cowboys and girls" are fed up with her.
Oh, BTW, she and others like her monitor sites like this one so they can use some of our own stories as proof we are all degenerate scum.
Janet Petterson is kinda like Mike Vandeman in drag.
 

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I lurk on the NorCal forum because I ride there every year, but I live in Kentucky. This is a conservative snuff dipp'n and hard drink'n state. Out here the horse riders are especially vocal in wanting to keep mountain bikers off the trails. They complain about their horses getting spooked, but they really have an ulterior motive: Horse riders will ride right after a rain, and tear a trail to absolute shreds, creating post-holes and bogs where there once was nice singletrack. They know that mountain bikers have complained about this to the Forest Service, but instead of cleaning up their acts, they resist any effort to have them accommodate other users. The main places of conflist are the Daniel Boone National Forest and Mammoth Caves National Park.
 

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the good will trickle down to the idiots - maddening as they are, they ain't going away. Much like the neocons.[/QUOTE]

isnt it interesting that those you disagree with politically must necessarily be 'idiots', floating near the bottom regarding relative intellect. this is exactly the same view that equestrians have of mountain bikers, its devisive and counter-productive, we all want the same thing at the end of the day, a good ride and the enjoyment of the outdoors, or, a safe and secure place to work and live. when the debate of issues deteriorates into name calling and the dehumanization of the opposition, positive change does not occur, and occasionaly bad policys that do no good for most people get enacted.:madman:
not all mountain bikers are card carrying aclu radicals, a good number of em are gun totin right wingers, it would be a shame if instead of uniting under a common cause, we resorted to sitting around calling each other morons, while trail access gets phased out.
 

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2012 Race: April 28th!
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You guys confirmed exactly what I thought: there isn't a problem. The Redding area is pretty rural, half our radio stations are country/western and there are lots of pickups with gun racks. The trails at Whiskeytown are very lightly travelled especially compared to places like Skeggs or Marin Headlands. I see another person on maybe 25% of my rides. There is plenty of room for everyone.

I'm concerned about Peterson's organization in that they're actively solicting other organizations to be members. They've got 12 other orgs they say they represent. Letters like hers only serve to stir up s**t. And our local newpaper is only too happy to help her since controversy sells papers.

Rensho I love your analogy, it highlights the fallacy of their arguement. otbp_nocal that casino comment is priceless!:p
 
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