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TrailMeister
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Merry Christmas!

I wrote this article for a local horse publication after talking with a good friend and riding buddy the other day. We were talking about some of the crappy trail experiences that we’ve had on horseback over the years. I think we covered everything from fellow horsemen that run past, to bicyclists, to crazy trail use rules. Our chat stuck with me and I’ve whittled down the various problems, and associated resolutions, to nine “guidelines” if you will that will ensure good rides far into the future. While it is intended for an equine audience I think many if not all of the points can easily be converted to use by all other trail users.

The article can be found HERE

Hope it rings true for you and helps bring a little Peace on Earth to our trails!
 

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All fat, all the time.
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Good list!
Can I ask something? I am not a horse rider (aside from a few times in my life...not a regular).
On multi-use trails, why can't horse riders clean up after their animals?

Bikers & hikers don't litter or leave waste in the middle of the trail, why not horses as well?

Just wondering. Please don't take offense by the questions, I'm honestly wondering.
 

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TrailMeister
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Grazi

That my friend is the million dollar question! And no offense taken!

I'll answer for myself, as both a horse rider and a mountain biker. I do clean up after my beast at the trailhead and at any stopping point along the way (such as a campground or such) and I try to keep to the edge of trails if they are wide enough. However I don't typically dismount, kick the **** off the trail and then remount if the beast does pass manure on the trail.
My personal feelings are that herbivore manure is essentially shredded grass (as opposed to dog feces which I do get off the horse to clean up after, damn dog!) and either washes away in the next rain or dries up and flies away as dust.
When I'm on the bike and swerving around piles that my feelings are colored by the fact that I have horses and don't think that manure is a big deal. That and the logistics of removing the manure. A horse produces about fifty pounds of manure a day in 10-12 increments. To pick it up and carry out would be interesting at best.

It's sticky issue (pun intended) and one that I hope can be dealt with in a constructive manner. Bike and horse groups each contribute tremendously to trail maintenance and trail advocacy causes, we might as well work together as best we can. I know I'd love to be able to take the bike into some of the wilderness areas here in WA but cannot currently.
 

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~Disc~Golf~
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Kick it off the trail at least.

Nothin like doin a trailside repair on your bike and grttin horse sh!t on your hands or riding along and haing it fly up into your face - I don't care that it's 'herbavoric feces" - it's still disgusting

(former horse owner - so I know the whole 'recycled grass' thing)
 

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I've seen horse crap last for weeks on a trail. Even in rainy periods I've seen it last for many days. In fact, as it breaks down it tends to spread out and cover more of the trail. Nothing like grabbing the water bottle for a drink and getting poo on hands and mouth. Personally, I could never do anything that would risk subjecting a fellow human being to that experience.
 

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gunslinger
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What's the big deal w/ horseshit on the trail??? Whoop-de-suck man... I ride/share trails w/ horses ALL THE TIME. Run thru their crap ALL THE TIME. We grew up throwing horse dung @ each other, so it's really no big deal.

When following, horses generally see you before the rider. I just hang and wait for the rider to catch on w/ their horse, they look back, see me and move off a bit - easy.

When approaching head on, almost as soon as I see 'em, I'll pull over and just chill until they pass. No biggie.
 

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Second the fact that something needs to be done about horses in the wet. We are building a new trail, and had just made a smooth tranny about the size of a king size bed down from a rock wall (mind you, this trail is designed to be one-way) and a few people on horses came up our freshly raked trail, proceeded to ford a stream to avoid killing themselves on our bridge, and put MASSIVE hoof prints in the new trail. Unluckily, I ended up hitting the tranny and landing in the now crater-filled landing, and ate ****.
 

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TrailMeister
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
selector said:
What's the big deal w/ horseshit on the trail??? Whoop-de-suck man... I ride/share trails w/ horses ALL THE TIME. Run thru their crap ALL THE TIME. We grew up throwing horse dung @ each other, so it's really no big deal.

When following, horses generally see you before the rider. I just hang and wait for the rider to catch on w/ their horse, they look back, see me and move off a bit - easy.

When approaching head on, almost as soon as I see 'em, I'll pull over and just chill until they pass. No biggie.
I do the same and it works out well
 

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All fat, all the time.
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selector said:
What's the big deal w/ horseshit on the trail??? Whoop-de-suck man... I ride/share trails w/ horses ALL THE TIME. Run thru their crap ALL THE TIME. We grew up throwing horse dung @ each other, so it's really no big deal.

When following, horses generally see you before the rider. I just hang and wait for the rider to catch on w/ their horse, they look back, see me and move off a bit - easy.

When approaching head on, almost as soon as I see 'em, I'll pull over and just chill until they pass. No biggie.
I guess you enjoy **** more than most of us. :D
 

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highdelll said:
Also, something needs to be said about not riding when it's sloppy out.
I sure agree with this suggestion. Last spring some horse riders rode one one of my favorite trails right after a major rain, leaving hoof prints 3-6 inches deep. Of course, the trial dried up quickly, but the bumpy hoof prints were still there well into the summer.
 

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Word -

highdelll said:
Also, something needs to be said about not riding when it's sloppy out.
This is my only real complaint with horse-people. (Especially true for the trails I cut on my property.)
 

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My experience with horses on the East Coast has been bad. Horses, in my experience, destroy trails. Occasionally an equestrian will try to keep to the side of a trail, but this artificially widens it. To make matters worse, equestrians generally side with wilderness coalition extremists to kick mountain bikers out of newly designated wilderness areas.
 

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~Disc~Golf~
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classiccanadianblizzard said:
THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE!!! NOT JUST HORSES
I wasn't trying to imply that....it was ONLY for horses..
tho, I think you quoted me for emphasis.
yes?
(BOLD TEXT?)
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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ReeCee said:
It's sticky issue (pun intended) and one that I hope can be dealt with in a constructive manner.
I too, find the disconnect between equestrians opinions of MTB riders impact, and their own impact on the trails, disheartening.

We have some trails that are frequently laden with dung, and yeah, it's kinda nasty. Much like any other situation, folks are great at assuming since it doesn't bother them, it shouldn't bother others. My normal mode is greasy nasty looking hands, all day. I'll rag it off to shake hands, answer the phone etc, but it's the way it is in a one man shop. My wife? She refuses to get near me till I've scoured my hands raw :rolleyes: ;)

I've seen poop bags behind horses tails in parades, the city in parks, etc. I'm assuming there's some very relevant equestrian excuse as to why these are not widely used? To me, it seems a great solution, but I'm sure I'm missing something. When it fills up, stop and dump it on the side of the trail. Heck, old dogs, old people, kids, they all wear diapers:D
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Yeah, I've seen a lot of problems caused by horses riding in the wet. One person on a horse riding in the wet or shortly thereafter can pretty much ruin the trail for all other users for the next year at least. One of my local trails in PGH got hit by a couple horses a couple years back. It was once a fun trail, but the horse prints lasted that whole season until the following winter's freeze/thaw cycles heaved the ground enough to undo them. I couldn't even hike that trail without twisting an ankle.

I'd agree with horse crap, too. I don't care if horse people don't have a problem with it. it's crap. and to me, it doesn't matter what animal the crap came from, I don't want it in my face, on my boots, or on my bike. Diapers should be mandatory.
 
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