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Subject to Whimsy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just seeing who has had experience dealing with equestrian groups regarding trail access, maintenance & construction.
Given that mountain biking and horse riding on the same trails is probably a tenuous scenario at best, I am wondering what advice is available out there.

Thanks in advance.
 

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saddlemeat
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Keep them on separate trails is the best solution, otherwise you are just biking on a horse trail. Your soil type and weather is perhaps the most important criteria though. Horse trailheads require more space and infrastructure based on observation.
 

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Subject to Whimsy
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Keep them on separate trails is the best solution, otherwise you are just biking on a horse trail. Your soil type and weather is perhaps the most important criteria though. Horse trailheads require more space and infrastructure based on observation.
Separate trails would be the ideal solution indeed except I don't believe I'll have that luxury, at least not initially.

The existing trail network where I live have mostly been developed over the years by the local horse groups and they have a long history in the community.
I have no choice but to attempt to work with them.
 

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You can plan on...

Separate trails would be the ideal solution indeed except I don't believe I'll have that luxury, at least not initially.

The existing trail network where I live have mostly been developed over the years by the local horse groups and they have a long history in the community.
I have no choice but to attempt to work with them.
riding in horse crap and on chattery trails. We just completed a multi-use trail system and we were able to seperate the trails:thumbsup:. I hate riding with horses. In the wintertime your trails will be unrideable due to the divots the horses leave...they will never dry out.:madman: You will constantly maintain these trails so if I were you...I would push for some trail expansion for both parties and keep em separated.
 

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Maybe you can use the existing horse trail system as a access method to get to specialized mountain bike trails that you will have to build. The idea of a stacked loop might work well. Intermediate mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the horse trails. Expert mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the intermediate mountain bike trails. You might be able to identify the peak areas where the horseiness of the trail creates a negative experience for mountain bikers (high horse traffic, churned up areas, horse/bike conflicts) and route the mountain bike trails around those areas.
 

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Subject to Whimsy
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe you can use the existing horse trail system as a access method to get to specialized mountain bike trails that you will have to build. The idea of a stacked loop might work well. Intermediate mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the horse trails. Expert mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the intermediate mountain bike trails. You might be able to identify the peak areas where the horseiness of the trail creates a negative experience for mountain bikers (high horse traffic, churned up areas, horse/bike conflicts) and route the mountain bike trails around those areas.
This is along the lines I was thinking and thanks for putting it into words.

I'm not real excited about having to deal with horse riders but I have little choice. The Municipality I live in has not been terribly accomodating for other trail users simply because the equestrian groups have held sway over the area for so long.

Any organized mountain biking interests have either dissolved or spent too much time building stunts while the opportunity to have a say in the trail network slips away.

I'm hoping that it's not too late to get involved and have a say.
 

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Let the arguments where you differ stand on practical reason, and in the meantime continue to find common ground and work on common goals.
The arguments used against mt. biking in terms of compaction and subsequent erosion are more relevant to equestrian and motorized. Just is... That being said if a trail is only breaking down in a handful of areas, would it not be easier to have horses as pack animals to bring in resources for mt. bikers to fix said problem areas?
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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If trails need to be shared I would at least go for separate trailhead facilities, even if it's just a fence/brush visually screening two halfs of the same parking lot. It's nice to let the horses get out, stretch their legs and get settled to where they are without a bunch of bikes zooming around. A spooked horse with a rider on it can be dangerous, but having a horse bolt from the trailhead without a rider on it can become a big PITA real quick.

Also, try to get a quarter mile of horse only trail leading out from the equestrian trailhead. Most horses will drop a load within the first couple thousand feet of trail.
 

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Maybe you can use the existing horse trail system as a access method to get to specialized mountain bike trails that you will have to build. The idea of a stacked loop might work well. Intermediate mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the horse trails. Expert mountain bike trails leaving and connecting back into the intermediate mountain bike trails. You might be able to identify the peak areas where the horseiness of the trail creates a negative experience for mountain bikers (high horse traffic, churned up areas, horse/bike conflicts) and route the mountain bike trails around those areas.
Great idea with the stacked loops. :thumbsup:

If trails need to be shared I would at least go for separate trailhead facilities, even if it's just a fence/brush visually screening two halfs of the same parking lot. It's nice to let the horses get out, stretch their legs and get settled to where they are without a bunch of bikes zooming around. A spooked horse with a rider on it can be dangerous, but having a horse bolt from the trailhead without a rider on it can become a big PITA real quick.

Also, try to get a quarter mile of horse only trail leading out from the equestrian trailhead. Most horses will drop a load within the first couple thousand feet of trail.
Also. Great idea.

I would also recommend that if you're working directly with them, that some signage at the trailhead showing shared trails, MTB/Horse-specific trails, and some trail sharing guidelines would be perfect. That way, you have some passive education for new equestrian and MTB riders about etiquette around the other user group.

We have horse and MTB guidelines that we can provide for you. Feel free to email me justin (at) treadlightly (dot) org
 

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Unpredictable
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Hopefully after doing it all correctly you will not face the same argument we got this weekend when 2 horses rode down one of the MTB trails and argued that they had consulted the council and were allowed on all trails in the State Forest. Sorry, but this is not SF, it is National Park and horses are excluded beyond fire roads unlesss otherwise posted. It was an argument that could not be won and this was within 30m of a traihead sign specifically excluding everything except MTB from the trails.

At least the OP's nag lovers have a history of trail maintenance. Our local riders never help with trailcare and seem to like singletrack better than common sense would dictate. However, if everyone has enough trail to keep them happy and take ownership of their trails, then it will be better for all.
 

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Master of the Face Plant
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Here in San Diego we try to work with the equestrians but they have been quite devious. We do almost all of the trail work and they ride the trails. We never see them on trail work days and after we maintain the trails for years they lobby the city council to have us banned. They also have a sweet deal on a land lease near one of our local canyons where they pay next to nothing. They are supposed to clean up after the horses and maintain certain portions of the trail designated for horses only. They never do either.
 

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Here in San Diego we try to work with the equestrians but they have been quite devious. We do almost all of the trail work and they ride the trails. We never see them on trail work days and after we maintain the trails for years they lobby the city council to have us banned. They also have a sweet deal on a land lease near one of our local canyons where they pay next to nothing. They are supposed to clean up after the horses and maintain certain portions of the trail designated for horses only. They never do either.
Extend invitations for trail work days to them via email and on their forums, keep track of the (non) response and submit to City Council to not the lack of involvement of the equestrians.
 
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