Contributed by Kathy ThistlethwaiteSharing trails with pedestrians, cyclists, landscape crews, city workers, etc..
Cell phone use
- Right-of-way: While the rider has the right-of-way, this courtesy isn't always known, or respected.
- Start a conversation. Many horses are more relaxed once they identify the "foreign object" as a person.
- Be respectful of people who are afraid of horses - give them a wide berth to go around, keeping your horse under control ("he won't bite" will never be believed).
- Be an ambassador to the sport of trail riding - be open to Q & A from other trail users.
- Those conversations can be great de-sensitizing moments for a bike-wary horse.
- A friendly conversation can come back later as a future trail rider supporter.
- Stop and let the kid pet your horse when it's safe to do so.
Riding in groups
- Hang up and ride! Enjoy the trail and your present company.
- If you have to make/take a call, pull off to the side of the trail and stop while you attend to business.
- Condition your horse to the ringtone of your phone.
- Have emergency numbers easily available.
- Cell phones should be carried on your person. A loose horse with the cell phone in the saddlebag isn’t helpful in an emergency.
- Goal - EVERYONE in the group comes back safe and happy.
- Ride to the level of the weakest rider/greenest horse (hopefully they're not together).
- Don't leave a rider behind.
- Horses are herd animals, cater to that "safety in numbers" philosophy.
- Horses may panic if they think they are being abandoned by the herd.
- Facing the last horse can often calm it down while it catches up to a group (a good strategy when waiting for obstacles to be completed in a trail trial).
- Respect warning signs - any horse, suitably annoyed, can kick or bite.
- Ride with distance between you (don't tailgate!).
- Red ribbon in the tail - give extra distance - may be a kicker with excellent aim.