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Horses on MTB trails

Original Post
Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 49

My home trail, Falcon Trail. Is a multi purpose trail which means horses. These horses can be murder to the trail and I can’t see if the destruction is worth it. The hooves of the horses destroy the soil and rip it from the ground. If it’s muddy, the area turns into a potholed ruin. Then there’s the horse poop. It’s disgusting obviously but it attracts it’s own array of problems. With every land mine dropped on the trail comes a swarm of flies. Some of these flies bite leaving your legs covered in red welts. Although these flies are not usually a big issue if you’re going fast enough, on a steep climb it’s murder. Then there’s the poop itself, it reeks and poses as a hazard. Say you’re cruising down the trail at a good 17 mph. Then you run into that horse poop. Not only does it go everywhere which is disgusting but there’s also the risk of slipping and falling on the trail. Finally, the horses themselves are a problem. On skinny, tight single track the horses are essentially a slow moving boulder blocking your path. Not even hikers can get past sometimes due to fear of “spooking the horse”. If a horse is easily spooked then there is no good reason as to why it should be on a trail where there is high chance of it getting spooked. I honestly can’t stand horses on multipurpose trails and I think they should stick to trails specifically made for horses or keep to the fire roads. Destroying a trail and endangering other users so you can ride a two ton animal at the whopping speed of 5 mph just doesn’t seem right to me. Thoughts?

John Styrnol · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 115

Horses are allowed on a few trails around here. Never came up on one yet, but have seen the remains.

Stephen Dobek · · Winston, GA · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

I have to pick up my dogs poop when I take her hiking.  A horse is just a dumber, less fun, more expensive dog.  Horse people should have to pick those massive dumps up too.

In general I think the amount of trail set aside for horses is way out of proportion to the amount of people that actually own horses.  For instance at Tsali, one of the best places to ride in the East, 2 out of 4 loops are for horses on any given day.  I spent several days there in the fall and saw 0 horses/trailers/horse people.  


Timo Leahy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 79

I personally have no issues with horses sharing trails with bikes.  Sure, it's a little bit of an inconvenience to ride around piles of horseshit and the flies can also be really annoying...

I DO have serious issues with multi use trails that allow horses, but DO NOT allow mountain bikes.  There are several of those here in the Santa Monica Mountains outside L.A., specifically the Backbone Trail and Boney Mountain Wilderness.  (For example only 43 miles of the BBT is accessible by bikes whereas all 67 miles are open to equestrian use.)  

Why would a horse be okay, but a mountain bike forbidden?  Just completely befuddles me.     

Must be the money.  Horses = Rich people = Money = policy.  Here's the kicker though, mountain bikers also have money...and there are a hell of a lot more of us out there so why isn't our money green enough? 

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 49

I certainly agree. A good example of this type of this is in the birthplace of mountain biking itself, Marin California. Many of the trails there are banned to mountain bikers even though that is where mountain biking started in the first place. Many riders in that area have to build illegal trails that are torn down by the city. The reason why they are banned is a group of old hiker ladies who think that all mountain bikers are dirty scumbags that destroy and ruin trails. Things like this get me super pissed and it really bugs me that there are people like this. In my area, my main issue with horses is the damage to the trails. The equestrians don’t care if the trails are muddy, they trudge through our trails leaving them potholed with hoof prints. 

Timo Leahy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 79

I just rode a few trails yesterday that were just destroyed by horses after the recent rains.  What was a nice smooth flowing trail, now looks like swiss cheese.  I actually thought about your post when I was riding over the holes thinking that I do actually have issues with horses sharing trails with mountain bikes after all.  It only takes one horse to destroy the least for a few month before bikes can smooth it all out again.

Not saying that bikes don't make ruts in the mud but the damage is much less and horses don't really mind the bike ruts where bikers do mind the horse ruts.

J Craig Shambaugh · · Camp Hill, PA · Joined 28 days ago · Points: 0

If I were Noah there would have been two less animals on the Ark..

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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