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Horse riders - how do you feel about mountain bikers on bridleways?

19 replies

Del1lahdaydream · 17/05/2019 18:07

I used to horse ride (happy hacker) but I’ve had a baby so got limited time and money so now I’m doing a lot of mountain biking as keeping a bike is cheaper and easier than keeping a horse Grin but I still get to spend time exploring the countryside which I love.

I’m obviously aware bikes can really scare horses so when I see horses on bridleways I always speak to the rider & ask if it’s ok to pass, I would never barge past or approach fast as I know that could spook a horse.

I tend to think I’m considerate having been a horse rider myself.

However I’ve come across a few horse riders who seemed genuinely a bit pissed off about me being on the bridleway and one who had a massive go at me (she happened to turn around and saw me before I’d had time to notify her I was there) and gave me a massive lecture about bikes spooking horses.

Obviously I appreciate not all cyclists know (or care) about horses like I do and I try and educate my non-horsey cycling pals!

If you are a horse rider, what’s your feeling towards mountain bikers? Are we hated by horse riders?

During my horse riding days I never had too many problems with cyclists myself, but I appreciate cycling has risen in popularity since then and certainly around where I live there are loads of cyclists (road cyclists and mountain bikers now).

Also if anyone has opinions on what I should be doing other than notifying horse riders of my presence please do say!

OP posts:
countrygirl99 · 17/05/2019 21:18

As long as you are polite and considerate no problem. My horse would look at you askance as he is only used to seeing bikes on the road. 290 bike peloton on the road no problem. Bike on bridleway, what the hell. But we are seeing more recently so he is learning. I expect my horse to get used to seeing random stuff. I need to work on little piglets though.

Ellybellyboo · 17/05/2019 22:51

As a PP said, as long as you’re polite and considerate there shouldn’t be a problem. Listen out for what the rider asks you do to, slow down as you pass and give plenty of room. Call out if you’re approaching from behind

DD’s pony is fine with bikes most of the time, but passing too close without slowing down doesn’t go down too well

We have a huge network of lovely, well maintained bridleways near our yard but unfortunately my daughter has given up trying to use them at weekends as big groups of cyclists use them to race each other on. They’re quite aggressive, won’t slow down and just don’t give any room when passing

YesQueen · 17/05/2019 23:01

All good Smile I always shout good morning or something and most cyclists shout back. My horse isn't fussed unless you are stood by your bike and not on it, and then you are clearly an alien because you should be ON THE BIKE and it puts her brain into meltdown ConfusedHmmGrin

DiseasesOfTheSheep · 19/05/2019 19:52

Provided you don't come around a blind bend at huge speed and literally crash into us, I really don't care - even if the horse decides to be a twit - that's my problem to deal with - bikes are perfectly allowed to be on bridleways, and all of mine are perfectly used to them! I meet a lot of bikes off road, mine rarely react at all and the mountain bikers always seem perfectly nice, if a little too cautious!

DrunkenUnicorn · 20/05/2019 15:16

In addition to the usual things above, the one thing I would REALLY appreciate from cyclists is to be mindful of horseboxes, we can’t easily overtake quickly.

I had another incident yesterday of driving for almost two miles behind a group of 8 cyclists, bunched up into two groups one with five, then about 2 car lengths then another three cyclists. Going down decent width country lanes with twists and turns then the odd bit of straight, enough for a car to overtake. Lots and lots of large driveways and the odd lane/turning that they could have pulled over into to let everyone pass.

If I’d been riding the horse and it was clear I was causing a hold up, I’d have pulled into one of the many available spaces to let the lorry, plus now half a dozen cars, get past as would every rider I know.

I have this issue a lot when out in the horsebox and I’ve never had a single cyclist pull over to let the traffic past. Driving a horsebox is like driving with a full pint on your bonnet. Everything has to be so smooth and gentle- no way can you nip out and round to overtake! It’s not safe for other road users or the horse. But then you get multiple irate car drivers behind, with all of us doing 10/15mph, cyclists either completely oblivious or just don’t care.

So please, if there was one thing I could politely say to cyclists in horsey areas please be aware trailers/horseboxes can’t accelerate and decelerate quickly enough to over take you so we (and every car behind us!) would appreciate if you could pull over if you’re causing a hold up!

PrayingandHoping · 20/05/2019 15:22

As a horse rider as long as you call out and pass slowly I have no issue.

As a dog walker I have real beef with bikers who (wrongly!!) use footpaths! I have a dog who is really scared of bikes so on a footpath my bike radar isn't very alert (unsurprisingly! They shouldn't be there!!!).

stucknoue · 20/05/2019 15:27

All users need to be aware that they are shared resources - so whether a horse rider, cyclist, hiker or dog walker you need to allow others to pass and keep dogs and kids under control, horse owners need to ensure their horses are socialised and taught to be on shared paths without being too nervous. It's all about sharing the countryside

Ellybellyboo · 20/05/2019 15:37

Whilst bridleways are shared, cyclists are required to give way to horses and riders

We have issues locally with cyclists whizzing past too close and too fast and groups racing each other which is making them a bit of a no-go area for riders

horizontalis · 20/05/2019 15:40

As long as you aren't travelling at high speed and shouting "GET OUT OF THE WAY!!" which is what they do round here then everything should be fine.


RatherBeRiding · 21/05/2019 12:11

No problem with bikes on bridleways, so long as cyclists are careful, don't wear acres of bright yellow, and come zooming past with no warning about 12" away from my pony!

I've never actually had a problem with cyclists on bridleways, and have always found them very respectful - call out a warning, give me a wide berth etc. It's the mass peloton of weekend club cyclists racing round the local lanes 3 abreast that give me the rage!!

maxelly · 21/05/2019 16:32

I'm not very much in charity with cyclists at the moment, one too many encounter with them whizzing up behind me without ringing the bell, passing too close/fast, being arsey if you are even slightly in their way for me! I swear there never used to be so many of them, or rather not so many MAMIL types who think they own the road anyway... YY to 'get out of the WAY!!!!' being their siren call (sometimes with some not too choice epithets added for extra joy)

The biggest issue for me is my mare is a bit nervy of things she hasn't heard coming appearing behind her and tends to want to swing around to look at whatever it is which is no good for anyone if there's already a cyclist in her path! So please do ring your bell or politely pipe up 'coming up behind you' or similar if you see riders ahead, be prepared to slow right down and pass as wide as you safely can, not only will the horses be less likely to spook but also fair warning gives the rider the opportunity to move into a suitable passing spot, cyclist on their way quicker and horses stay calm, happy days for all...

I'm sure there are arsey and unsafe horse riders out there too, as well as those on nervy/green horses or supervising children who are probably more stressed about bikes, dog walkers etc. which might mean they respond slightly more negatively than others! I guess if only we could all be considerate of one another the roads would be a much nicer place to be...

NicoAndTheNiners · 21/05/2019 16:40

I cycle on a bridle way and meet horses and never had a problem. I have an unusual bike which horses hate and it has a flag on it which I always take down as I either go past them in opposite direction or overtake.

In fact of going in the opposite direction I stop and see if they want me to go past them or they want to go past me. 99% of horses are going bug eyed at my bike at this point and I want to do what makes it easier for them. If I'm going to overtake I ask and warn the rider the horse may dislike my bike more than usual in case they've not clocked what I'm riding.

It's a recumbent trike and i guess they don't see many.

Chesneyhawkes1 · 21/05/2019 16:57

I've no problem with bikes on Bridlepath's.

I've even seen people on off road motorbikes on them which I know they shouldn't.

They all stopped and turned their engines off for me and the horse.

Let everyone enjoy the countryside I think. As long as they are polite and responsible.

Ellybellyboo · 21/05/2019 17:14

It's a recumbent trike and i guess they don't see many.

We see a man fairly regularly riding on one of these on our lane. Yes, DD’s pony always goes bug eyed at it

He’s lovely and always reverses back into gateways and driveways for horses going past - it must take him forever to get anywhere.

Pony always has to have a good look in all the gate/drive ways on days we don’t see him, just to make sure he hasn’t sneaked up on us

And yes, we get ‘get out the fucking way’ bellowed at us by mamils as they come charging along

NicoAndTheNiners · 21/05/2019 18:10

He’s lovely and always reverses back into gateways and driveways for horses going past - it must take him forever to get anywhere.

I had a very lengthy ride out last year on a forest bridleway where unbeknown to me there was some form of horse endurance event going on. Over the space of ten miles I must have come across over 100 horses going in the opposite direction to me. I pulled in and took the flag down for every single one!

YesQueen · 21/05/2019 19:00

@NicoAndTheNiners I had the opposite! Went out for a lovely hack on my horse and came across 100+ motorbikes doing some form of campaign for the local hospital. Everything from quads to bikes with flags. They were amazing and my horse waited for all of them to pass
Unlike the week after when we encountered some form of power walking competition. Apparently power walking is terrifying HmmConfused

NicoAndTheNiners · 21/05/2019 22:28

To be fair power walkers do look a bit odd. 😂

countrygirl99 · 24/05/2019 12:58

We've got a couple of recumbent bikes round here. They are great and stop and stand up for nervous horses. We've only met them a few times and by the 3rd time my horse "oh them, no problem ".
Generally the cyclists round here are pretty good with horses but we do seem to get quite a few events which are a completely different issue., especially the big sportives.

Booboostwo · 26/05/2019 12:43

Cyclists have a right to use bridleways, you shouldn’t be shouted at for using a right of way. Most of them are considerate of other users but i’ve had two need misses with cyclists who were riding too fast (they would have been equally dangerous to pedestrians at that speed). The first home was many years ago on a relatively steep and stoney bridleway. The bikes were coming downhill, we were going up hill. They were going so fast by the time they saw us they couldn’t stop. They managed not to crash into us, and we managed to keep the horses stationary, but one of the cyclists came off right after passing us. Luckily he only had scrapes and grazes as it could have been a lot worse for everyone involved.

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