[at-l] Horse Plaque---

bluetrail at aol.com bluetrail at aol.com
Thu Jan 14 16:14:12 CST 2010

I can't think of a reason why it would be of any particular advantage to be uphill or downhill when you get off the trail, except maybe if the horse is going to spook, it might be better for the horse and rider to spook uphill rather than down.  (Jan and other riders, do you have any thoughts on this?)  Jan's absolutely right about asking the rider is he/she has a preference where you go.  The reason for a group to get off-trail on the same side is that it does give the horse/rider a kind of option to "fudge" the trail a bit and avoid the scary hikers by inching away some.  

If the group is on both sides of the trail, there's no clear exit strategy for the horse, and the hikers on both sides of the trail can look like a gauntlet of scary monsters.  You're easier to skirt around if you're all clumped on one side.  And remember to talk quietly as they pass.  Something like, "I am a hiker and I won't hurt you."  or "Hello' Big'un.  Don't be scared." in sweet tones will do.

And horses (at least the half-Thoroughbred/half-Clydesdale mare I had for 10 years) aren't always as smart as Frank's dog.  About every 5th to 7th time I rode Tinkerbell by the garage where I boarded her, she decided that monsters lived in there.  And this went on for 10 years.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Lite <liteshoe at gmail.com>
To: giniajim <jplynch at crosslink.net>; at-l <at-l at backcountry.net>; bluetrail at aol.com
Sent: Thu, Jan 14, 2010 3:42 pm
Subject: Re: [at-l] Horse Plaque---

Perhaps the best thing, when there is uncertainty upon meeting a horse,
is to engage the rider in conversation and ask what they think would ease their horse' mind. A terrified horse in not safe for rider or foot traffic. Or itself, in some steep/sketchy situations.

Usually, a cooperative spirit goes a long way. However, if you get a tense scared rider who doesn't feel in control of the situation and fears getting hurt, you may a sharper response from them than they might intend otherwise. Fear can make folks snappy.
I'm not excusing rudeness, just pointing out common situations from decades of observation. Sometimes the kindest thing for the scared rider (and, thus the horse) is to allow them to direct your movements.

And, as Joan wisely said, don't wave stuff around or get big. Sometimes I've taken my pack off, so the terrified animal could relax and see I was just another person.
I know that that sort of accommodation might irritate some hikers, but so be it. On legal mixed-use trails, we might as well figure out how to co-exist.

>Message: 3
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:41:09 -0500
From: "giniajim" <jplynch at crosslink.net>
>Subject: Re: [at-l] Horse Plaque---
To: <at-l at backcountry.net>,     <bluetrail at aol.com>

>Joan, thanks for the detail about a group hikers move off the trail *on the same side*; that's a nuance that I hadn't heard before.  Now a question: if the trail is on a hill, and the hikers can as easily move off the trail to one side or the other, which is preferred, to go to the uphill side, or the downhill side?  I've got my own opinion, but I've never heard anything definitive.

 ----- Original Message -----
  >From: bluetrail at aol.com
 To: at-l at backcountry.net
 Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 2:31 PM
 Subject: Re: [at-l] Horse Plaque---

"The Ordinary Adventurer" 
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