The Safe Approach
In the brochure, “Sharing Trails Safely With Horses,” the Boulder County Horse Association and Colorado State Parks offer these suggestions for mountain bikers and others approaching horses:
■ Speak to the horse in a normal tone of voice to identify yourself as a human.
■ Make yourself visible.
■ Keep calm and avoid sudden movements that could startle a horse.
■ Allow the horse to be on the uphill side of you and the trail where it may feel safer. Something unfamilar from above a horse may trigger an instinctual fear of a predator jumping down on it.
■ Be alert for instructions from the equestrian. Each horse is different and has its own personality.
The brochure also offers advice to horseback riders:
■ Let others know if special care is needed to pass your horse safely.
■ Slow to a walk when approaching other trail users, including other equestrians.
■ Start a conversation as soon as possible.
■ Although horses have the right of way, it may be advisable for horse and rider to find a place to get off the trail, facing oncoming traffic.