Trail Users Etiquette June 10th

Hello to all, We did not have hardly anyone turn out, but we were ready.

Those that came were: Helen, who took a lot of photos; Linda, who brought her dog; Lee who brought his Mule Ginger; Mark Woods, who brought his Razar, and Deana & I , which brought a bike and our two spooky girls.


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One Response to Trail Users Etiquette June 10th

  1. Hi Ya’ll, Here is the bit I wrote for the Adams County Record newspaper:
    Heartland Back Country Horsemen held their first annual TRUE- Trail Users Etiquette event at the West Face parking lot across from Bear Creek Lodge this past Saturday. The whole idea of TRUE is to get a variety of trail users- horsemen, hikers, mountain bikers, ATV hunters, Razor drivers, etc. together to learn what etiquette is appropriate when meeting each other on the forest trails. The morning was cloudy with promise of rain so attendance was a bit slim, two horses owned by Bob and Deana Wagner, one mule, Ginger owned by Lee King, a dog named Sis, with Linda Hemminger, Helen Glidden with her trusty camera and Mark Wood with his razor showed up. Even with such a small group we had a good time getting the horses and Ginger used to all sorts of oddities they may encounter on the trail. Mark drove his razor around so as to let the horses and mule see it. We discussed how he should shut down the machine as horses and mules approach him, plus as we greet him he should talk to us, we encourage all trail users that meet horses and mules to speak. Horses and mules will sometimes wonder what is coming at them, especially if it looks weird to them, ie. a hiker with a tall backpack, a mountain biker whoosing silently toward them- horses see differently than humans and if they hear you speak they can relax knowing you are a human, they like the human voice. We had the dog, Sis interact with Ginger, mules can be notoriously defensive about dogs, so we want dog owners to be aware of what sensitivities horses and mules might have to your bouncy, playful, want to lick everyone’s face pooch. It’s best to ask the rider if the horse / mule is used to dogs- many are, but they may react differently to a strange dog that is getting too friendly.
    We brought out the umbrellas- they are often a strange enough sight to a horse to make him want to run for cover. We danced around with them, popping them open and letting the horse sniff them. Horses know what we look like as humans normally, but when you don a back pack, flowing rain poncho with and umbrella, or other equipment that distort your shape their eyesight may not be able to connect you as being a friendly human.
    The point of the TRUE event is to educate folks who don’t know much about horses- how to approach them on the trail, who has the right a way and generally let them see a horse close up. Back Country Horsemen want to help trail users understand how the horse thinks, sees and reacts to you coming down the trail toward them. We gave handouts that point out the nature of a horse or mule and answer some common questions folks may have. We will be having this as an annual event and invite anyone interested to come and see what Back Country Horse riders are all about. Here’s an excerpt from one handout:
    When you meet a group of horsemen on the trail you will find they may be packing in supplies for clearing the trails for every user group. A pack string can carry almost anything that is needed to build new trails or repair old ones. They can carry chain saws, lumber supplies for building bridges- most anything that is needed to make the trail better. Back Country Horsemen chapters are throughout the state and one of their main purposes is to clear trails. Horses are very sure footed on all kinds of trails, going over logs, through bogs, up steep and down steep rocky trails to take the rider to the prettiest mountain lake for fishing, or the highest peak to enjoy the view. Our hope is to help make the trails better for everyone and be able to greet each other with understanding the trail etiquette that will make meeting each other a pleasure. We hope to see you at our next TRUE event and also on the trail!

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