Passing horses

General discussion of any issues that vaguely or not so vaguely relate to stuff about things that concern riding.

Moderator: BAM Moderators

Passing horses

Postby tfdodo » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:10 pm

...some obvious stuff, and a couple of less than obvious stuffs.

On a super sunday observed ride today, we came across a couple of horses on a fairly narrow, high-sided B-road, with no turnings for some distance.
My associate did all the right stuff - slowed right down, as low revs/high gear as possible, used the extreme offside of the road (they were going the same way as us) giving them loads of room, passed very slowly. Well done Wayne - it worked for him.

Horses though (and here is the rub) are not motorcycles. I prepared to do exactly the same, and there was no way the rear horse of the two was going to let me through without unseating the rider and looning off. Maybe it was an irrational hatred of Hondas rather than Yamahas, maybe it just didn't like once-yellow 1-piece suits. But horses are irrational prey animals, and a perfectly acceptable R1 doesn't mean that the Honda behind it won't appear as a ferocious beast intent on topping up on horse-flesh (if only it had known how much of Martyn's burger I had already eaten it wouldn't have worried :twisted: ).

So I gave it some space, pulled left (behind it), killed the engine and resorted to a couple of tactics that may not be so obvious.

Firstly talk to it. Most horses have learned that humans a) don't hurt them very often, and b) are prone to wearing strange stuff and doing strange things from time to time. So a hearty "Good morning!" transforms you from a scary Honda-monster (probably intent on horse-flesh), to a (probably harmless) human with a strange Honda attachment. From that point on it was eyeing me nervously rather than putting in small-to-medium bucks and 18" high bunny-hops. If you're ever bicycling this is also a good idea as it prevents a quiet cycle approach from startling the horse when you're alongside.

As an aside, getting some speed up and trying to coast past is not recommended, as i) a quiet scarey monster (if moving) is even more scarey (obviously trying to creep up!), and ii) you have very little ability to move out of the way should you need to.

Secondly.. this takes some co-operation and understanding from the rider.. if an overtake isn't going to work .. I actually suggested to the rider that whilst I was stopped & engine off, the rider reverse direction, walk her horse (with the less nervous horse in front) back past me, then let me bimble off before turning round and continuing. Horses can be a bit more controllable walking than stopped. That worked fine, but - as I say - you need the rider to co-operate. It's a couple of minutes' disruption for their ride, but [from experience] compared to getting chucked a good 10 feet into the air (which of course doesn't hurt) before landing again (which of course, does :( ), a much better option.

Another aside - horses and riders vary, but typically riders have as much control from on top as from dismounted, so - coupled with the hassle of then needing to re-mount a nervous horse - most won't aim to dismount for hazards as it doesn't help.

An average riding horse weighs about 650kg , mostly of muscle, with two iron-shod hooves at what (if push comes to shove) can be a very high-speed pointy end in your direction. Even experienced riders have to take inexperienced horses onto the roads sometimes, typically at the same leisure time as motorcyclists get. The bridleway network in this country isn't good enough to avoid using roads. So the better we can all get along together, the happier for everyone...
Rubber side down,
Nick A (SO-Team B)

"In a perfect world the future wouldn't make a dent..."

Balance Safety and Joy
User avatar
tfdodo
 
Posts: 1186
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:51 pm
Location: Brizzel

Re: Passing horses

Postby Horse » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:00 pm

Interesting point you make about the yellow suit; I'm sure I read that horses have very good 'rearward' vision (because of eyes towards the sides of their heads), so it could be that hi-viz worked against you . . .

Something that definately stuck in my mind was the pics in the local newspaper of a car that had been jumped on by a horse that ran amok (you'll be pleased to know I'm past that stage now). The car's roof was crumpled and both windscreens smashed in. Horse was fine . . . 1/2 mile later when it calmed down . . .
I assert my author rights: Copyright Design Patent Act 1988 may be quoted in Chain Link posts, but contacted for written consent before any other use/storage/transmission/recording

Argue with me: http://the-ride-info.blogspot.com
Horse
 
Posts: 410
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:28 pm

Re: Passing horses

Postby tfdodo » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:16 pm

rearward vision indeed. horses can see about 160 degrees to each side when facing forwards (don't we wish our "blind spot" was that small [Pan riders excepted :twisted: ] ).
If you want to get geeky and assess the knowledge and ability of the rider ... good riders will always pull their horses heads slightly to the right when traffic is approaching from behind. That way, as the horse (naturally) swivels to keep this potential predator in sight, the head comes further right and the tail [or "sharp kicky end" as motorcyclists could refer to it :eek: ] swivels towards the hedge/ditch/road edge, and away from us.

(fwiw rider on Sunday was struggling a bit and didn't do that).

An advanced rider last night suggested that horse-riders wouldn't take kindly to being "told where to go by a motorcyclist". The one on Sunday was very welcoming to advice. Being close to out of control, on a horse, on a road, is not a great place to be (in several senses). Obviously try to phrase it as a helpful suggestion, not a demand...
Rubber side down,
Nick A (SO-Team B)

"In a perfect world the future wouldn't make a dent..."

Balance Safety and Joy
User avatar
tfdodo
 
Posts: 1186
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:51 pm
Location: Brizzel

Re: Passing horses

Postby BikingNinja » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:21 pm

While working on an overbridge in full PPE we were asked by some horse riders to remove our jackets until they had walked past as the horses tend to get very spooked by it. So it might well ahve been your jacket that set it off.
User avatar
BikingNinja
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 1:01 pm
Location: clevedon


Return to Advanced Riding Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron