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Horse Incident!

MccraqueMccraque Posts: 819
edited June 2013 in MTB general
Quite a moment on the south downs yesterday. I wasn’t pootling along – but certainly wasn’t full tilt as had just met some walkers on one of the descents. I slowed for the walkers, continued a bit and took a right hander, as the path opened up, there was a horse about 30m in front. I stopped- not skidding, no brake squeel...just a bit of a rattle as I plopped off some roots. - Still 30m or so from the horse. But, the sound of my bike – even from distance and now pretty much at a standstill, spooked the animal in to jumping up onto its rear feet followed by full on sprint with its rider hanging on for dear life. This thing went mental. Absolutely mental. It had snot and spit hanging from its mouth like a rabid dog

It ran for a good 50m before coming to a halt....the rider screaming obscenities at me. Saying I could have killed her. I was slightly annoyed at this as I’d not actually done too much wrong. She was yelling that this was a bridal way....which I agreed it was and, as such, bikes are allowed to be present. I explained that I got no closer than 30m, was fully in control, not going silly fast and stopped as soon as I saw them. I didn’t want to get into a censored for tat exchange and she was in shock, crying and shaking so I just stayed put and made sure she was ok, Apologised for the incident and then left.

The annoying thing - she never saw the incident at all as was facing the other way...but will be another story in horse circles of a crazed and dangerous biker putting her and her buddies at risk...


  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Silly moo. If she's riding a horse that's beyond her abilities that's not your fault.

    Did she have a nice censored ?
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,572
    Hmmm, the biker / horserider situation comes up in the New Forest too....

    Sounds like you did everything you could - as soon as you saw the horse, you slowed down and stopped. I don't see what else you could have done! Sounds awful for the poor horse rider too, but her horse getting spooked isn't necessarily your fault. I would have done the same, including hanging around and apologising too - i'm not certain you had anything to apologise for in reality, but i'm all in favour of keeping the peace!!

    Sounds like a horrible experience for everyone! :(
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  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    Horses are pretty unpredictable sometimes, doesn't sound there's much you could have done about it. My old neighbour used to have one that was scared of wheelie bins, but only when they were moved by someone. Caused a similar reaction. No riding on bin collection day for her.

    Its understandable in a way that she was upset, I guess she probably thought you were closer than you were to scare the horse so blamed you.

    Hopefully she won't go on about it too much, but that's animals for you - there's always a chance they can do something weird. If riding an unpredictable living animal doesn't suit her she should consider riding a bike instead.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 1,010
    Wor lass rides. Horses are easy to spook, her advice is to make yourself know (a cheery hello goes a long way), rather than the accidental sneak up. Sounds like she did a good job staying on.
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  • MccraqueMccraque Posts: 819
    Silly moo. If she's riding a horse that's beyond her abilities that's not your fault.

    Did she have a nice ars*?

    - about 20 years my senior so didn't really give it too much consideration...

    To he horse point though...I always try to be courteous and the majority of riders are fine. I dare say this incident in particular soured both our rides. There do seem to be a number of horse riders who are a little unreasonable though. like the one who asked me to stop on a fireroad to let her past as I was going too fast. Which was all the more impressive as I was on a huge climb, struggling to keep the nose of the bike on the ground and blowing out of my behind.

    I know we all have to share trails but perhaps a couple of bike only/horse only options would keep things a little more civil....
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    Sounds to me as if she shouldn't have been riding it in the first place to be honest: the horse sounds skittish and she sounds as if she was not quite in control of it. Could just as easily have reacted badly if you'd been walking a dog.

    I do think you have a responsibility to take extra care around horses - in the same way as you would on a shared use path with lots of kids around. But it sounds like you did as much as you reasonably could and you have as much entitlement to be there as she does. I'd not take too much offence at the reaction, to be honest. People don't think too rationally when that sort of thing has just happened to them.
  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    if you were 30m from the horse when it kicked off there is nothing you could have done to get her attention except shouted at her, which would probably have done the same thing.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    The horse is a prey animal {obviously} so it's best not to sneak up on them, it's good to make a bit of noise as you approach or shout "bike" or something. I scared one on the road the other day but it was being walked at the time.
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  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    had a similar thing whilst riding at UK bike park a few months back. we saw her riding her horse - straight across one of the DH trails I may add - we stopped about 20/30m away from them as we didn't want to startle her or the horse.

    the horse became skittish, she shouted that we look like attackers in our full face helmets, we shouldn't be riding there etc etc.

    we were on a DH trail at a bike park, surely it's her who shouldn't have been there?

    but I just think it's one of those situations that's never going to be resolved. as they said in Madagascar "just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave" :lol:
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Mccraque wrote:
    She was yelling that this was a bridal way....which I agreed it was
    Maybe she was just proposing to you...
    I don't do smileys.

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  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    neigh chance
  • mac_manmac_man Posts: 918
    Same happened to me a couple of years back. I came up behind a horse, not going very fast and just the merest bit of noise sent this thing off charging the other way, with the rider pissed off that I'd upset her nag.

    Not quite sure what the problem is with horses here in England... as the opposite seems to be true in Spain. Went to this almighty horse fair event last week and there were hundreds, maybe more than a 1000 horses there. There were fireworks going off at all times of the day... proper loud bangs as well. I didn't see a single panicky horse anywhere. They must build 'em tougher out there.
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  • raldatraldat Posts: 242
    Spoke to a horse mate about this. I live in Denmark and folks seem a little more tolerant here so perhaps not the same in the UK, but her advice was a ring of the bell as you approach then go at a stady pace past giving as much room as possible. I asked her because I had a similar experience a little while back, spooking a horse at a good distance. She agreed that there was nothing I could do in that situation as, if the horse spooked that easily, it was likely to for anything, a bell, call or just riding past.

    You can't please everyone, but I just try to slow, sit up so I don't look like I am racing and ride past walkers, horses etc at a slow, steady and controlled pace. Hopefully we can ll get along!
  • Ben_morrisBen_morris Posts: 61
    What ever you would have done by the sounds of it, the horse would have ran off.

    Just dont shout tesco,
  • _Jon__Jon_ Posts: 366
    If the horse is that easily spooked then she shouldn't have been out riding it in a public place. Anyone nearby could have been injured (not just the rider) by an out-of-control horse.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,069
    Well we agree on something raldat!

    Horses in the Netherlands are equally docile compared to the maniacs in the UK. My cousins all ride horses (to a very good standard) and all of the ones they ride are wound incredibly tight as they all for National/Euro standard 3 day eventing. Trouble is it seems like every recreational horse rider seems to think that they require a Grand National winner to ride rather than one they can control. I ve been riding up bridelpaths (which for me is very slowly) and deliberately kept 10-15m away from horses coming down. 2 walked past fine with a cheery wave but the third totally freaked out and wouldnt walk further. I put my hand out and rested against a wall still clipped in and still it freaked! I put a foot down and it walked past as if I wasnt there...

    In the NL sandy "bridelways" often run alongside the bike paths and I ve been past horses at 40kph with a large roady group with no trouble at all (if I'm on the front I try to shout a warning but usually I just get censored looks from all concerned)

    Genuinely sounds like there is nothing you could have done to prevent the situation but in the riders slight defence the cute, fluffy best friend that gets brushed, kissed and canoodled had just become an immensly powerful, irrational and frightened beast with her on top. She must have been flipping terrified! Horse riders have a nasty habit of being somewhat arrogant about how everyone else should bend over backwards for them too
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  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386

    Families owned horses all my life. Always found British horses , weather being ridden or just standing in a field to spook very easily. Always assumed that was just the way it was.... until we encountered Dutch horses. Seriously f****g layed back, or what? Almost nothing bothers them. Nothing at all. And that tends to be the case with most European horses, not just Dutch ones. Just stare at you with that blank "i could run away in a blind panic...... but i just can't be bothered" look.

    There must be something in the British horses gene pool that is being passed down from generation to generation to make them nearly all so universally skittish.

    On a side note, i almost ended up with my head up a horses censored once (Boxing day, thick freezing fog and ice, couldn't see more than a foot in front of me, mistook the rhythmical "ticking" of the horses hooves on the ice ahead of me as my bottom bracket going kaput.... so was staring down between my legs when i rode between the horses back legs).
  • batmobatmo Posts: 277
    I agree that UK horses seem more skittish because they're too high a proportion of thoroughbred and too little cart horse.
    My own experience is that horses seem calmer when approached from behind if they hear your voice rather than just the mechanical noises from the bike.
    It doesn't seem like there was anything you could have done to avoid the situation OP, good show for not just riding on.
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  • raldat wrote:
    Spoke to a horse mate about this.

    Are you Dr Dolittle?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Stupid woman anyway. Everyone knows horses belong in lasagne.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • raldatraldat Posts: 242
    Apparently so ;)
  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    raldat wrote:
    Spoke to a horse mate about this.

    Are you Dr Dolittle?

    No, his friend has a sore throat.
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Why the long face?
  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
  • sofaboy73sofaboy73 Posts: 574
    sounds like there was nothing you could of done and it was a twitchy horse. for some reason bikes seem to freak a lot of horses out (more than just the surprise element), i think it's their general lack of exposure to them.

    couple of things worth bearing in mond though; i think i'm right in saying that although bridle paths are shared usage, horses / walkers have priority over bikes. i'm definately right in saying in that you v horse, you'd definately come off worse as a hoof to any part of the body isn't pleasent, so always worth being uber careful around them.

    keep doing what your doing and just chalk this one up to experience
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    Apparently bikes remind horses of their predators (what actually eats horses? Other than Iceland customers) But bikes move smoothly and with relatively little noise which makes them think we're a hungry predator creeping up on them and they freak out.

    I always call out "morning"/"afternoon"/"out of my way scumwads" to the rider so that the horse realises I'm a person and not a horse-eating lion.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
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