A recent article on the Horse & Man blog discussed some of the issues involved in horses and bikes using the same trails (as on the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Landon Nature Trail):

It seems simple enough. Good trail etiquette and safety call for mountain bikers to yield to other users. But when that other user is a horse, some extra precautions are necessary. Why? You could call it the nature of the beast.

The most important thing for a bicyclist to know is that a horse reverts to instinct when it is frightened. As the species developed, survival depended on a good flight response, and that instinct is never far from the surface in a horse. In short, if you spook a horse, it will try to escape. This may include a sudden turn or rearing, which could unseat a rider.

The next important thing to keep in mind is that horses are big and powerful. When you go down and your bike lands on you it’s usually not a big deal. Twelve hundred pounds of horse is another matter.

So it’s very important, for your safety and the equestrian’s, that you not spook a horse. It’s also important, if we are to share trails with equestrians, that we get along.

Read more: MT. BIKERS vs EQUESTRIANS: An explanation of horses to bikers – written by a biker

Here’s a good example of bicyclist yielding to equestrians on the Flint Hills Nature Trail:

FHNT 2010 MicoVelo Horses

This photo was taken during the 2010 MicoVelo Flint Hills Family Fun Ride, an annual autumn excursion on the Flint Hills Nature Trail. (Photo courtesy Kansas Cyclist.)

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