Horses – A rant

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  • Horses – A rant
  • hugor

    Horses are pretty shit really. They are old technology. They are dangerous, dumb, inefficient and do not serve any constructive purpose in urban environments other than ingredients.
    They may serve some purpose in rural settings and should remain there.


    It still astounds me why anybody in their right mind would sit atop a 1000lb animal that is terrified by a plastic bag!

    Nutters, the lot of ’em


    @ mrelectric, I think part of the reason for that is we’re often attacked for all manner of selfish behaviour. By way of defending ourselves we have to be seen to be responsible to try and get the opposition onside.
    This tends to mean we have to be a bit OTT in order to get recognition that we’re not all cretins skidding round coners and digging up local beauty spots.


    hugor, I live on the isle of wight which is predominantly rural.

    Premier Icon davetrave

    Basically what IanMunro said. Assuming its a bridleway there is very little you can do especially as there is only a statutory responsibility for bridleways to be of a standard suitable for horses and not bikes.

    Bridleways should also be accessible on foot, which, by the sounds of things, this one isn’t. That’s the way I read the OP’s post – it’s not just about him being able to ride the route, or not, on his MTB, it’s about the overall impact to all users…


    you could try your local ROW Officer (probably on your local council website)

    In the case of a RUPP?BOAT being overused/damaged by vehicles a TRO(Traffic Regulation Order – usually a temporary, dated ban to a specific user type) would be issued by ROW officer and that would make it a criminal offence to use the RUPP?BOAT. As I understand it the ‘surface’ of the ROW is down to the council and I’d say (if it’s like some tracks where I am) you had a case for arguing that the horses were being used inconsiderately and to the detriment of others. [See last para, 2nd last sentence)

    “• If the highway is a bridleway it may be used for riding or leading a horse, as well as for
    walking. Cycling is also permitted, providing the cyclists give way to riders and pedestrians.
    Driving a horse-drawn vehicle is not permitted.”

    “Duties of the highway authority
    • Maintain the surface of highways, and control vegetation (other than crops) on the surface of
    field-edge paths and those enclosed by hedges, fences or walls and on set-aside land.”

    “Traffic Regulation Orders
    It is common in towns and cities for the highway authority to restrict or prohibit the use of a
    highway, for example at certain times of day or by certain types of vehicles. The same kind of
    order – a Traffic Regulation Order – may occasionally be made in the interests of conserving
    natural beauty and promoting recreation and nature study. They are mainly used to limit
    vehicular traffic, but can also be applied to footpaths and bridleways to forbid walking, cycling, or
    horse riding. Notices explaining the restriction or prohibition must be conspicuously displayed. It
    is an offence punishable by a fine to disregard them.”

    “The law specifies minimum widths for rights of way that are restored after disturbance or kept
    clear of crops. For rights of way across a field the minimum widths are one metre for a footpath,
    two metres for a bridleway and three metres for other rights of way. On the field edge, these
    widths are increased to 1.5 metres, three metres and five metres respectively.”

    “There is no set standard to which rights of way have to be maintained you will find some in
    better condition than others. This might be because of the level of use (for example, a lot of use
    may lead to erosion, and infrequent use to more vegetation). On byways open to all traffic, the
    highway authority is not obliged to provide a hard, metalled surface or to maintain one. Country
    footpaths and bridleways are unlikely to have a firm dry surface at all times. It is normal for
    them to be a little overgrown in summer or muddy in winter – so be prepared and dress
    appropriately. A path should never be so overgrown or muddy that it is impossible to use. All
    rights of way should be appropriate for their expected use, with reasonable care taken by the
    highway authority to ensure that they are safe.”

    Premier Icon FOG

    My ex-wife was a riding instructor so I am probably not the best person to give a balanced view but to be fair an awful lot of the horse sorority , it was mainly girls, were fine. Just a few behaved like kn**s, just like MTBers really.


    They are old technology. They are dangerous, dumb, inefficient and do not serve any constructive purpose in urban environments other than ingredients.

    Bit like fixies then?


    If you are riding on a bridleway it is all in the word bridle.These tracks are meant for the use of horses.There are very few places to ride a horse safely in the U.K.Riding in the road leaves you in danger from car drivers who think they own the road-motorcyclists always had the sense to slow down and leave space for horses.The most dangerous thing for a horse and rider is a cyclist coming from behind and out of sight, so if you can let people know you are there.I have been in Spain for the last nine years and things are very different I think because many motorists also ride horses and cycles.We ride our horses and bikes on the same gravel tracks and all users seem to have a lot more respect for each other.

    Premier Icon mrelectric

    Good point. Public RoW are the normally the local Council’s responsibility to maintain.
    I’m a member of the Bradford RoW Forum (soon to become the Local Access Forum) and blocked, degraded/eroded paths are regularly brought to the attention of the Council services and action is taken. These are raised by forum members and by the public direct by email & phone.

    I would say that the horse riders, ramblers and cyclists work pretty well together with Council and landowners. Much as out and about really….


    I spent the whole of last week riding my horse around West Somerset. I spent 90% of my time on very quiet country roads, despite there being miles and miles of available bridleway. Why? Because the Bridleways are still very wet, soggy and easily damaged by horses hooves.

    To answer a couple of misconceptions: Horses are not tame and they are not domesticated; they are trained. They are also far more intelligent than most people (riders and nonriders) give them credit for but they react instinctively to perceived threats and danger. Lastly, their feet are very sensitive to different surfaces, and broken stony surfaces are as dangerous to a horse as the are to a bike.

    To my horse, a flappy plastic bag is a fun thing to stamp on, to a less educated horse, it is a scary monster that is going to try and bite it in the belly (as a natural small predator would). To my horse a cyclist approaching fast from behind MIGHT be a predator, and so he will shift (fast) until he can clearly see that it is not. To a less well educated horse, a cyclist approaching fast from behind (road, mtb, electric or shopper), is a predator, attacking from behind, and so it will run, fast in an effort to outrun the predator (lions in Africa chasing Zebra, David Attenborough and all that, ring any bells at all?).

    Why do I ride? For the same reason I ride my bikes; because it’s bl**dy good fun and because, when we choose to, we can run at 20 to 30 mph, jumping over fences, logs and banks two to three feet high, and over ditches three or four feet wide without missing a beat.

    As for horses off roading capabilities, I have ridden my horse into and out of quarries, rivers and lakes, that I couldn’t even contemplate on a bike and up and down slopes that I could barely manage of foot.

    Just remember that America was explored and populated long before cars and roads existed, thanks to horses.


    Did somebody say horses can’t jump fences ?? I thought there were whole sports devoted to this very activity ?? Although that would make the showjumping at the Olympics much more interesting, when the rider has to get off and throw the horse over the jump. The Grand National might take a bit longer to run tho.


    I was going to post something similar but don’t have my own horse. Fast canter through trees is easily as good as fast riding. I wouldn’t say this to my wife but a bunch fast canter/gallop is probably as good as the best moments in riding. When you put your hands forward and let a fast horse go flat out it really is fantastic.

    You can feel the ground through the horse in saddles common in this country. However you might not notice a slide too much, depends on what the other legs were doing.

    I would try and find out where the riders are coming from. They’ll be a school or livery yard nearby. Then you may be able to engage. They might have concerns over bikes. You may be able to work towards improving conditions for all.

    I’d also book yourself in for some lessons, might enjoy it.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    AndyRT – Member

    Horses are just giant rabbits with a saddle. Would you want to ride a big bunny?

    The way you ask that question suggests that you wouldn’t? But that can’t be right.

    Premier Icon bigdean

    The bridelways between southwell and epperstone are bad with dried horsey divits making the ways a cobbled pain. TBH i was on the ridgid single speed but the large erroded bogs that the horses have left is dissapointing. Tonyas challange might have to be on the full suss this year.


    The bridelways between southwell and epperstone are bad with dried horsey divits making the ways a cobbled pain. TBH i was on the ridgid single speed but the large erroded bogs that the horses have left is dissapointing. Tonyas challange might have to be on the full suss this year.

    It’s unfortunate the Bridleways have been damaged, as when they dry out into cobbles they will be as unpleasant for horses as they are for bikes or walkers.

    The trouble is, we have just been through the longest wettest autumn and winter just about anyone can remember, and just like Elite athletes, horses must be exercised. As has already been said, the roads are no safer for horses than they are for cyclists, and I have been tail gated, beeped and shouted at and received my (un)fair share of ‘hand signals’ when riding my horse as I have when riding my bikes. The only alternative to the roads are Bridleways, and so needs must when the Devil drives.

    As has also been said, all horse are ridden by people, some are ar$eholes, but most are pretty good, a couple of conversations with yard owners and local riders might even get enough bodies together for a combined working party. We have done it a couple of times, and provided the land owner does not object, I have never heard of a ROW Officer complaining about people repairing Bridleway surfaces for them.

    Premier Icon AndyRT

    Northwind, I may have ridden a few bunnies in my time, but nothing big.

    Well, maybe one or two.

    (My max was 14 hands)

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