Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Trail Etiquette and Safe Passing Plans When Encountering Equestrians

ELCR.org - Full Article

December 7, 2022, by ELCR

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to grow at an exponential rate, ELCR joined an unprecedented consortium of trail user groups that came together to create the public awareness campaign “Trails are Common Ground (TaCG)” in early 2021. The campaign elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails. Both ELCR and Back Country Horsemen of America represent the equestrian community on the TaCG Steering Committee. For more information and how you can support the campaign go to https://trailsarecommonground.org/

Equestrians are inherently at more risk of injuries compared to other trail user groups because they are in a sitting position on live creatures which can be spooked or startled upon sudden and unexpected encounters with other trail users. A startled horse can be a risk to not only themselves and their riders but other trail users in their vicinity.

It is important to understand that as a prey animal a horse reacts differently to its environment than a human or dog. Horses also have anatomical differences which provide for their keen senses such as vision and hearing, resulting in them perceiving their environments very differently than other species. As prey animals, horses can naturally be afraid of unfamiliar people, objects, and sudden movement, and may react to a perceived threat with the natural “flight” response of a prey animal...

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