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ETIQUETTE

We are all sharing our recreational trail. The signs (yellow triangle pic below) indicate walkers yield to horses, cyclists yield to walkers and horses. This is a safety requirement for all users. It also applies on shared use paths where there is a hardened track next to a grassy/sandy track. Be extra vigilant on blind corners, poor line of site tracks, steep tracks, single tracks and tracks that intersect.

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How a horse sees the world

A prey animal, horses eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads. Horses have both monocular vision so they can see approaching predators with each eye independently, as well as a smaller percentage of binocular vision using their eyes together to see in front of them. In addition, they have blind spots where they can’t see at all. The horse cannot use both monocular and binocular visions at the same time but switches from one type to the other by the position of the eyes and head. A horse may jump forward and spin around so it can use binocular vision if something scares it from behind.

 

When faced with a perceived threat the horses self preservation fear response may cause it to tense its muscles and freeze in place. The horse will have its head raised, nostrils flared. The rider is unable to move the horse out of the way at this point. If the threat is reduced a negative reaction by the horse can usually be avoided. If the threat continues, the horse’s flight response may cause it to buck, rear, bolt, kick, or all four. A horses hind leg kick range can be over 2 metres. The horse may go straight into their flight response if the perceived danger is over their threshold.

 

A horse may not actually be scared of a bike, dog or person. It is the unexpected appearance and movement that causes the fear. This is why horse riders need you to stop so their horses have a few moments to evaluate the situation. Please allow the horse some time.

Videos

Videos

We have collected a small series of videos, for you to watch and share, to make your next visit to the Tangara Trail safe and enjoyable for yourself and everyone you meet on the trail, two and four legged!

Watch how to share the trails

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Wearing Earbuds

Keep volume at a level where you can still hear what is going on around you. This is for your safety and that of others. Alternatively wear one earbud, or none and enjoy the sounds of nature instead.

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Walkers & Runners
Who do you yield to?

Walkers and runners yield to horse riders.

Please read above - "How a horse sees the world."

 

Horse riders always have right of way on the trail. Horses can be unpredictable and easily spooked. Even a well trained and experienced trail horse can sometimes be frightened by something unexpected. They are the slowest to manoeuvre on the trail. Weighing approximately 500kg, a bolting horse is a danger to the rider, other users, motorists, or themselves. Stop and wait. Give the horse some time.  Depending on the situation, the horse rider may prefer you to pass, and indicate this, or ask you to wait while they walk past you, however this is up to the discretion of the horse rider at the time. Please share how many are in your walking or running group if there are more following.

 

We all wish to avoid expensive medical and veterinarian bills.  Years of a horse's training can be undone with a traumatic incident. Children are also horse riding, and young horses are gaining experience. Please help keep us all safe on this shared trail. 

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Stop and use your voice. Step to the side of the trail to allow the horse to pass but remain visible. If you are hidden behind vegetation the horse may perceive you as a predator and be frightened. Staying visible and talking allows the horse to realise you are a human and something familiar.

Approaching a horse from the front

Approaching a horse from behind

Stop and use your voice from as far behind as possible. The horse may or may not already be aware of you. Remain visible and wait for the horse rider's direction. They may prefer you to walk past, or the horse rider may turn back and walk past you first if required, before you continue on. Talking will help to reduce any fear a horse may have. 

When a horse is approaching you from behind 

You may have already noticed the horse approaching. If not, the horse rider should call out. Stop and also speak,  which will reassure the horse that you are not a threat.  If the horse rider wishes to pass, step to the side of the trail but  remain visible.

If possible, stand on the lower side of the track while the horse passes. Standing on the uphill may give the impression that you are larger and more threatening. Remain visible and continue to talk  which will help the horse to relax.

When a horse is passing on a sloped track.

Dog Walkers
Who do you yield to?
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Dog walkers yield to horse riders.

Please read above - "How a horse sees the world."

 

Horse riders always have right of way on the trail. Horses can be unpredictable and easily spooked. Even a well trained and experienced trail horse can sometimes be frightened by something unexpected. They are the slowest to manoeuvre on the trail. Weighing approximately 500kg, a bolting horse is a danger to the rider, other users, motorists, or themselves. Stop and wait. Give the horse some time. Depending on the situation, the horse rider may prefer you to pass, however this is up to the discretion of the horse rider at the time.

Even if your dog is well trained, it is reassuring to horse riders if the dog is put on a lead while passing. In an off leash area, keep your dog restrained until the horse is well past and you are confident the dog will not chase after the horse. Avoid throwing balls for your dog while a horse is nearby, including into water.

 

Horses experiences or attitudes towards dogs vary, so it is also to ensure your dog is protected.

Please share how many other dog walkers are in your group if there are more following. 

There have been incidents on the Tangara Trail where horses and horse riders have been frightened, injured and/or hospitalised due to loose dogs. Our dogs and horses are precious and expensive. We all wish to avoid unnecessary medical and veterinarian bills.  Years of a horse's training can be undone with a traumatic incident. Children are also horse riding, and young horses are gaining experience. Please help keep us all safe on this shared trail. 

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Stop and use your voice. Restrain your dog. Step to the side of the trail to allow the horse to pass but remain visible. If you are hidden behind vegetation the horse may perceive you as a predator and be frightened. Staying visible and talking allows the horse to realise you are a human and something familiar.

Approaching a horse from the front

Approaching a horse from behind

Stop and use your voice. The horse may or may not already be aware of you. Restrain your dog. Remain visible and wait for the horse rider’s direction. They may prefer you to walk past, or the horse rider may turn back and walk past you first if required, before you continue on. Talking  will help to reduce any fear a horse may have. 

When a horse is approaching you from behind

You may have already noticed the horse approaching. If not, the horse rider should use their voice. Stop, restrain your dog and also speak,  which will reassure the horse that you are not a threat. If the horse rider wishes to pass, step to the side of the trail but remain visible. 

If possible, stand on the lower side of the track while the horse passes. Standing on the uphill may give the impression that you are larger and more threatening. Restrain your dog, remain visible and continue to talk which will help the horse to relax.

When a horse is passing on a sloped track

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Bicycling by the Sea
Mountain Bike Riders
Who do you yield to?

Mountain Bike riders yield to horse riders and walkers.

Please read above - "How a horse sees the world."

Horses always have right of way on the trail. Horses can be unpredictable and easily spooked. Even a well trained and experienced trail horse can sometimes be frightened by something unexpected. Weighing approximately 500kg, a bolting horse is a danger to the rider, other users, motorists, or themselves. A collision between a horse and bike could result in injury to all parties. They are the slowest to manoeuvre on the trail. Stop and wait. Give the horse some time. Depending on the situation, the horse rider may prefer you to pass, however this is up to the discretion of the horse rider at the time. 

It is also important that bike riders give way to walkers. Walkers may choose to step aside but bike riders should slow, stop and communicate when approaching a walker.

A decending cyclist gives way to an ascending cyclist. 

Please share how many cyclists are in your group if there are more following. 

There have been incidents on the Tangara Trail where horses and horse riders have been either frightened, injured and/or hospitalised due to an unaware mountain bike rider. Our bikes and horses are precious and expensive.  We all wish to avoid unnecessary medical and veterinarian bills, or bike repairs. Years of a horse's training can be undone with a traumatic incident. Children are also horse riding, and young horses are gaining experience. Please help keep us all safe on this shared trail. 

Stop and use your voice. Move to the side of the trail to allow the horse to pass but remain visible. If you are hidden behind vegetation the horse may perceive you as a predator and be frightened. Staying visible and talking allows the horse to realise you are a human and something familiar. Wait until the horse is past you (at least a few metres) or until the horse rider gives the okay  before continuing.

Approaching a horse from the front

Approaching a horse from behind

Stop and use your voice from as far behind as possible.  The horse may or may not be aware of you. Remain visible and wait for the horse rider’s direction. They may indicate for you to slowly ride past, or they may prefer to turn back and walk past you first if required, before giving you the okay to continue on. It depends on the horse's reaction. Talking will help to reduce any fear a horse may have.

When a horse is approaching you from behind

You may have already heard the horse approaching. If not, the horse rider should use their voice. Stop and also speak, which will reassure the horse that you are not a threat. If the horse rider wishes to go ahead of you, step to the side of the trail to allow the horse to pass, but remain visible. 

If possible, stand on the lower side of the track while the horse passes. Standing on the uphill may give the impression that you are larger and more threatening. Remain visible and continue to talk which will help the horse to relax.

When a horse is passing on a sloped track

Descending tracks

Be aware another user may be on the track. Travel at an appropriate speed and be prepared to stop. Some tracks have a poor line of site due to vegetation and blind corners. If you are about to descend a steep track and  see a horse present on the track, either ascending or descending, please wait to proceed until the horse rider has left that track and be mindful when approaching the end of it. 

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Horse Riders
Who do you yield to?
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Horse riders always have right of way on the trail.

 Approaching/passing other trail users

Acknowledge and communicate with other trail users. Give direction to other users, for example if you would prefer them to pass you, to wait while you pass them, or to wait a little longer if your horse is unsettled. 

Be considerate that some may not be familiar around horses and may feel a bit uneasy themselves. 

Thank other users for their consideration.

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