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We tend to ride on the part of the road that would give cars the best view of us since we have hills in curves in West Virginia. (Go figure!) I travel on the outside of curves, and travel on the right going up hills and down on the left so that traffic doesn't crest a hill & find me there. Different states have different rules as to horse traffic going with or against car traffic. Check with your own state.
If traffic comes, I keep the horse moving. I feel like I have better control if I have forward momentum that I can channel. When we're standing still, there can be explosive moves in any direction. That worries me. If it is a green horse, I carry a thick bat/crop on the traffic side to reinforce my leg if I need it.
I stay calm - if I tense up, then the horse KNOWS that something scarey just passed us. I tend to take up one lane of the road. The car HAS to slow and go around us. My older gelding (Rocket) barely cares that there is traffic... He makes a great road block if we're with skittish horses. I take up our lane if we see traffic coming up but not slowing or moving over. If they continue to speed towards us, I turn Rocket sideways across the lane and "direct" traffic. I've yet to have a car that didn't slow down for that, but we're always ready to evacuate, just in case the driver is asleep. Remember that Rocket is 16H, HUGE build for an Arab, and white. He sticks out like a sore thumb!
Our area is rural and horse friendly. Unfortunately we still have a few jerks. One scenario:
I'm riding down a 1 1/2 lane road when a car comes racing by at high speeds and the teenaged driver honks his horn as he passes. An elderly gentleman plowing a field down the road drives his tractor into the road & stops the kid. He brings the boy by his ear, back to me & Rocket to apologize. I was flabbergasted!
About a week later, same road, same kid, still speeding & passing close. Same farmer now planting his field. He stops the kid again. This time, the older man suggests that we all make a 1/2 mile detour to the kid's house to have a talk with his parents. The parents were quite nice about things, apologized, took the kid's car away for 6 months and made sure that we had more places to ride off of the road. (They opened 3000 acres of their property to us for riding.)
MY KIND OF NEIGHBORHOOD. You just have to get used to the killer dogs that come out of nearly every yard to shoo you along.
Blue Wolf Ranch
Bruceton Mills, WV
From: Rhonda K Levinson [mailto:email@example.com]
Subject: RC: Road riding question
In my local area in NE Kansas, I have to ride back roads to get to any
good place to ride, or trailer my horse somewhere. Lately, when I'm
riding back roads, I'm having increasing trouble with drivers who persist
in passing me and the horse with just inches to spare.
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