etiquette when overtaking a horse

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by oliver, 9 Apr 2010.

  1. oliver

    oliver Senior Member

    yesterday i was cycling down a small lane when i came up on a horse, luckily the lady saw me and waved me passed, but if i hadent have been spotted what should i have done?
  2. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti
    I usually slow down and let the rider know I am behind and if ok to proceed.
  3. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    You need to catch the rider's attention without startling the horse!

    I slow down when I'm still way back and try to make enough noise that the rider can hear me. For example by back-pedalling, riding through patches of gravel, pulling my brake levers and letting them spring back with a click, that kind of thing. If that doesn't work from a distance, I'd try coughing a couple of times. If there is still no response then a gentle "Excuse me please" should do the trick.

    What you are trying to avoid is the horse being completely unaware of you and then you suddenly making a loud noise or appearing in its peripheral vision.
  4. ACS

    ACS Guru

    I slow down glide until I am in earshot of the rider and say something like "cyclist on your left / right. When Im am are sure the rider has full control of the horse and its safe to do so I pass at slow / steady pace keeping a much distance between me and the horse as possible. A polite 'thank you' once I am out of hoof range and away.
  5. Norm

    Norm Guest

    Kinda +1 but I'm speaking to the animal as much as the rider. The one in control is usually the one with 4 legs. :biggrin:
  6. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    "May I pass please rider?" as soon as I'm in rider's earshot does it for me. Horses have acute hearing and can be spooked by mechanical noises including bells. Voices are what they are used to.
  7. Bill Gates

    Bill Gates Senior Member

    West Sussex
    I call out "Behind You".

    I once punctured a tubular tyre - bang!! when out training with a couple of other riders as I passed 2 x horse riders going opposite direction; causing one of the horses to jump about a bit. The young femae rider on board yelled at me that I did it on purpose. Gave us all a laugh did that.
  8. lukesdad

    lukesdad Guest

    Thread about this in the cafe "Nice horsey"
  9. ChristinaJL

    ChristinaJL New Member

    I always slow down, then call out, not too loudly though, having owned horses in the past some are seriously freaked out by bikes even when they're static, let alone moving. :smile:
  10. WJHall

    WJHall Über Member


    "Good Morning", clearly from a reasonable distance.

    Yes it is rather odd meeting somebody who is likely to be worried by the fact that you are quiet - being quiet is usually considered to be one of the advantages of cycling.
  11. Hont

    Hont Veteran

    How polite are you? *doffs cap* :smile:

    I normally opt for a "mind your back" or "coming through" far enough back that I have to shout for them to hear. Always thank them, no matter how p*ssed off I am that there were three of them blocking the road and on their mobile phones.
  12. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    East Devon
    The sound of your voice is important in reassuring the horse that the strange thing approaching on wheels is just a human being, nothing to be frightened of.

    I called my usual Hello, good morning to a rider on an enormous carthorse (this was somewhere in Shropshire). Passing her I commented, That's a big one! She responded with, Only one horse-power, but one hell of a chassis! And we parted friends.
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    I dunno, I think the speedy silent approach is what frightens pedestrians about the idea of cyclists on the pavement.

    I usually (this is horses now, not riding on the pavement), call out hello from some way back, and talk to the horse as I pass.
  14. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    Always call out 'Morning!' or some such from a reasonable distance.
    I must admit, I do this mostly for the benefit of the horse. I don't want it thinking I'm a predator that will eat horses. Even though I have:evil:
  15. PK99

    PK99 Guru

    The horse knows you are there long before you are in earshot of the rider - the side eye position gives them 350Degrees monocular vision, the only blind spot is directly behind. A slight sideways head movement while you are some long way back is probably the horse having a good look"

    Epsom downs and environs is our prime cycling territory and/we normally find that a widish approach and a single "ding" from a long way back is enough to let the rider know of an approaching bike, but as one rider said recently as i approached on quite a narrow track, and asked "ok to come through?" ...."Don't worry, she told me you were there ages ago"

    Pass wide and slow and observe is the horses demeanour changes as it senses your presence ie skittishness.

    Old hack rides are generally no problem, highly strung thoroughbreds on or around the racecourse are a different beast altogether, and for the safety of all a very cautious approach is well advised, even when approaching in opposite directions. I generally stop till they pass and even then the rider sometimes struggles to control a young inexperienced horse who has never seen a bike before and finds bright clothing intimidating. Travelling in the same direction the opposite side of the road is best, or if i know where they are turning, i simply wait till they move off the road/track and always get a wave of appreciation even when have not spoken to the rider or them having looked back.
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