In which I ride my mare, and think about bikes, and ride my good mare more

I've been thinking more about bicycles.

I've been gathering information from mountain bikers about horse/bike interactions, about what they like and what they don't like, and talking about what they can do to help us, and the other way 'round.

Of course, with me, this will eventually lead to some kind of article.  I'd love to do a two-part article of "what bikers wish equestrians knew" and "what equestrians wish bikers knew" but I need to keep thinking.

With that in mind, I did what I always do:

Overcast sky, but no rain yet.  We could use some rain.

Since I'm thinking about bikes as I ride my horse, I try to see the trails as bike riders see them.

Not too much erosion here

Many of the trails I rode today are deeply eroded.  The combination of soft dirt and sandy soil plus trails that are too steep results in deep gullys when the rain falls and runs down the center of the trail.  

Watch for steep banks on both sides of the trail in the video (below):

Bicycles don't mind swooping up and down those steep banks, but of course that motion erodes the trails even more.  In wet weather, the trail tread where the horse feet travel turns to sloppy mud, because the trail is the lowest place, and that's where the water accumulates.    

I clearly recall riding this same trail ten years ago on a much shorter horse, and my stirrups did not bump the ground then.  Today, on my tall horse, they did. 

The solution (as any Trail Master will tell you) is to re-route the trail so that it follows the contour line of the hill instead of racing straight up or straight down the slope.

There is NO slope available at this spot--the entire section is a swamp.
And yes: the trail goes under water in winter.

Easy to say.  Not so easy to convince riders (of horses and bikes)  who have "been riding this trail for years now" that they should change their routes. 

Still workin' on that.

Still workin' on a bunch of things.  

In the meantime, it's good to ride my good mare.


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