In which there's a safety quiz to share with rider AND non-rider friends


(for riders and non-riders)


1. RIDER:  You see lots of cars with bike racks parked at the trailhead.  Do you:

a.  Cuss, grumble, and go to a different trailhead

b.  Put bear-bells on your horse to alert other trail users to your presence

c.  Put nasty notes on car windshields

d.  Pull on your hi-viz vest

2.  NON-RIDER with a dog: You see horse trailers parked at the trailhead, and you see hoof prints on the trail as you walk.  Do you:

a. Keep your dog beside you as you walk, either on- or off-leash

b. Put bear-bells on your dog

c. Keep your dog on a leash

d. Holler “he’s friendly!” when he bounds up barking at horses you meet

3.  RIDER:  You see a person on the trail walking a dog on a leash.  Do you:

a.  Yell at the person “You have to go away!  I am afraid of dogs!”

b.  Continue walking forward towards the person and the dog

c.  Reverse course to avoid walking towards the person and the dog

d.  Speed up and run over the person with the dog

4.  NON-RIDER:  You see a lot of horse trailers parked at the trailhead.  Do you:

a.  Park your car very close to a horse trailer and block it in.

b.  Screw your earbuds tightly into both ears and don't worry about other trail users as you enjoy your favorite tunes.

c.  Grab an apple from your car and throw it into your pack, just in case you meet a hungry horse and friendly rider.

d.  Use only one earbud so you can hear the sounds of other trail users approaching


5.  RIDER:  You are riding your horse on a road, and see a large, loud vehicle approaching at high speed.  Do you: 

a.  Move your horse to the shoulder as quickly as possible and turn to face the vehicle.

b.  Signal to the vehicle with your hands to "slow down"

c.  Stand your ground in the middle of the traffic lane

d.  Hop off your horse and stand calmly beside him while the vehicle goes past

6.  NON-RIDER:  You are riding your bike or electric pedal-assist bike quietly through the woods, and see a horse and rider coming towards you.  They don't seem to see you.  Do you:

a.  Call out a friendly "Hello!" so they will know you are there.

b.  Quickly and quietly move into the bushes and stand silently so you don't disturb their ride

c.  Hop off the bike and move to the side of the trail

d.  Keep riding forward until the horse and rider see you

7.  RIDER:  You ride into the trailhead, and children there are riding bikes around, yelling and waving their arms in a way that might unnerve your horse.  Do you:

a.  Stay mounted and encourage your horse to stand still to face them

b.  Yell at the kids to quit being idiots

c.  Yell at the parents to control their brats

d.  Hop off your horse and calm him before approaching anybody else

8  NON-RIDER:  You are driving to work and running late.  Ahead on the road you see a horse and rider.  Do you:

a.  Swing wide, into the other lane if possible

b.  Honk your car horn or rev the engine so they will hear you coming

c.  Drive past fast so the horse won't have time to misbehave

d.  Drive past slowly so the horse will not be threatened



1.  RIDER:  You see lots of cars with bike racks at the trailhead.

(a) If you dislike sharing trails, going to another trailhead is valid.  However, please consider adding “bike-safe” skills to your horse’s training.

(b)  and (d) Making yourself more discern-able to other trail users (including wildlife) is always a good safety option.

(c) This isn't necessarily unsafe, but it's really rude.  Please don’t.


2.  NON-RIDER with a dog.

(a) and (c)  Keeping your dog beside you is always best.  Thanks for being polite!

(b)  If you are on more remote trails, a bear-bell will alert other trail users that your dog is there.  Many horses will recognize a “belled” dog as a non-threat.  However, if your dog tends to bark and chase, the bell isn’t enough to maintain safety around horses.

(d)  Your dog may be the sweetest, friendliest dog in the world, but many horses will perceive an animal running towards them as a threat, and may respond by bucking, kicking, or running away.  None of these actions is safe for the rider or your dog.  Please restrain your dog around horses.


3.  RIDER: You see a person walking a dog on a leash.

(a) and (c) If you (or your horse) fears dogs, by all means communicate this to the dog walker.  However, they are not required to leave.  Here’s a better choice:  “I’m afraid of dogs, can you wait there a moment so I can go past you safely?”  If there is not room to do this safely, consider reversing your own course to avoid conflicts between trail users.

(b)  If there is room to pass safely and you are travelling faster than the person with the dog, approach at a walk and call out to them to tell them your intentions. 

(d)  Running people over is unsafe and rude.


4.  NON-RIDER:  You see a lot of horse trailers at the trailhead.

(c)  Please ask rider permission before feeding snacks to horses, and follow the rider's instructions.  Most horses would love to have a treat!

(a) This is rude, and also potentially unsafe for the horse, the rider, and your vehicle.  Give horses lots of room to maneuver for maximum safety.

(b) Deafening yourself to your surroundings isn't safe behavior.  Instead, try option (d) of using a single earbud so you can simultaneously boogie down and stay aware of noises nearby.


5.  RIDER:  You see a loud, fast moving vehicle ahead.

 (a), (b) and (d) are all potentially safe responses, depending on your circumstances.  With an experienced horse, it's fine to move off the road and face the traffic while mounted.  Adding a (polite) hand gesture, which can translate to a friendly wave as the vehicle goes past, is nice but optional.  With a nervous or green horse, hop off and move out of the traffic lane.  Make eye contact with the driver if possible so they will know you are trying to yield to them.

(c)  In a game of horse-vs-vehicle "chicken" there are no winners.  Be safe: give room.

6.  NON-RIDER:  You see a horse and rider coming but they don't see you.

(a) and (c) are both great.  Let the horse and rider know you are there, and yield the trail. 

(b) and (d) pose risk to the horse and rider.  Horses are prey animals, and are always alert for predators approaching or hiding in the bushes...which is what you look like to them when you approach them fast or don't alert them to your presence by talking.  

7.   RIDER:  Children are riding bikes and yelling.

(a) If you feel safe mounted, and can control your horse, use the chaos as a training opportunity.  Be prepared to hop off if things get exciting, so everyone can stay safe.

(d) Hop off your horse and calm him (and calm yourself).  Often, non-riders don't know what scares a horse, and this is your chance to teach them how to be safer.

(b) and (c) are invitations to disaster.  If you are afraid or angry, your horse cannot learn to be calm. 

8.   NON-RIDER:  You're in a hurry and there's a horse and rider on the road ahead.

(a) and (d) are the best actions, especially if you are able to make eye-contact with the rider.  If the horse is spinning, bucking, or if you see a look of panic on the face of the rider, please stop your car and allow them to regain composure.  Being late to work isn't nearly as inconvenient as causing an accidental injury.

(b) and (c) can startle the horse, possibly causing it to buck, spin, or bolt.  These are all dangerous to the rider, the horse, and even other vehicles on the road.  Slow down, smile and wave.  Thanks for your help!

How did you do?  Did you learn anything?  Do you have other quiz questions that should be added?  Please leave feedback in the comment box (below).


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