This is kinda a personal debate so I will give some background on my experience.
My DD is in horseback riding lessons. Most days they ride in the arena, however, they occasionally go for an 'outside' ride up the driveway and down the road a bit. The road they ride on is considered a 'country' road, however it is paved and goes to the landfill, as well as being used as a short cut to a nearby rural community. The speed limit is 80 km/hr. The road is long and straight, you can see cars coming from a long way off (and they can see us) and we always move the horses to single file on the side of the road (deep ditches prevent moving off entirely) and stop them until the car is passed. Most people slow down when they see a bunch of kids on horses (we have 4 preschoolers on horses, 7 adults walking, and my DS who I pick up), however we had a few bad experiences today with people not slowing down, and when the instructor stepped out to try and signal a truck to slow down today the driver actually honked at her which is not a great idea when you have little kids on horses.
So my question is, what is a drivers responsibility when they see horses on the road? What do you do? Does it make a difference what kind of road it is or if it is kids or adults, or how many people? Is the instructor being irresponsible taking the horses on the road?
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
I would expect horses to only be on rural, quieter roads. I think 80km/hr is pretty fast and is maybe not the most ideal place to be riding with such young kids and such a large group.
What does your state law say about this? The California Vehicle Code (Section 21759) says: "The driver of any vehicle approaching any horse drawn vehicle, any ridden animal, or any livestock shall exercise proper control of his vehicle and shall reduce speed or stop as may appear necessary or as may be signalled or otherwise requested by any person driving, riding or in charge of the animal or livestock in order to avoid frightening and to safeguard the animal or livestock and to insure the safety of any person driving or riding the animal or in charge of the livestock."
I might suggest one of the adults carry a sign saying, "Children on Horses, SLOW DOWN!" And if this were a continual problem, I would ask my local law enforcement to come observe the situation. Maybe a few tickets issued over the next week or two might make people think twice. Another thought is to see if your city or county would post warning signs along that roadway, that's assuming your state has a similar law, of course.
ETA: and yes, I think it's irresponsible to take inexperienced riders on a road, that's just asking for trouble. And especially where steep ditches prevent getting off the road safely.
Last edited by Spacers; 07-22-2011 at 06:50 PM.
David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!
OMG, I am so happy right now. A horse debate!!!!! Yay!!!!!
OK, so first, as an ex-riding instructor, I don't think I would take anyone but experiened riders on the road. Even a country road. Theer are tons of other exercises you can do on horseback other then horsemanship and equitation instruction. So to answer the question of her being irresponsible, I would say yes.
That said, a driver should slow to the same speed as one would see in a school zone (15 usually) or if the horse seems to be spooking or out of control, they should stop all together. Period. It makes no difference if it is a kid, adult, old lady, buggy, etc.
That said, when I was young and had my first horse I didn't take lessons, I just rode. Usually bareback and usually in a very unsafe way. I remember my friend Bonnie and I riding our horses through the McDonalds drive through, lol. Looking back,we were pretty stupid, but it was super fun.
Ditto Lana and Stacey.
I think especially on country roads, it can be dangerous. Not sure how it is in other areas, but our drivers tend to ignore the speed limit on long country roads. And being hilly sometimes cyclists/riders can't be seen. Cars should absolutely be more cautious. But I also agree that inexperienced riders shouldn't be on the road. Stick to the paddock/ring. Even an adult would have a terrible time controlling a spooked horse, let alone a child, if they're inexperienced. It screams disaster to me.
I do think it's irresponsible and I do think cars should slow down. I don't like any kind of animal being near the road, but a horse is even more scary if they have a child on the back of them.
Thanks for the opinions ladies. Sorry for taking so long to respond, we had our sump burn out, then a big rainstorm.....it wasnt pretty.
Would it change your opinion to know that the littles aren't actually 'riding' outside? By that I mean that they are on the horses, hold the reins, but the horses are all on leads being lead by an adult (the reason there are so many of us). The instructor wont let any of the little guys ride 'by themselves' outside of the arena, on the road or off.
My opinion is, that although I really like our instructor, and she is actually a friend of mine, I feel like she is not really looking at reality. She takes the kids on the road (and I could list a number of reasons why I think she chooses to do this) knowing that not everyone slows down for the horses and then she is really mad when not everyone slows down for the horses. Just because you 'should be able to do something' doesn't mean that reality necessarily works out that way, KWIM?
Now I have to decide whether or not to say something to her about this. Do I ask her to not take my daughter out on the road, or do I just let it go? They only do this on really nice calm days, so not very often around here. How would you approach it? Other than this she is actually very safety conscious, so this is a weird aberration for her, should we stop going? Now that I see others opinions line up with mine, Im not sure what to do about it.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
I would like to know the list of reasons she takes them out on the road. Because as a former riding instructor I can't think of any.
I assume you are paying for these lessons, sothere should be no reason why you couldn't go to her and voice your concern. Just say that you don't feel that it is safe for the kids to be on the road considering that the drivers don't seem to slow down. Tell herhow much your duaghter loves the lessons she gets in the ring, and if mayeb they could just domore of that. I don't think you need to stop going overthis, but it is an unnecessary risk.
Also, it isn't going to matter one bit that the horses are being led by adutls if a car runs into them or if one honks their horn and spooks a horse bad enough they rear and bolt.
There are to many variables involved with small, unexperienced riders on horses. They should not be allowed to ride on the road, even if an adult is leading the horse. If you have concerns, considering you pay for these lessons and it is your child, then I would most certainly ask the instructor. Do the kids know what to do if the horse bolts or bucks? It could cause serious injuries. I would also be concerned with a car hitting on of them if they are speeding like that.