Tails & Tires

“Tails & Tires”

A Safety Workshop to Familiarize Mountain Bikers with Horses

Tails and Tires - outdoor classroom.
“Tails & Tires” part 1: classroom-style instruction.

“Tails & Tires” is a 90-minute safety class orchestrated by high school mountain bike team leaders for their members. The class is broken into three segments starting with a 30-minute instruction similar to a classroom, except it’s outside. The session covers physiology of horses, prey vs. predator animals, what causes horses to spook, and the issues created among hikers due to the startle factor.

The startle factor is our name for what occurs when a fast-moving trail user (jogger, mountain bike, cantering horse, etc.) shoots past another person who is stopped or moving slowly. Often, that person can be startled to the point that they no longer feel safe on the trail. This is especially true for parents with kids, the elderly or for one with disabilities.

This class-style session also covers communication and why yelling “on your left” or “on your right” is a dangerous practice.

Tails and Tires - a young man is on a horse, being led by a helper.
“Tails & Tires” part 2: experiencing a horse.

The next segment is the kids’ favorite — they are put on horses and led around at a walk. It’s amazing to see otherwise fearless racers realize there’s nothing to hold onto and how scary it is for some of them.

Segment three is where we demonstrate safe passing skills, where bikers learn how to correctly pass a horse from behind as well as how to pass when approaching horses. It is also a great opportunity for equestrians to learn safe passing techniques and to desensitize their horses to mountain bikes.

Tails and Tires - 4 equestrians on a trail, stopped while 4 bikers ride by slowly.
“Tails & Tires” part 3: safe passing skills.

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Tails & Tires first page
Download the Tails & Tires Workshop