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[pct-l] RE: Horse Story

All these horse stories reminded me of an incident that happened to me many
years ago before I was aware of the proper horse-hiker etiquette.  I was day
hiking in the Rattlesnake Bar area of Folsom Lake near Sacramento when I
heard a horse group approaching from the rear.  I was on a series of
temporary switchbacks that detoured around a damaged part of the main trail.
As the horse group rounded the bend of the switchback I was on, I stopped,
moved slightly off the trail on the uphill side and silently waited for the
horse group to pass.  I thought I was doing the right thing, but
unfortunately I was doing everything wrong.  The lead horse was ridden by a
14-15 year old girl and the horse suddenly realized I was a living being
instead of a tree when he was about 10 yards from me, put on the brakes,
bucked off the rider, turned around and flew past the other four riders at a
high rate of speed.  I actually recognized the moment when the horse
realized I was a living being-I could see it in his eyes.  Of course all the
other horses got a little agitated with the commotion, but the other riders
managed to stay on their horses.  Luckily the girl didn't hit a tree when
she fell off as there where many oak and pine trees next to the trail.  She
did roll over some poison oak, probably the most abundant plant in this
area, but otherwise appeared to be unhurt.  I felt bad and apologized to all
the riders who told me it wasn't my fault because the horse had been
agitated all day; but I couldn't shake the feeling that I had done something
wrong.  I later learned the proper technique of stopping on the downhill
side, talking to the horse in a calm voice as it approaches, and not to make
any sudden movements.

Horse lovers may be interested in this recent Sacramento Bee story that
deals with wild horses that live close to the PCT in NoCal.  

John Coyle