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[pct-l] Re: Horses on the trails

Thanks every one for your comments on horses! I need to hear the complaints
so that I can try and figure out better ways that horses can be hiker
friendly. I am finding there is a certain amount of ignorance on both sides.
I will make a few responses to the posts.

<Dane, if the horsefolks would just clean up the mess and repair the trail
damage their horses did, they <would be ok with me.

I think people should limit areas where there is damage and over use. We
bypass all of the heavy horse use areas like the Bob Marshall Wilderness in
MT. We sacrifice beauty for common courtesy. We try our hardest to avoid
national Parks. Sometimes there is no way around. If I was a normal
horsepacker, I could trailer around such areas. But we are traveling. I
think it would be nice to have two trails in heavy use areas. But I guess
some people think it will disturb the wildlife. Wild animals are used to
live stock and you can ride up to deer and elk like you were not even there!
Try that on foot. We always camp in poor areas because it does not disturb
hikers who would not camp there plus the horses do well in such areas.
Proper management can enhance meadows or even make new one's. We are loosing
our beautiful mountain meadows through fire protection. John Muir was a
sheep herder in Yosemite and many of these meadows are the result. No more
sheep, no more meadows, trees and weeds are taking over. The areas I have
ridden so far, I would say that Equestrians do 80% of trail maintanance.
These horse clubs can easily pack in the tools.Many horse owners have lots
of money . They are not cheap. We could buy a house with all the money we
have in horses and gear! I have seen very few horsemen on the PCT here in
OR. Most of the people stick to horsecamps. Horsecamps do keep a lot of
preasure off of certain areas. Back-Country Horsemen Asoc. Is promoting low
impact and trail maitanance parties.

<You ride in it - we have to walk in it and put up with all the files
because of it!  Not to mention having to get <off of the trail because <you
can't control those beast!

I am sure you meant flies :) I not only ride in it, I have sat in it, it has
actually gotten in our bed and we have slept in it. Probably even ate it
unknowingly. The problem with horsemen is that they really get immune to
horse apples. I try and remind as many as I can to respect others. I keep my
horses moving and the road apples are strung out in tiny apples and they can
break up and wash away much quicker. I am looking into shit bags for our
critters to use in S. CA. We use very potent fly repellent. One once mixes
with 50 gallons of water. If more people used fly repellent then there would
be less biting flies. The shit flies are the same that enjoy elk and deer
scat and they do not bite. I have a problem with hikers scat. It is
discussing to see turned up toilet paper and many places along the trail,
you can smell it. I never seen a horse print around. The flies who land on
it also get in your food and face! Horse packers carry a man's size shovel
and the scat is buried properly. Being a backpacker myself, I understand the
difficulty in burring scat with a meager scoop. Giardia thrives off of human
and beaver feces. It  also causes E-Coli bacteria. 

<2.  Horses really do some great damage to trails when wet.

We never ride in the rain unless it is an emergency or we have to move. We
even had a hiker get upset that we couldn't ride in to a resort to have
dinner together. This lady is a Sierra Club instructor and was dead against
horses. She tests equipment for companies and was writing a PCT guide book.
We met her on the trail and she and invited her to dinner. She was very old
and starving. I was worried about her but she finally made it to camp. She
was able to walk behind us and see how road apples are not that bad if
spread out. She seen first hand how we use low impact and that there was
hardly sign of horses. She left educated on horses and actually said she had
a whole new perspective of them! We had a wonderful visit and she was so
upset we were not going to ride the next mourning in the rain to have dinner. 

I love backpacking. Horsepacking is different. There is nothing like riding
through the mountains on a horse! This is a great privilege and I would
rather be dead than never ride again in the back country. This is why I am
going to do all I can to help educate horsemen to low impact and to help
introduce non horsepeople to horses. I have 4 riding horses called Peruvian
Paso's. They are the ancient horse of the conquistador. They are the
smoothest riding horse in the world. No bounce. They are considered the
Rolls Royce of the horses. I would be happy to go riding with anyone we meet
on the trail. I also need to hear complaints to find solutions and to get
the word out to other riders.  My big problem is with the commercial horse
packers who are using pristine trails. There would not be the damage with
regular riders. These people are going to ruin it for all of us riders. 


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