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Rock Island Trail Katy Trail Comments
Cyclists and horses

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In regard to the subject of cyclists who do not want to share the Katy Trail with us horse folk, I simply ask that we all be considerate of each other. There are precious few parks open for horse use and countless parks available for cyclists to enjoy. If you do not want to share the trail with horses then please take advantage of the majority of the Katy Trail that is not open for horse use.

As a rider it is my responsibility to manage my horse to ensure the safety of EVERYONE who I encounter along the trail. When I see a cyclist approaching I say hello and ask the person to say something in return so my horse will recognize the approaching form as a person and of no threat. I am constantly looking over my shoulder for anyone approaching from behind and if needed will stop and turn my horse to face the cyclist if he indicates any anxiety. It is greatly appreciated when cyclists who are approaching from behind give out a “approaching on your left” if it seems I am not aware of your position. But most likely my horse has indicated to me that there is someone gaining on us and I manage the crossing of paths without incident.

In the ten years I have ridden the trail from Windsor to Sedalia I have never had a negative encounter with anyone be it a cyclist, runner, or hiker. I am very appreciative to have the Katy Trail available to me and my horse as it is one of the few places we can ride during the spring rains when other places are too muddy. For anyone who has had a bad experience with a horse along the trail I truly apologize and ask all horse folk to please be considerate and handle your horse in a safe manner. I am open to any suggestions that will help others enjoy the Katy Trail as much as I do and ensure we all get along.
posted Mar 6 2013 4:27PM - Gaiting on the Trail, Lees Summit

I have encountered both exerienced, resposible horse riders and those not so much. The same can be said about bicyclist.

One suggestion I have would be that if it is at all possible, stay off the trail when it is wet and soft. Horse tracks leave long lasting bone shaking deep holes in the trail when it dries out for us bicyclist.
posted Mar 6 2013 7:34PM - Gary, Near Tebbetts

Thank you for your comments. You sound like a very conscientious rider, which I do my very best to be on a bicycle.

My only problem, and I mean ONLY, problem with horses is the damage they can do to the trail. I have not seen this on the Katy as I don't frequently ride the horse sections. However I've seen rather terrible horse damage on shared hiking / horse trails. I am sure it is not intentional however when you have a large animal like a horse and muddy muddy track you get damage. Some damage I've encountered is enough to make long sections of trail, especially hillside sections, basically impassable to a hiker. In these instances I feel the trail needs to be managed for either / or. I don't think you can do both.

I hope this doesn't become the case with the Katy horse sections. As long as the trail is hardpack it should be no problem. However if horses do in fact do significant damage (and it only takes one, or one group) then it may ruin it for all of us.
posted Mar 6 2013 9:01PM - Haank, New Haven, MO

As someone who rides both horses and bikes, I will say this. "Horses DO NOT belong on the Katy Trail" I would never ride my horse on the Katy because of the "divits" they leave, especially gaited horses. I disagree with Gaiting, there are many, many places for horses in Missouri which are not suitable for bikes. Bikes and horses are just not made for each other. If you want to ride the Katy, get a bike and leave your horse at home.
posted Mar 7 2013 11:29AM - Anonymous

Interesting...I post for suggestions on how we can all enjoy the trail since we all pay the tax dollars that support the park system and am told by anonymous I should keep my horse off the trail entirely. My suggestion to those who do not want to deal with horses on the trail is to utilize the majority of the trail that is not available to us horse people. Yes, there are other parks open to horses in MO, I happen to live across the street from Blue Gray and enjoy it on a weekly basis. But, Katy Trail being soft gravel dries out much quiker than the dirt trails in other parks which is why I appreciate it being available to horses so I too can enjoy the outdoors when the trails closer to home are muddy.

As for everyone who made friendly suggestions, thank you. I will be cognizant of the level of ground saturation in regard to leaving divots in the trail and appreciate you being willing to share the trail with me and my horse.
posted Mar 7 2013 2:06PM - Gaiting on the Trail, Lees Summit

i am a cyclists and i enjoy seeing the horses on the trial.The people on horses that i have meet were very nice.Lets all ride to gether and get a long!
posted Mar 7 2013 3:08PM - dave, lowry city, mo

To each his own, I suppose. For me, I welcome all who want to enjoy the trail. I have met many on horseback and graciously stop, lay down the bike, and allow them to pass. Awesome creatures very respectful riders. Horses might leave divits in the trail but irresponsible cyclists leave ruts when the trail is soft. Animals deficate, some rude animals actually die on the trail, snakes sun bathe, mosquitoes bite you, grasshoppers jump on you, bees buzz you. It's all part of the deal. Isn't it great to have such a versitile place to ride?
posted Mar 8 2013 7:10AM - Jharte, Kansas City

Just love the Kansas City comment... I too feel we can ALL enjoy the trail.
posted Apr 24 2013 6:22PM - RM, Troy, Mo

A state park near here called Busiek has trails that are designated for horses and bikes both. Few people ride these trails on bikes anymore due to the horse damage. I did for years, but finally gave up, because the mudholes stomped in it by the horses made it at least unpleasant, and at times impassable in sections of the trails. My tax dollars fund that trail along with plenty of other trails that are dominated by horse traffic, so that argument won't stand. I dont get to ride those trails, but horse riders are gona surely fight to make sure they can ride (and destroy) the bike trails. Dodging strings of holes that can be 6-8 inches deep, and riding through piles of horse crap that are then flung up at you from bike tires is not fun. Horses should stay on the horse trails, and off the Katy trail. At least until horse riders are willing to fix the huge amount of trail divots left by the animals, and scoop the poop out of the thoroughfare.
posted Apr 29 2013 7:32AM - Scott, Branson MO

I grew up on a farm in Lee's Summit and we had horses so I'm not opposed to people riding them in proper places. The problem with riding them on this trail is what I encountered today. On my ride from Pleasant Hill out about 12 miles and back I encountered pretty deep horse tracks from 2 horses for about 6 of the 12 miles going out. Someone was obviously riding them when the trail was very soft. I'm not clear what the rules are on horses on the trail, but damage caused by them is just going to cost more money to fix.
posted Dec 31 2016 5:39PM - Mike in LS, Lee's Summit

All that packing down via the Rolling Machine just so a horse can tear it up? I don't think so.
Why don't you want your horse to get muddy feet? I guess I'm not a horse person.
What happens when (and this will happen) a horse gets spooked and starts running out of control and knocks over a kid on a bike? Horses are huge animals. This seems like an accident waiting to happen.
posted Dec 31 2016 7:00PM - boomhauer, kc

I rode the Katy last fall, I didn't really have a problem with hoof prints but really didn't enjoy dodging piles of horse dung.
posted Jan 1 2017 2:53PM - TomWinKC, KC

This looks like its going to be a never ending debate. I share the Greenbrier River Trail with horses and honestly don't give it much thought. Yes, Ive dodged horse scat more than once. What I do if coming up from behind is give them fair warning Im coming up and slow down and let the horse see me. The rider greatly appreciates it and it isn't a huge deal to me. Yes,some horses have spooked and almost thrown the rider off but I have done my part. Good luck on this one.
posted Jan 4 2017 8:09AM - Anonymous

I also don't mind sharing trails with horses. I had one scary incident with a horse and rider when I lived in England. I was climbing up a rural hill and came upon three riders. They gave me permission to pass (I was young and stronger then). However one of the horses still panicked and nearly through the rider. I wasn't in any danger; however, the horses and riders were.

Like Jharte, I now stop or slow down for horses. If I do pass one, I slow down; get on the other side of the trail or road; and make a lot of noise.

If you don't like horses on the trail, how about the 6 cows that blocked my way on the Rock Island last year!
posted Jan 4 2017 4:01PM - Jerry Whittle, Belleville Illinois

I have been riding the trail since 1996 usually several time a year, have done the whole trail so many times i have lost count. I have done the part from Clinton to Sedalia where horses are allowed many times, since i live in the Kansas City area. I rarely encounter horses on the trail and haven't seen any lasting damage from their use. I don't mind sharing the trail with them and have always found horse people to be considerate and friendly. This discussion comes up all the time when someone has a bad experience usually because someone (guess who) won't slow down and and effect a safe pass, either the horse owner or cyclist gets on the forum and tries to start a war over it. Please Pease can't we all just get along.

Thanks for reading, end of rant
posted Jan 7 2017 2:17PM - Allen, Shawnee

Horses on the trail are cool by me. My only beef is when they ride when the trail is soft and tear up lots of divots out of the surface. These then harden and become a pain for cyclists later. No fun.

But horses on a dry, hard trail? Zero issue.
posted Feb 2 2017 10:36PM - MB

What bothers me is the Amish using their buggies on the Katy Trail. Twice we have encountered a loaded buggy which in itself takes up the whole width of the trail. We have had to step off in the weekds or ditch just for them to pass. This has happened just east of Windsor.
posted Feb 10 2017 4:39PM - Pam, Independence

If the horses could be confined to the shoulders off to the side, they would be of great benefit to the trail. Enough of them could pack it down like concrete.

Instead of a bike lane on the roads.......a horse lane on the trail?
posted Feb 10 2017 5:13PM - LK, Columbia

Tags: Windsor, Sedalia, Route Suggestions, Weather, Running, Horseback Modify Tags

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