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April 22 04:15 PM
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Be mindful of horseback riders on area roads


To the Editor:

Now that spring has finally arrived, local horseback riders will be taking to the roads to get outside and ride. It is wonderful to live in Lapeer County where we still have so many tremendous rural roads upon which to ride.

If you are driving a vehicle and see horseback riders, please slow down to pass. Please do not blast your horn. Several years ago, a driver laid on his horn and flew past us as my husband and I rode our horses on Blacks Corners Road. I ended up in someone's front yard trying to calm down my horse. Most horses that are ridden on the road are "road safe'' — they have experience riding on the road and will not "spook'' if a vehicle drives past them slowly. However, it is certainly possible for a horse to run toward the middle of the road if frightened (by someone roaring past in a car, or worse, roaring past and blowing their horn, for example), and run directly into the path of the vehicle. That scenario would most likely be fatal for the horse, the rider, and the people in the vehicle if the horse goes through the windshield.

If you are on a bicycle and ride up behind a horse and rider, please call out to let them know that you are there. Horses are prey animals and view things that "sneak'' up behind them as predators, causing the horse to spook and perhaps rear or run off out of fear.

Lastly, if you are driving a hybrid vehicle, the lack of a motor sound means that you will also be "sneaking up'' on a horse. Horses are familiar with cars coming from behind because they can hear the motor before the vehicle is upon them. If you are driving a hybrid, please tap your horn a few times so the horse and rider know you are there.

Barbara L. Yockey, Imlay City
May 20, 2009

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