Horseback Riders vs Mountain Bikers: Can we all just get along?Nov 11, 2019
Santa Monica Mountains, Equestrian Trails, Mountain Bikers, Corba, ETI, hikers and bikers and riders, Agoura, Parks and Recreation, Riding trails, horse property, equestrian real estate, Calabasas
Corba (Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Associate) and ETI (Equestrian Trails International) have some conflicting ideas about public trail use. Both non-profits have ambitious ideals about expanding available trails for their respective sports. Unless they resolve differences and make compromises, their methods could backfire and defeat their purposes. If there is enough attention drawn to the occasional freak accident, caused by ignorant or reckless bikers and/or horseback riders, the National and State Parks could revoke privileges afforded both aficionados.
A letter circulated by the recently elected president of ETI has some local chapters of ETI, known as “Corrals” seeing the red. The red is the blood of the victims who have had tragic encounters with bicycles while riding the trails on their horses. The new president, Bob Foster, is pursuing ways in which bikes and horses can co-exist. To many local ETI members, it’s best to simply ban bikes from single track trails.
To read the letters from ETI pres Bob Foster** and the response from CORBA**** see below.
From their websites:
Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association was founded in 1987 to serve the mountain bicycling community of Los Angeles and surrounding areas including southern Ventura County. CORBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to gaining and maintaining public trail access for mountain cyclists and the public at-large. CORBA encourages and promotes the safe and environmentally responsible use of unpaved roads and trails for bicycling and to educate the public about all aspects of off-road cycling and trails.
ETI is Dedicated to the Acquisition and Preservation of Trails, Good Horsemanship, and Equine Legislation
Check back with this blog to read how each organization proposes to resolve their differences! Input, comments and suggestions are public and welcome.
Letter #1 from Bob Foster ETI
President’s Message by Bob Foster
I want to thank the membership for your confidence in voting me in as your new
I am honored and willingly accept this responsibility and vow to continue in the
I have served as this organization’s 2nd Vice President for the past two years. With
I look forward to working with our National Board as well as our re-elected 1 st Vice President Keelie Buck and newly elected 2nd
Our first priority is our membership. We must continue to attract new members to this great organization with safe, worthwhile,
Our next priority is trails and legislature. More homes less trails. Developers are thinking of the green stuff, and it’s not grassy
We are living in a time when more and more folks are taking to the trails to enjoy nature. There are more hikers, equestrians
I believe through education and training, we equestrians can learn to co-exist safely with the hikers and the bikers. I will be
As this New Year begins, I expect many good things to happen and welcome any
Letter #2 from Bob Foster, ETI
In this message I want to thank all who understand and agree with me that, as an organization, we need to provide trail safety training. I also want to derail ill feelings among any who misread my recommendation for and offer to conduct such training. An offer of safety training is not an endorsement of mountain biking on horse/hiking trails.
My focus is on the actual problems we face today. Not all trails are hiker/equestrian trails and so marked. We all know of single track trails classified as “Multi-Use” that accommodate hikers, riders, mountain bikers and special vehicles (for the disabled). Horsemen on such trails need safety tools.
Equestrian Trails Inc. always has and continues to focus on the well being of the equestrian community. To that end, it serves no useful purpose to demonize any organization not equestrian even one that, without constraints, threatens equestrians. Multi-use trails encourage multiple varieties of users. In self-defense we had better learn to get along.
I do not as Bob Foster or as the president of ETI, advocate changing multi-use trails into horse only, or support adding users to hiker/horse only trails. There simply are trails that will not safely support both equestrians and bicyclists and this must be legally and officially recognized.
Have I reached out to the bicycling community? Of course I have. If we are to make positive changes in our unavoidable contacts with cyclists, they need to be included in training for their safety, as well as ours, and we need to become proactive in preventing disaster by inuring our horses to the sight, smell and sound of other trail users.
As the President of ETI, there are goals I hope for the organization to achieve, as follows:
Creation of a trails video that addresses trail etiquette and actions to take around cyclists.
ETI is an active participant in the general equestrian community. We are prepared to deal with equine issues and to raise the safety bar for members and the community, at large. ETI is also known to bring along horse loving youth, so they become the next generation of responsible and sensible horse people.
Let me again assure all that I have never nor will I turn my back on ETI or the equestrian community. In fact, I hope to announce the first ETI multi user training program for June of this year.
**** Letter from CORBA
It was recently brought to our attention that newly elected president of Equestrian Trails, Inc.
Now I’ve been doing this advocacy thing for over 25 years, and I’ve experienced a lot of
But then something like Robert Foster’s reasonable position comes along and I think to myself,
Over the years we have heard many reasons people feel mountain bikes don’t mix on shared use