Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Darn Those ATV's and Such

Into the Woods and Out Again

Before I start on today's adventure, just a reminder that pictures of me jumping my horses are in the post below for anyone who wonders about what I did in my "life before dressage."

Today was really warm and sunny--in the 70's? It was truly a spring day.

My hay man came to deliver a load without my calling to tell him my supply was getting low. We had a nice chat before I toddled off to buy some dry cat food at Target. (Lowest prices around, most of the time.)

Once I was back home, I decided I needed to go for my exercise walk, and, rather than ride Tucker to get him all overheated, I'd take him out for an energetic stroll in the woods. This time my plan was to pass the "Tucker Trail" and move up a step to the next road into the woods to add some distance, time, and experience for him.

As we rounded the bend, there they were--a pickup truck with two teenagers and two motorcyle thingies.  The boys were sitting on the tailgate talking and their cycles were not running. Good thing, because Tucker's eyes were already bugged out of his head at the unusual sight of vehicles on the trail.

Now, the truck and the cycles are completely illegal out there on State property, but I didn't say anything to that effect. I'm not foolish enough to challenge two "men" in a strange place, so I simply greeted them cheerfully and asked if they were done riding.

They told me they were, and when I asked where they were from, they mentioned a town some 10 or so miles away. (Mental note of this, if I need it....)  I told them I hoped they weren't planning on going on the trail where I was going as Tucker is not exactly behaved around ATV's and such, and they assured me they'd keep the engines off.

Tuck and I moved into the woods and I guess one of the boys moved because suddenly Tucker startled, leapt about, snorting and flagging his tail like a wild stallion.  The two boys noticed, that's for sure, so they knew I wasn't kidding about Tucker's explosive potential.  A second or so later, as I calmed Tucker back down, two other ATV's came roaring up along the field behind the truck.

I called out to my two new "friends," asking them to please stop the other riders from barreling into the woods on the trail I was on--which I think was their plan.  The first two boys quickly stopped the other riders and assured me they'd keep them out of the woods until they were sure I was well gone. (And I guess they did, because I made it all the way back home and was half done with barn chores before I heard any ATV engines out there.)  I guess Tucker's rather dramatic display had convinced the motor riders that indeed, scaring him would be a dangerous risk.


I had planned to take Chance out for a stroll in the woods after I finished walking Tucker, but that was not to be. I simply could not take that risk.  Good thing, too, because as I said, I did here the ATV's out there again. It is SO frustrating. I know I can get Chance to not be bothered by them, but I'm pretty sure it would be very hard to cure Tucker and the same with Toby.  The instinct to buck and run in both of them is pretty solid.  And besides. the ATV's and cycles are not supposed to be out there in the first place.

I ended up lungeing Chance instead.  So he got a little work without sweating up and all was well.

I do need to ride out early in the day on weekdays so I'll be likely to avoid any teenagers who should be in school during the day. On weekends? Well, I guess the best idea would be to get up really early to avoid the sleep in bed late motorcyclists.

Or, I could just hire a few of them to rip around my paddocks and pasture until my horses are immune?

Then again, my pasture is on State land, so allowing that would be encouraging more illegal riding.

As I said, Bummer.


  1. They're a menace and dangerous. If they aren't allowed on State land what are they doing there. Perhaps some BIG posted signs might keep them out, suggesting a fine. You might want to contact the sheriff's dept. and ask for signs, this way they would know what's going on.

    Some of mine are deathly afraid of that noise they make too. Believe it or not Dusty almost stomped me good in the aisle last winter when they started up the snowmobiles across the street. Maybe we could leave a lawnmower running or some other noisy machine to get them used to the noise. Hope you have safe rides without the pests.

  2. At least you opened a dialogue with some of them. For sure, they have no clue the harm they could cause. Hopefully you started their education and word will spread. I wonder if a local motor sports magazine or TV channel would run a story. They could warn the drivers of the liability issues and expenses they might incur, or some such, that would serve equestrian interests as well. Short of that, how about a combined ATV/Horse quadrille?

  3. Anonymous10:16 PM

    Glad you survived unscathed. We don't have those on the trails around here, but there are snowmobiles in the winter and lots and lots of bicyles . . .

  4. Bummer - I totally agree! How frustrating to have that nice land to ride on only to have it ruined by illegal activities. Do they have other places to ride?

  5. yup that's a bummer. we actually found TRUCK tracks up on some single track trails - ruined them - where no motorized vehicles are supposed to go. GRRRRR! thank goodness we weren't riding up there at the time.
    Glad your 'friends' helped.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  6. You were lucky to meet very kind and educated ATVs riders. Here in Italy they would have switch on their engines and make them roar, just to watch your horse spooking for fun.

    Yes I never engage men when I am alone, again not here in Italy where women are a second-rate citizen anyway ...

    Did you memorize the truck immatriculation target? It is something I would have done.

    Well done for chatting them up getting as much as infos as you could!

  7. bummer indeed, but pleased they listened to you.

    can they not gate the tracks to prevent people driving on to them? but that horses could get through?

    we have that problem over here some places as well, very tedious.

    but it's just as scary cantering up a hill to be met by an off road mountain biker screaming down towards you ... can't here them coming!