A letter to the editor from The Big Sky Mountain Bike Alliance

On Sunday morning, July 17, Canyon Adventures led four customers on a guided horse ride. Near the Beaver Creek crossing, the rear horse was spooked by an approaching mountain biker which caused a chain reaction, scattering the other frightened horses. The biker claimed to have rung his bike bell to alert the horses of his presence, but it went unheard. Two riders were thrown from their saddles and one horse impaled itself on a metal fence post. When stopped, the biker was described as being indignant for the horses “not being in control.” The biker fled unidentified. Unfortunately, one customer cracked his rib and the injured horse will be out of commission for the rest of the summer.

For all those at Canyon Adventures, the Big Sky Mountain Bike Alliance (BSMBA) wants to express our deepest regrets. We discourage this type of behavior and expect all of our members to practice trail-user friendliness. It disappoints us that a fellow two-wheeler would endanger your guests, your horses, and the integrity of your business. At the least, we ask that this unknown biker apologizes.

We request that all mountain bikers, when approaching horses, slow down, get off your bike, and notify the nearest equestrian as soon as possible. Horses don’t like surprises, so please approach them with soft, yet audible voices. As told by guides at Canyon Adventures, they will be happy to let you pass as soon as possible. See the suggested guidelines for biker/equestrian interaction.

The more cooperation among all trail users, the more likelihood mountain bikes will be permitted on trails. The US Forest Service has already forbidden mountain bikes from certain trails in our area. More trails are at risk of being lost, particularly, if we do not achieve harmony among user groups.


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