I've fantasized for a long time about owning an ATV of my own. I comb the Craigslist ads a lot, looking for an old 3-wheeler or something like that. I'd love to have one of those side by sides or something like that, but they are expensive, and seem far safer than I want to be. I like to live a little bit dangerously. Not too much, but a smidge.

However, if you own some kind of off-road vehicle, the folks over at the ATV Maine Facebook page, would like to remind you that you're not the only ones who use these trails. Lots of folks on horseback utilize the trail system as well. It's really perfect for their needs. Compared to riding their mighty steeds on the open roads, trails offer riders a chance to enjoy the outdoors and get out where they don't have to worry too hard about traffic.

But if you are riding a machine and meet up with someone on a horse, there's a couple common courtesies you could follow that will make the situation more pleasant for everyone involved. Horses can be easily spooked, so if you come across a rider, it's recommended that you pull off to the side, and shut down your engine.

According to an article at RidersWest.com, ATV's can scare the horse, and cause it to turn abruptly. this can make it hard for the rider to control the animal, and runs the risk of the rider being thrown off. As you're waiting, take off your helmet and speak to the rider. Your voice will assure the horse that you're human and not a threat. when they've gone by, wait a few minutes before re-starting your engine, and pull away slowly.

Yes, it may cut into a few minutes of your drive time, but it will help ensure that the horse and rider are both safe. And, that way everyone can continue to share the trails without fear. the trails are for everybody to share, so some simple follow-through will make everyone happier.

Paying attention isn't just limited to ATV riders either. Those on horseback should be listening for ATV's and either step aside before they arrive, or even hop right off the trail for a bit. ATV riders will not hear you coming obviously, so it's up to those on the horses to participate in their safety as well. It's a two-way trail out there!!

So everyone out there just keep your wits about you, and make room for everyone on the trail. Whether you're on a horse, or a horseless carriage, watch for your fellow trail rider. It's up to everyone to take care of not just themselves, but each other.


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