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During the last Critical Mass, there was at least one rider, and I got the impression that it was actually a handful, who caused some consternation among the horse-and-carriage drivers.

Apparently a rider or riders tried to pat a driver’s horse as they rode by, which startled the animal considerably. I was riding at the back of the pack and got a HELL of a tongue-lashing from the man on the carriage, and I told him that I would reach out to the group to educate them about horses.

1. Horses are REALLY BIG.

2. Horses AREN’T very smart.

3. The horses on the Plaza are under a lot of stress already.

4. The horses on the Plaza wear “blinders” which prevent them from exercising their peripheral vision. Theoretically this helps cut down on distractions and spooking, but it is not a cure-all, and is certainly no help when a fast-moving object (the cyclist) approaches from the rear of the animal.

5. Just like you don’t rush up and pet a strange dog without asking its owner, it is rude (and potentially dangerous) to touch any animal without permission.

I’m sure nobody in this group would intentionally distress or tease an animal, and that the “pestering” of this horse was not meant to be cruel at all, but the fact remains that the critter was spooked, and I got my ass chewed because somebody else didn’t know any better.

So please, spread the word; leave the horses alone. In fact, I personally think it would be a good idea to give the horse-and-carriage crews extra space on the road.  The noise, blinking lights, and swiftness of the bikes is likely rather distracting and disorienting to the horses, and frightened horses can behave unpredictably. Let’s not get ourselves (or the horses) banned from the plaza by unthoughtful actions.

One Response to “(For Critical Mass) Re: Horses on the Plaza”

  1. dmrainey says:

    You should post this on the KC craigslist under the “bike” section.

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