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nick(kc) from KC on 8/25/2004 1:16:03 PM:
Just wondering about riding about 50 miles of the trail and wondering if I should avoid the section where horses are allowed? I would rather not ride through it or have to dodge too much of it. Does anyone clean up after the horses?

Psychlist on 9/2/2004 8:58:36 AM:
I never noticed a problem. Yeah, you'll see a few "road apples" out there, but they're easy enough to steer around - mostly few & far between. A little slalom riding makes it more fun! The worst thing I've seen with horses is when the trail is soft, after lots of rain, they can leave shallow hoof prints in the trail that make the trail more bumpy.

TR in Jonesboro from Jonesboro, AR on 9/2/2004 12:40:59 PM:
I rode the trail from Clinton to Hermann in April. The stretch from Clinton is not worth riding unless you simply want to say you rode the entire trail, the scenery on this portion isn't much to write home about. The horses were a problem for me, as I wound up in an altercation with 6 riders who were riding 4 abreast completely blocking the trail. They were extremely rude and haughty about bicyclists not yielding to them ( when they were the ones actually blocking the trail). My suggestion is you skip the Clinton to Sedelia portion and just go east from Sedelia, as the scenery is so much better.

heidi from st. louis on 9/2/2004 3:08:00 PM:
I agree with TR...the Clinton to Sedalia section of the trail is uninspiring scenery-wise, uphill and in early August, was covered pretty thickly with horse waste. If not concerned with riding the entire trail (which we were :>) I would skip this section.

Ray (webmaster) on 9/7/2004 9:21:16 AM:
I had a much better experience – I took my son out on the trail-a-bike from Calhoun to Windsor and back this past Sunday. There were very few horse droppings along this seven mile stretch: maybe two big piles, and a few scattered individual droppings. Not sure why my experience was different. There had been rain earlier that morning, perhaps horse droppings dissolve quickly in the rain? (I’m a city boy so I don’t know about these things :-). Also, maybe horse riders don’t use the Calhoun-Windsor section as much as the rest of the equestrian section? Surprisingly, even though it was the Sunday before Labor Day we never saw a single horse, and no horse trailers in either parking lot. But we did see four box turtles, which my son “rescued” by moving them off of the trail. I agree that the scenery here is less inspiring than the river section of the trail, but the shade was nice – about 75% of the trail was well shaded, especially closer to Calhoun. Don't expect much shade on the Clinton-Calhoun section though.

z on 9/21/2004 2:19:18 PM:
We have recommended since the birth of the KATY Trail, that all of the trail be made available to people on bikes, foot, and horses. The rails to trails legislation mentioned horseback riding as an acceptable usage of the public controlled right of ways where often the use of livestock for transportion is an important part of our heritage. For those of us who are handicapped a buggy ride is a wonderful way for us to enjoy the beauty of the KATY Trail. Some suggest an electric scooter or wheel chair however a DNR Ranger forced an elderly woman in an electric wheel chair to wait at a drive way to be picked up off the trail and then promoted him? Horses on the Katy Trail will add more eyes and ears on the trail and not do any more damage than deer, cows, and drunks driving red Cheve's who ran into a tree 10 feet from me, fortunately for me. People who can't ride or step around a road apple likely will eventually require institutional care in any event? I've been approached by a screaming person who encountered a snake sunning on the trail plus another that wanted to borrow a shovel to scoop up deer droppings? I am delighted when I hear the sounds of horses near our place on the KATY Trail where you can still hear the train rumbling in the night. Actually the train sound is from the MoPac RR on the south side of Missoura River but on a dark night it is enough to send a chill down your spine deep enough to block out any thoughts of animal dropping on your baby blue tennis shoes. Come and enjoy the closest thing we have to real nature around here, enjoy the KATY Trail.

brad wilson from st louis mo on 9/22/2004 1:16:42 PM:
On Labor Day week I did almost the entire Katy (My home -> Page Ave Ext->Katy (MM43) ->Clinton) and back.

I found the section from Sedalia to Clinton to be not as scenic as the middle sections, but I encountered no horses and no waste. Somewhere east of Sedalia I did encounter a few cows loose on the trail. They slowly made their way back to their pasture.

D & K from Blue Springs, MO on 6/11/2005 8:05:28 AM:
We didn't encounter horses or much droppings over Memorial Day 2005. One horse person told me that it was unwise to take your horse on the trail on a busy weekend such as Mem Day. Yes...the shade is NICE and the honeysuckle is SWEET!

Sarah from Denver CO on 6/11/2005 6:47:46 PM:
We encountered very little waste week of 6/1/05; in fact, the trail was in great shape. I actually wondered why horses aren't allowed on the whole trail. We saw so few people, it seems a shame not to encourage more use of the trail. The Mickelson Trail in SD allows horses and it seems to work out just fine.

seahorse from ellisville,mo on 6/16/2005 11:15:44 AM:
Wasn't the trail on the first few miles out of sedalia split so that there was a horse only portion and and a bike only portion? The wisdow of this at the time seemed to be that the majority of the use during the Fair could involve animals not as trailworthy as most and these few could
be isolated from the strange noises that passing cyclists make by having
their own trail path. The powers-that-be didn't seem to realize that
Calhoun and possible Windsor would be come horse-meccas; therefore, the
split section did not extend as far as it could have. It's been years
since I've rode any horse, but I think if the concentration of animal riders is too high for the trail then we cyclist could share more of the trail per the high road that Mickleson Trail took.

PasoBrio from Sedalia on 8/1/2005 10:53:01 PM:
I board my horses basically on the Katy Trail. The arena to the trail opens up to the trail. I have a young horse, just starting riding on this trail. In fact yesterday was his first Katy Trail experience though I've ridden other horses on it. We met several bikes along the way, I think about only 30% of the riders read the yeld to horses signs. Some bicyclists are very rude and I've had a couple "try" to spook our horses as I heard them say "Hey lets scare the horses!" Yesterday like I said it was my young geldings 1st Katy Trail ride. And I had a guy coming at us full speed, I yelled "SLOW DOWN!" He wouldn't, so we got in his path thinking maybe he didn't see us. And yelled SLOW DOWN again, when it was obvious he wasn't slowing and had heard me I moved back over to the side, and of course my horse spooked all over the place as he zoomed by. We met several other bikes and with each one he was less and less nervous. Then that first guy came back, and I asked again Please slow down!! He yelled "Train your horse better!!" I made some angry remark and he told me to go ride a bike "but in not as nice of language". I get so sick of these people who do things like this, and feel so grateful for people who ride slowly past the horses and leash their dogs. It can be a scary trail for a horse. Just think like they think. They are prey animals, and we are preditors. A preditor coming at them full speed with the bike chain and clicking of the bike well it can be darn right terrifying! Not all horses are trail wise, but the only way to make them that way is to ride them on the trail and get past the spooky moments. Just PLEASE remember that a horse always feels it's life is in danger, because they are prey animals. They are big, and can become so frightened that the rider can become seriously injured. Is it worth the riders life so you can keep your speed up on your bike? I think some day I may invest in a super soaker water gun and keep it just for those jerks who won't follow

dw from Holts Summit, MO on 8/12/2005 2:32:09 PM:
I hope nobody takes seriously your recommendation that all of the KATY Trail be made available to people on horses. The fact is, horses and bicycles don't mix. I'm not concerned about the droppings -- my few times riding the area where horses are permitted showed that to not be a problem. But I shudder at the thought of what might happen at a trailhead, for example, as people on horses are getting ready to set off while a young child on a small bike is flitting around while the rest of his party is getting ready to go. As for damage by cows, deer and drunks, I've seen no evidence of damage by deer, and cows and drunks aren't permitted on the trail. The occasional stray (cow or drunk) can't do nearly as much damage as the frequent horse. There have beentrail segments where horses were ridden illegally where the shoe marks on a soft trail made riding difficult for weeks. One final point: many public places (Mark Twain National Forest, for example) are much more suitable for horseback riding than the KATY Trail, and those places aren't suitable for bicycling except for dedicated Mountain Bikers. Forget making the whole trail accessible to horses. The horses agree with me -- and I have that straight from the horse's mouth.

oldgreycowboy from UpState South Carolina on 11/30/2005 6:29:14 AM:
Regarding horses on the trail. Horses and bikes can co-exist. The biker that expressed that the horse should be better trained had a point. Rudness is a matter of poor manners and inconsiderate folks, not in the mode of transport. Horse folks that get frightened when their horse spooks sometimes use poor wording expressing themselves in a moment of stress. If my young horse spooks, he needs the exposure. I thank bikers for being considerate, and say hello to those that aren't. Turn the other cheek is not a bad concept if we both want to co-exist.

The Dalton Boys from Austin, TX/Columbia, MO. on 11/30/2005 9:50:27 AM:
When one "owns" it, then one can set the rules. When its public domain and there are set and documented parameters then one has the choice to be there or not. Banderas State Natural Area, Banderas Texas, an area loaded with mountain bike, and horse trails (not split). When one comes in the park the rules and regulations are posted and clear and explicit...hikers, and bikers yield to horses, bikers yield to hikers and here yielding is stopping as the horse goes by, then proceeding. As with a previous response, both at the natural area and the KATY I for one have not found manure to be an issue at all. Certainly it was nothing I couldn't steer easily around on my bike with a BoB trailer. Just my two cents worth....hey you might be surprised who you need as an ally when it comes to trail modifications, or upgrades etc. and the funding for those changes.

sltex38 from Fredericksburg, VA on 12/12/2005 8:16:54 AM:
For some reason there are bicyle riders who think they own the road and are very rude (even to other bike riders). There are also horse riders who are just as rude and think they rule the road. My biggest beef is having to yield to the horses. I will slow down and move to the furthest part of the road trying to quietly move past. I feel the horse rider should also slow and pull over to the furthest side of the road to allow mutual passing. I have trained my bike to behave and expect the same of the horse. Problem is for a bike rider to stop and dismount is difficult when loaded where a horse can be parked just like a car. Bottom line is we can all ride together with a friendly wave and slow pass on the countries best trail ride (bike or horse).

DJA on 4/28/2006 10:41:19 AM:
I disagree that this portion of the trail is not scenic or beautiful. It's beautiful, pastoral
farmsteads, scenic rolling plains, Highpoint Prairie, the picturesque elevator at Calhoun. I was
surprised at how shaded the trail was most of the way. Sure, it's uphill until you reach the
high point. Didn't see a single horse, or notice very many droppings. I rode July 05 (we
started early mornings) and want to do the entire trail again.

kasko from STL MO on 5/1/2006 8:28:00 AM:
I am opposed to horses on Trail. We need at least one safe place for bike travel and that is the Katy Trail !!!

Anonymous on 6/18/2006 6:08:11 PM:
Yesterday two guys were on horses on the trail near the Pearsons elevator (Pearsons is between Rocheport and New Franklin). There was a truck and trailer parked on the gravel road near elevator. As we approached they turned to face us and one guy was trying to calm the horse, he spooked as I passed, no harm done, but I thought that if your horse is spooked by bicycles why would you take the horse onto the Katy Trail? Especially in a forbidden area.

ET from Columbia on 6/19/2006 12:55:23 PM:
Interesting--we rode from Windsor to Columbia this past weekend and saw no horse waste at all on the official equestrian part, but did see some in the area you mention around Pearson!

Bella Sera from Shiloh IL on 7/5/2006 9:17:23 PM:
I think the Katy Trail should be open to horses too. It's a wonderful resource we have here why not open it to horses as well. I wish too that you could camp along the trail but understand how they would have a hard time inforcing how long someone has camped along the trail. As a person who bikes, hikes and rides I'm all for horses on the whole trail. And I agree they don't do the dammage most folks think they do.

Lisa from Berryville, VA on 8/30/2006 10:07:13 PM:
Shouldn`t everyone have the right to a public trail and respect each other and the rules so everyone can enjoy your trail safely. I was in MO this past week and saw the Katy trail. What a gift you have . We have a similar trail here in Northern Va that runs down near D.C. and it would probably be history if not for the equestrian community here protecting it. Everyone respects one another and most people are delighted to see a horse..kids love it. It seems sad that the horses lovers/riders only have a little part of the trail there in MO. Slow down and smell the roses.

Trek Biker from St. Joseph, MO on 8/30/2006 11:03:42 PM:
Everyone does have the right to a public area (trail). Fortunately here in Missouri there are public use areas for many specific activities. Some are for riding horses only.....others are for motorcycles only.....others are for small motorized boats only.....some allow huge boats with powerfull engines. There is something in Missouri for most anyone. And the Katy seems to be fine being bike supported......something for the bike riders of the world to enjoy at the expense of the Missouri taxpayer. Free for your use. It's a nice place to go slow and smell the roses. And we also share with the horse lovers too! What could be wrong with that???

Flint on 8/31/2006 6:34:21 AM:
I was rather impressed with the condition of the trail shared by horses. We have been on other trails in other states that were almost unfit for bikes due to horses. On the Katy we encountered very little waste as well as very few rough areas due to shoes.

gc from Columbia on 9/5/2006 11:26:18 PM:
I agree with Flint. To read some of the comments, I was thinking that I was going to have to wade through horse manure from Calhoun to Sedalia. Not to be too graphic, but I only saw five or six "deposits" in that whole stretch. What I have been seeing along the entire western stretch of the trail (Clinton to Boonville) has been LOTS of dog droppings.
And as for hoof marks, from what I could tell, they were negligable. I did see some cow tracks in the Pilot Grove to Boonville section, but they werent a problem, either. Frankly, bike tire ruts were much more prevalent on the trail than any hoof marks.

Anonymous on 9/15/2006 4:13:38 PM:
It's really sad to think that a bike rider couldn't be "mature" enough to slow down and quietly ride by the few horses that he may encounter. Is being ONE OR TWO MINUTES later really going to make that big of a difference in your day? If so, you have more problems than this horse thing.

As a bicycle rider, I am never in danger of my bike getting scared and throwing me. For the most part, I am in control of what my bicycle does. A horseback rider is dealing with a live creature that can have a mind of it's own. Let's grow up and act like adults. Give horses the right-away and enjoy the beautiful Katy trail.

Frank Scopa from Fayetteville on 5/4/2007 12:27:10 AM:
I have not had the opportunity to use a trail that also had horses on it. Personally that
sounds great. Not being a horse rider my self I don't understand why the yield system is set
up the way it is. It seems to me that the mode of transportation that can most easily
maneuver and cause physical damage to other people would be the mode required to yield.
Why do hikers and bicycles yield to horses? It would seem to me that horses would yield to
everyone and bikers would yield to hikers with hikers having the right of way. Can someone
explain the reasoning for that?

Tom Austin from Centralia IL on 5/4/2007 11:33:18 AM:
Well, I would not advocate the allowance of horses on the entire trail. There are areas of the other trails where horses have torn up the surface and left deep impressions in the roadbed, thereby making it unsafe for cyclists to ride at speed through. Horse manure is the least of a cyclists' worries. I was intrigued by the multiple responses where it appears that folks were rude to each other. That is most unfortunate. But, those instances are more and more likely in public use areas.

Allowing horses on the entire trail could also be dangerous to riders in the areas where the trail is buffered by both the river and the bluffs. Some cyclists use these rides as "workouts" as well, and could be traveling at 18-20 mph, depending on their fitness to do so.

Xenophon-something-or-other from NW Indiana on 5/16/2007 12:21:49 PM:
I read the blog with interest. I've not been on the Katy yet, but plan to do so (on bike) this summer (hopefully) with my son. Quite honestly, I had not been aware of the horse/bike issue, but I appreciated the chance for the education. I bike at a "nice" speed, approx 10mph on crushed limestone. Seek no problems with human nor horse. The blog ought to be "required reading" I appreciate the thoughtful comments and shared anecdotes. Question: I'm mindful of the story of horseback riders riding 4 abreast... is there no room for a bike to respectfully "go around," perhaps on a trail shoulder? Or should all users follow at 1-2mph the length of the trail?
BTW, one might quietly caution one's teen-aged son "Let's not spook the horses here..." which might be misunderstood by a rider who only caught "...spook the horses here..."
All that said, I'd find it pretty cool--and a "part of the experience"--to be sharing the trail with the occasional horseback rider.

DougK from Troy on 5/16/2007 7:55:13 PM:
I'm a hiker not a biker or rider but here's my take: The Katy is and should be for everybody to enjoy. I read a complaint about hoof marks made in soft ground that hardens. I've seen/tripped over some pretty heavy duty bike ruts on parts of the trail. Courtesy on the trail is another issue that I've wanted to vent about for a while. Twice I've been run off the trail when bikers riding four or five abreast force me off the trail without blinking an eye. It gets to be a real pain in the old roids when you have to stop five times in 10 miles to let 4 abreast bikers get by when it just seems easier for one of them to temporarily drop back until they pass you. It seems trivial unless you're sporting a 40 pound pack. Once I gave serious consideration to just holding my hiking stick horizontal to get the message across.
I have to admit that 98% of the bikers out there are the nicest, most helpful courteous people in the world. I do regret not getting the name of one biker I encountered between Clifton City and Pilot Grove last weekend. A seam broke in my pack forcing me to carry most of my gear in my arms 6 miles back to Clifton City where the car was. A biker had to brake hard when he passed me. I guess it was the sight of a sleeping bag flopping out six inches from his front wheel that got his attention. This guy turned around and offered to haul most of my gear back to the trailhead. My gear was neatly stacked in front of my car when I arrived. If you’re reading this, I thank you sooooo much, I owe you. I guess my point is that we all have to make accommodations for each other if we are to enjoy the best rail to trail in the U.S. After all, I know GC from Columbia agrees, hikers rule and bikers and riders drool.

GC from Columbia, Mo. on 5/17/2007 7:43:18 AM:
Ahhhh, Doug. You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree, courtesy is the biggest issue on the trail in regards to this topic. 99 percent of all the users are great. It is that one percent, though...

Tom Austin from Centralia IL on 5/21/2007 8:10:40 PM:
Yep...I would have to agree with the last comments as well in regards to impolite actions. I often stop for riders that are three or four abreast on various trails that I ride...But, you know what? I don't mind stopping, especially for families and children...they're out just enjoying the ride and scenery and have every right to do so.

I still think letting horses on the entire trail is a bad idea. I stand by that opinion. But, I'm from Illinois, so I'll I'll leave it at that.

Mike from Jefferson City on 6/7/2007 12:49:12 PM:
I am thankful for the 20+ miles of the trail available to horses. It does not get a lot of use since it is the least senic portion of the trail but the shade is nice. I would like to see the trail... at least that now open to horses.. allow the use of carts of buggies. A requirement could be that only rubber or bike type tires are allowed. I was told they are not allowed because the rule makers fear that some Mennonites may drive on the trail. The poor people have enough trouble getting around all the auto traffic.... heaven forbid we should ALLOW them to interfere with our recreation.

Paul from St. Clair on 6/7/2007 4:15:41 PM:
I just rode the KATY from Clinton to St. Charles this week (June 4-6). I enjoyed the Clinton to Sedalia section. True, it is not the river view that much of the trail is, but it offers a view of Missouri seldom seen from the Interstate highways of today. So don't dismiss this part of the trail. As far as horse droppings, it was a non-issue. The hoof prints were visible and I did avoid riding over them as much as I could.

annmary from Willis, VA on 2/3/2008 8:59:36 AM:
I am curious about something. The American Discovery Trail which, for those of you who don't know, crosses the entire country from Delaware to California, uses as part of its system the Katy Trail(http://www.discoverytrail.org/states/missouri/index.html)
The American Discovery Trail(ADT) allows horses on their entire trail system, which is actually many trail systems hooked up to make the entire route. Two equestrians have completed the entire route. So I am curious how their rules interfaces with Katy Trail rules since clearly on the Katy only a limited part of the trail is designated for horses. I am planning a cross country trip on horseback and was planning on using the Illinois and Missouri section of the ADT for my route. Now I am confused. Can anyone shed light on this?
Also for the gentleman who questioned why horses have the right of way..... I believe it is because horses are the most unpredictable. It is true they operate out of prey/predator instinct. Even the best trained horse can get startled and spook. Even the calmest human can get startled it is just that our instincts don't tell us to run! :)

jp from St. Louis on 2/4/2008 11:38:04 AM:
Actually, our instinctual response as humans is the "Fight or Flight Response". Would you not be startled and try to flee when encountering a rattlesnake? This is why horses and bicycles do not fit on the same trail very well.

steve k from saint louis on 2/4/2008 2:42:10 PM:
From the ADT website:

<Horses are allowed on most of the ADT. A few examples of the places where they are prohibited include the eastern 12 miles of the C&O Canal into Washington, D.C.; the Knobstone Trail and Adventure Trail in Indiana; most of the Katy Trail in Missouri (only 20 miles between Sedalia and Calhoun are open to horses); and many of the rail-trails in Iowa. In addition, where the trail passes through urban areas, equestrians may find the going difficult. The ADT Society is working on alternative equestrian routes, but crossing the country via horseback is probably the most logistically challenging transportation mode.>>

Looking at the ADT, I don't think there is a way to go on horseback the whole way as there are several trails that you would have to use where horses are not allowed. I am not sure how anyone could do this unless they had support w/ a horse trailer that would enable them to skip certain sections.

Also, from the ADT site, on the time it would take to do the whole trail:


I would like to bike it or hike it, but who has 5 months to one year of time to spare.

steve k from saint louis on 2/4/2008 2:44:03 PM:
Also, from the ADT site, on the time it would take to do the whole trail:

I would like to bike it or hike it, but who has 5 months to one year of time to spare.

steve k from saint louis on 2/4/2008 2:44:38 PM:
Also, from the ADT site, on the time it would take to do the whole trail:

If you hike 15 miles a day, and take one rest day a week, it takes about 390 days (or 56 weeks) to cover 5,000 miles. Bicycling would require at least five months; horseback riding at least a year.

I would like to bike it or hike it, but who has 5 months to one year of time to spare.

dennis giblin from cahokia il horse there on 2/20/2008 11:16:22 AM:
I have taken a few minutes to review the letters from all the concerned riders of the Katy trail. What I have to say is applicable to any multi use trail.

Each of us enjoy our time in the natural world doing our respective thing be in horses, hicking or bicking; in no particular order. I will note that I am an aavid trail rider HORSE and prefere a primitive trail experience to one that will put me into contact with people who do not understand the psychiolgy of the EQUINE, horse. The horse, first and last is a prey animal and acts according to its nature. A well seasoned horse learns to tolerate all the obstacles life might send its way, but, there is always a sleepy headed moment and the element of surprise that can throw all matter out of synch. Yes even the starry eyed bike rider or hiker can go to sleep at the switch and can run into an obstacle or go over a rise that really is an danger.. The point, things happen and we who use public trails must be defensive and sympathetic to the particular need of the persons, machines, and animals we encounter,

As an avid rider who used the horse experience to inter act with sheltered persons or those that might have certain issues such as add children, the horse proves to empower these young person for, the first time in their lives as I am sure also for those of you who use these trails for the same reason can identify. So, again lets all communacate, not argue nor degrade. At those rest stops, share what you know with one another...............Lets all enjoy what our creator has given us and enjoy it in a way comfortable for us as well as those we encounter. dennisngiblin@yahoo.com..HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.

TN from Anchorage, AK on 9/14/2008 10:31:36 PM:
One question re: horses allowed on the trail or not... what mode of transportation created the Katy Trail???

Big wrench from Florence, MO on 3/7/2009 3:34:12 PM:
First off riders of both modes can coexist. Rudeness doesn't matter what you ride. My question is; Do only Biker Rider taxes pay for the trail?? Waste is not the issue here, anyone who can show me a solid line of horse apple that blocks their way I'll show you my horse rake and pickup for you!
This is a State funded trail and should be open to ALL non-motorized modes. Post the regs and let people police themselves. Be humans and get along or stay home and be angry at yourself!!!
I currently live in Washington State and our multi mode trails are working out fine....

DougK from Troy on 3/8/2009 9:51:25 AM:
Boy, talk about beating a dead horse (pun intended). I walk around the road apples and move to the side of the trail when horses are present. Then, again, maybe I'm just easy to get along with.

Robert from columbia on 3/8/2009 4:43:47 PM:
FWIW I grew up on a farm and in fact was a fairly serious team roper until a few years ago.
My dad still has around 140 mares the last time he gave me an update so I actually like
horse people.

I've ridden the Katy trail many times but I have only encountered horses once. That time
the riders were inexperienced, scared of their mounts and were screaming at me despite
the fact that I stopped well short of the horses. The horses actually seemed to be fine but
the riders were nervous which of course made the horses nervous.

I think that if someones horse is scared of a bicycle, even one that zips past then they
have no business being on the trail. Of course there are going to be bicycles on the trail
so your horse needs to desensitized to that before trying to share the trail or else its a
hazard to horse, rider and bicyclist. I think its comparable to swinging ropes. If you horse
is scared of ropes than dont take them to the rodeo and expect people to not swing ropes
around your horse. Of course I think bicyclists should slow and try to get the riders
attention before passing but I'm sure not all do. Some have probably never even seen a
live horse before.

Horses do cause a large amount of damage to the trail surface. The trail gets bumps that
make it rough to ride and probably more maintenance intensive. I've experienced some
crummy rides from sedalia to clinton because of this damage.

It seems to me that the trail would be pretty boring by horseback. Its essentially a long
gravel road and horses can do all kinds of cool things that bicycles cant. There are lots of
neat trail rides through the woods and hills of missouri that would surely be more fun that
240 miles of 15 foot wide gravel road. Is that why I've only ever seen horses on it once?

Baboo from Shawnee, KS on 3/16/2009 7:30:26 PM:
I have ridden this part of he trail about 6 times and have never encountered any problems with horses, the droppings aren't much of a problem either nor is trail damage. That said except for a few places its very boring.


Brian from St. Louis, MO on 3/22/2009 12:21:22 AM:
I think it's fine to let horses on the trail. Personally, dog waste on the trail, as well as dog leashes strung across the trail, is more of a problem than I could imagine horses being.

But, someone educate me. I'm a cyclist. If I'm riding towards a horse, fine I can stop and wait as the horse passes. What about overtaking? What's the correct procedure for passing a horse on the trail? Thanks in advance...

cunninghamair from O Fallon, MO on 3/22/2009 9:46:08 AM:
We've seen some hand cyclists on the Katy near St. Louis. I remember because it looked
like a lot of work and we gave them a hearty hello. I want to say there is a bike shop down
this way that rents them--maybe Defiance?!

robert from columbia on 3/23/2009 12:21:49 PM:

Except a horse typically weighs about 1200-1700 pounds. The real problem with horses
is the damage that they do to the trail surface. This is especially true when a rider stops a
horse and the horse impatiently paws the trail like so many do.

Even on the best conditions there will be tiny little holes dug where every hoof pushes off
from the front.

I'm not saying that horses should be banned or allowed.....just saying that the horse
manure is hardly the problem IMO

mdrake from missouri on 3/24/2009 2:34:38 PM:
I have read each and every comment on this subject.
First off I'll answer the question of who made the trail or what it was for. It was a railroad bed. When the railroad closed this track, the land under it and next to it was owned by the landowners on each side of the railroad tracks. The state decided to take this land that should have been given back to the proper owners and use it for public use.
That was a nice idea. However, upon reading the comments here, I tend to think that with a few acceptions most of the "public" don't deserve this land. I've never heard such petty, childish whining in my life from anyone over 4 years old.
It was set up that bikers and walkers yeild to horses since horses can kill people. Not only their rider, but also any biker or rider that is within 25-30 yards of them when they become spooked. "Maybe it was not your falt the horse spooked, but your dead." Also it was set up that bikers yeild to walkers. No suprise, it is also that way on any street in this country.

robert from columbia on 3/24/2009 3:01:46 PM:
How do you know any of us are over 4 years old?

Anonymous from Calhoun on 4/23/2009 9:54:30 PM:
As an adjacent land owner, a cyclist, a horse owner and a tax payer...I feel that the trail is a resource for all of us. My young horse needs more training (exposure); when it has rained my bike needs fatter tires and in the fall we all need to watch out for walnuts and hedge apples. I will do what I can to improve the scenery of my portion of the trail and be courteous when using it.

missouri horse lover from St. Louis on 10/25/2009 2:11:26 PM:
In response to the biker's question on what to do when approaching a horse on trail... The best thing to do is to make sure the horse sees you and hears you before zipping by, especially if you are coming from behind. Also, usually it is good to give the riders time to move the horse to the side to a stop. You can ask them if they prefer you to go first or if they prefer to go first. I generally like to stop my horse and then I tell the biker or driver to drive by me.

missouri horse lover from St. Louis on 10/25/2009 2:36:09 PM:
From the American Discovery Trail Website...

"Matt Parker, a 25 year horserider, has completed a 4,000 mile long cross country ride on the American Discovery Trail (ADT). He began his journey in California in May of 2003 and crossed 13 states. He finished November 3rd, 2005, on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. Several horseriders joined Matt for the final miles and the State of Delaware hosted ceremonies and a celebration at the Parkâs main pavilion...
... In 2005 Matt started again from Kansas on another new horse, an Appaloosa named "Cincinnati". He was forced to explore alternate routes parallel to the ADT for horse travel since some parts of the ADT route do not allow horses. So he has been a "pioneer" for equestrians that will follow."

Anonymous on 10/26/2009 8:41:41 AM:
The bikers question was five years ago in 2005. They probably figured it out long ago. It's fun to beat a dead horse though isn't it?

concerned from missouri on 11/2/2009 9:46:30 PM:
I have owned and raised horses my whole life. I do agree that the whole trail should be open to everyone. I do understand how people feel about horses but no matter how well broke your horse is if they have never been on this trail this is new territory and someplace they don't know, so they are more likely to spook at certain things. I respect the hikers and the bike riders on the trail however if they want to be rude with and not respect that im setting on 1200 pounds of animal that can easily kill or injure one or both of us, then I have a problem with that. How would the bikers feel if they decided to make the whole trail for horses and no bikes allowed.. Yeah thats the kind of response you might get... If we all pay taxes on the trail along with the highways then we should all be allowed to ride it. Just respect something thats bigger than you and you won't have a problem!!!! If you can't do that then there will definitely be issues when we meet.........

wondering from missouri on 11/2/2009 9:52:21 PM:
I also read alot about people letting there dogs run loose on the trail and not on a leash? Do you really think this is smart to let your dog loose? I don't think so another biker might hit your dog, it might bite somebody, and then again it might get stepped on by a horse and injured really bad. I think its great to take your dog with you but keep it on a leash, the dog could cause alot of mishap not only with the other bikers but with horses and spooking them easier than a bike would if they happened to bite or bark at them.....

Anonymous on 11/3/2009 8:26:35 AM:
Concerned, I too have raised and been around horses my entire life. The BIG difference is your 1200 lb horse can hurt me badly, my bike can't spook and hurt you.

meeshe from O'Fallon on 11/3/2009 10:01:21 PM:
I am concerned with the poop. I find it to be everywhere. You might as well be a trick rider to dodge those steamers.

Skyguy9999 on 11/11/2009 9:49:23 PM:
I found it to be a game of "dodge the horse dung" on my ride from Clinton to Sedalia (especially around Calhoun). This would definitely be an issue for MO DNR to look into.

festus on 11/13/2009 12:41:37 PM:
i had a chance to ride the katy from clinton to sedialia back in june. no problems whatsoever. met two ladies on horse back goin west. stopped at talked to them for a while. otherwise, no problems.

Arkie on 11/13/2009 5:12:21 PM:
Ahhhhhhh. Nothing like the smell of fresh horse crap in the morning. No, wait a minute. That was napalm wasn't it?

Bike and Horse Rider on 10/13/2010 8:42:51 PM:
As a woman rider of both a bike and a horse I feel safer seeing a rider on horseback coming at me when I am alone on the Katy trail than I would a male rider of a bike or a hiker. Wonder how many flasher/rapist/rober horsemen are out there - NONE. They would be the first one to help you. I agree that green riders that are riding horses that are also green (untrained) probably have no business being out on the Katy Trail, but that will happen occasionally. As far as the "road apples" - Get over it or around it. Stop the whining. This is a nature trail and are you going to complain about the skunks, the deer ditty and the acorns too. There are asphalt trails for those of you that are not in shape to handle a few bumps or ruts from bikes that you might encounter. In fact, it might help you to get some of the lard off your bike/hike behinds if you have to work a little harder when you are out exercising. Otherwise, heck, just get a stationary bike, but make sure you don't have a window to look out of - would hate to see you get freaked out by bird poop.

Anonymous on 10/13/2010 10:40:25 PM:
Interesting point. What are the stats on the number of flasher/rapist/rober bike riders that are out there?

Wasn't Lada Godiva a horse riding flasher??

Bike & Horse Rider on 10/14/2010 2:16:05 AM:
Umm... you are not a woman, that is obvious. If you were, you would not hike/bike/ride a horse on the Katy trail alone during the days when there are no crowds. If you did, you would not be nervous when you saw a horseback rider coming towards you, but might want to keep your 38 close at hand if you come across a man a-foot. The women in St. Charles that came across the man with the knife obviously let their license to carry lapse.

Frank Lee from Dodge City, Mo. on 10/14/2010 7:09:47 AM:
All rightie then!

Anonymous on 10/14/2010 4:43:53 PM:
Telepathic, smack talkin, gun tote'n cowgirl. You Go Cow Girl!

Horsegirl65 from St. Louis on 1/18/2011 5:16:52 PM:
I absolutely disagree with the folks who say that horses and bicyclists don't/can't mix. I own three horses and none of them are afraid of bicycles. I ride them on the Chubb trail with bikes all of the time without any problems at all. I feel bad for bicyclists who have run into rude horseback riders but remember that politeness goes both ways. If a bicyclist is going up a steep hill, I let them go since it's easier for my horses to control their ascent than a bicyclist. Bicyclist should, in turn, be aware that horses can be very fearful and to interact politely with the riders to insure everyone's safety. My sister & brother in law live near the trail on the "non-horse" end and find that all the locals would like to see the Katy Trail be made multiuse for it's full length. I would personally even be willing to purchase a yearly "usage pass" in order to access the Eastern portion of the trail. As for "horse apples?" Horse manure quickly breaks down in to dust and fiber, unlike other types of solid waste. It rarely sticks to shoes or tires, even when fresh, and certainly doesn't have the ordor of say, dog droppings.

momule from Washington, MO. on 1/19/2011 7:18:17 PM:
I am both a horseman and a bike rider. Most people that have horses on the KATY also have property nearby so you are generally going to be dealing with people that live in the immediate area and families that historically only had to deal with locomotives, not trespassing bike riders who sometimes leave the trail for that "perfect picture of a quaint old barn".

Another point is that there is no way to acclimate a horse to bikes unless the horse has a chance to encounter bikes....the Katy is a perfect place for that. I've done the Katy several times on two wheels, & have had encounters with horses that have gone very well. Road apples, unless they are frozen, are mostly just half-digested hay. A narrow bike tire goes through them with an earthy smell, NOT like the smell of a pile of dog poop. By the way, the KATY is in the country. Because of that people do not have to tie their dogs up, so sometimes their dogs crap on the trail. Deal with it because you are in their world.

If we try to regulate who has "right of way" over another we're missing the beauty of having this wonderful asset. If one encounters an equestrian, politely say hello, complement them on their beautiful horse and ask them if it is ok to pass. They WILL get the hint and appreciate you for being careful. All these reports of conflict are really inexcusable. If an equestrian has a problem with bicycles then stay off the trail, if a biker has a problem with horses then stay off the trail. The KATY is a multiuse trail and horses should be allowed on all of it just as bikes and hikers are. Horses can be spooky animals even if well trained and so should be afforded the respect that their owners give to them just as dog owners should respect the nature of their pets.

I feel like we have an asset given to use by the very large bulk of Missouri taxpayers who will never set foot on the trail. If we mess this up by creating a public scene we run the risk of losing it.

BZ on 2/5/2011 10:11:23 PM:
I have some great French recipes for horse meat. Contact me if you are interested. The highest and best use for these useless creatures!:)

tramp from buffalo on 3/24/2011 9:36:07 PM:
Horses are a leagle form of tanspertation in mo every were but a fedral hywy. its been tryed in court, horse always wins, ask the Omish.

Anonymous on 11/22/2011 2:36:18 PM:
Several years back, Ralph asked why bikers should yield to horses, and hikers should yield to bikers...I did not see anyone leave an answer to his question.
First, thanks for asking it. And second, I am not condoning or or agreeing with the system...I am just explaning the logic behind it.
And that is, those with the most control yield to those with less control. A hiker is on his feet, and is pretty surely entirely in control of his body. In other words, it is easier to maneuver YOUR BODY than it is a 4ft long frame of metal. Since it is easier for the body to maneuver, it makes sense, from a "safety for all" standpoint, for that body to yield to all other traffic.
A bicycle, while more difficult to maneuver than just your own body, is still a bike, under your control. As a hiker, you expect the biker to know enough to steer around you...but if he doesn't, can more quickly jump out of the way than the biker can divert his bike.
And the horse, while it *should* be trained to handle everything it encounters on the trail, is still a horse - a living being with a mind of its own. And while 99.9% of them are under their riders control, if the rider loses that control, they can do no more than the biker who plummeted off the river bank...
Of the 3, the horse is the one with the biggest possibilty of incident. The walker with the least. If everyone hits the trail abiding by a known standard of who yields to who, regardless of what that is - everyone will have a better, and safer, time.
And for Ralph, from a personal perspective, horses are fight or flight animals, and if they are not familiar with a bicycle, they may see it as an angry bear wanting to eat them. They have to be taught that bicycles are harmless. All horses on the trail should be taught that, but the catch 22 is that it requires exposure to teach the horse...no bike - no lesson. So you may encounter a horse who still isn't sure about bicycles.
Personally, I al

Anonymous on 11/22/2011 2:38:53 PM:
Personally, I always assume that I need to yield to whoever I meet on the trail. If I'm on a horse, I move off the trail, and face the on-coming riders/walkers. If I'm on a bike, I do the same. If we all go out with the attitude to help each other out, everyone can safely enjoy the trail.

Top Shelf on 1/13/2012 8:47:07 AM:
There is no reason whatsoever for a horse or its waste should be on the trail. Horses can be ridden on the edge of the trail - there is no reason for them to be on the imporoved surface. Horses tear up the trail with their hooves, and a 2000-pound beast should not be in proximity of the 200-pound bikers and hikers or the 50-pound kid on a bike. For bikers to yield to horses is crazy. Yes, a biker should slow down near anyone else on the trail, and ushould exercise courtesy and common sense, but the horse rider can simply stay off the trail and stay in the grass. In the places where horses are allowed on Ohio trails I ride, they are required to stay off the improved surface and in the grass, an arrangement which works well.

dave from lowry city,mo. 64763 on 1/13/2012 3:54:44 PM:
I ride that area all time and dont have a problem of any kind. I always give the horse rider the rite of way. the waste is not a problem.

Anonymous on 7/12/2012 12:48:07 PM:
"a 2000-pound beast should not be in proximity of the 200-pound bikers and hikers or the 50-pound kid on a bike."
Wow, so everyone in Ohio is riding Clydesdale and Belgians (the only common drafts in the US that average 2,000 lbs) or the larger examples of the other common draft breeds (e.g. Percherons, Shires)? That might be the case in Ohio, but I doubt it. The average riding horse weighs between roughly 900 - 1500 lbs.
I guess my 2000lb car has no business on the street where that 50lb kid is riding his bike. But of course you're about as likely to find a 50lb kid on the trail as you are a 2,000+ lbs horse. Possible, but not likely.
So is it crazy that my car should yield to the cyclist? Why should I share the road with someone on a bicycle? The roads weren't made for bicycles. Thy just benefit from there existance. Sidewalks were made for pedestrians, So my children shouldn't have had a place to ride their bikes unless I took them to some bike trail.
Horses were used on improved surfaces before bicycles (or cars) existed (cities had streets paved with stones over 150 years ago), so perhaps we should say that since horses were doing it first the bicycles shouldn't be allowed on improved surfaces.
As for the damage you alledge I guess we better close down the dirt roads and paths that have been regularly ridden for decades by horses since they've obviously been destroyed after so many years of horse traffic.
How did this country ever manage to have roads? Roads were actually "improved" because the wheel, not the hoof, did more damage to the road over time.

chris from ILLINOIS on 7/13/2012 9:18:02 AM:
I don’t ride the western part of the KATY, so I don’t have a horse in this race. But the statement “The roads weren’t made for bicycles” is incorrect. Actually, the League of American Wheelmen lobbied the government to pave roads before there any gas-powered vehicles. The group later changed their name to the League of American Bicyclists. So the origin of paved roads in America was more about bikes than cars or horses. We all drive cars and trucks, at least to get to the KATY, and want everyone to “Share the Road”. So why can’t we also Share the Trail?

TopShelf from Ohio on 7/13/2012 2:46:52 PM:
My comment about horses was simply that they can easily be ridden on the grassy areas alongside the trail, and do not have to be on the improved surface. Like it or not, horse hooves do damage the trail surface. Horse manure is no fun to ride through. Keeping them on the grass should not be a big deal.

Brian L. from Wichita on 7/15/2012 10:27:29 AM:
This thread has been trotting along since Oct 2004 -- does that qualify as the longest-running thread on the site?

Jim from St. Louis on 7/15/2012 1:04:35 PM:
It surely is a long thread. Wouldn't think a horse would do much to the trail as dry as it is but have noted some pretty deep gouges when the trail hasn't has a chance to dry.

Gary from Near Tebbetts on 7/16/2012 12:20:07 PM:
The Mayans predict this thread will end on 12/21/2012, taking the entire world with it.

Jim from St. Thomas on 7/16/2012 3:51:25 PM:
I ran into a group of Mayans on the ride to Coopers last Friday. They said they were trying to ride the whole trail by December. When I asked them "Why December?" they just smiled.

Trek on 7/16/2012 4:06:55 PM:
Frozen road apple = broken spoke

Polly from Missouri on 7/17/2012 10:09:06 AM:
I have enjoyed all this jibber/jabber. Keeps my mind off of December 21st.

Wasinger from Duluth, GA on 7/17/2012 12:04:24 PM:
Last fall I almost ran over three snakes and a turtle! They should be banned too!

Brian L. from Wichita on 7/18/2012 8:01:09 PM:
Gary, Jim, Polly - "Mayans": LOL
Wasinger - I hear you have to watch out for hobos, too. ;-)

Mike from Illinois on 7/19/2012 6:01:20 PM:
Since horse owners ruin the trial with their deep ruts and their manure, just let them have this part of the where they can have their sedentary expensive hobby and drink their beer and litter the trail with their beer cans.

Jim from St. Thomas on 7/19/2012 6:26:41 PM:
Ahhhhh......I smell a troll. But I'll bite anyway. I doubt most of the folks that ride horses are the beer swilling type.

ctallon from Lisle on 7/21/2012 11:27:20 PM:
I ride trails with horses all the time. Bikes and horses can co-exist. There are a few courtesies.
1. announce yourself if you are coming up from behind- before you are on top of the horse and rider. move to the left in advance and slow down.

2. Approaching on coming horse and rider, just slow down.

There is no point in spooking an animal that big. In a conflict with a horse, a cyclist will always loose.

Common courtesy goes a long way in building mutual respect. we are all out there to enjoy the journey. Horses are magnificent animals and a wonderful part of our heritage.

Mark from St. Louis on 7/27/2012 8:42:33 AM:
Recap on us cyclists.
We can't ride on roads, they are for cars.
We can't ride on sidewalks, they are for walkers.
And now, we can't ride on the katy trail, it's for horses.

Yea, that didn't make sense to me either.

Wasinger from Duluth, GA on 7/27/2012 1:19:12 PM:
I almost forgot: snake-handling-hobos should not be allowed on the trail either.

Top Shelf from Ohio on 12/7/2012 12:13:54 PM:
This thread seemed almost destined to die after only a little over eight years, and I couldn't let that happen.

In any event, what is wrong with allowing horses along the sides of the trail, with the improved surface restricted to cyclists and hikers?

HorseSense from St Charles on 12/16/2012 9:41:52 PM:
It'd be a shame if this thread died after all these years.

I don't know how this is even an issue. I've only ever hiked the Katy but the trails that I usually ride my horse on are barely wide enough for 2 hikers to walk side by side and is used by hikers, bikers, and horses. I've been riding on these trails for years and have never had an issue with bikers, not even a single negative experience. Bikers slow down and announce themselves when they see a horse, and since a horse can go "off road" easier than a bike the horses pull just off the trail to let the bike past. Also they are all dirt trails and most if not all of the trail damage is caused by the bikes. Horses make hoofprints and bikes make ruts that's just the way it is, and it's stupid to play the blame game.

P.S. Restricting the horses to only the grassy areas along the sides of the trail is likely to cause more damage than allowing them on the trail itself. The continuous traffic will kill the grass and make a dirt trail which while fine when dry will get muddy and force the horses back onto the improved surface during wet conditions which is usually when trail damage made by horses occurs anyways. The only way to reduce trail damage is by not allowing anything but foot traffic on the trails during wet conditions.

dave from lowry city, mo on 12/19/2012 7:58:32 AM:
I like seeing thw horses on the trial. Some of the people on horse back are very enteresting to talk with if you would just take time to say hello.

mamal on 1/13/2013 9:43:20 AM:
where is the best section to ride with children?

TopShelf from Ohio on 5/2/2013 10:54:28 AM:
From the comments by horse riders, and from a little common sense, it is clear that for any horse to overcome its natural tendency to spook when a bicycle comes near, it must get used to bicycles. To get used to bicycles, it must be ridden in close proximity to bicycles until it overcomes its tendency to spook. If spooked, this 1200-pound beast could kill a much smaller cyclist.
A simpler solution would be to simply ride your horses on the multitude if trails available for horses, ands not bring these beasts onto a trail populated with people that range from 5-20% of the weight of a horse.
And, while bicycles can rut a muddy trail, horses weigh far more than cyclists and bikes, and their hooves do more damage to a trail surface.
The Katy Trail, and similar hiking and biking trails, are some of the very few places where cyclists can ride away from cars. They are supposed to be relatively safe havens for family enjoyment. With horses, especially those who are easily spooked, in close proximity, the trail is not a safe place for young children to ride.

madroncain on 6/8/2013 3:57:48 PM:
Historically, horses prolly have a greater right to the trail than bicycles. The Katy Trail used to be traveled by the "iron horse". Horse poo is natural and goes away over time. I agree that bicyclist can be extremely rude. I have been walking the trail and bicyclist constantly threaten me to get off the trail when they come at me. I started carrying a large stick and have become threatening them with sticking in between their spokes. But it works and they slow down. I have never ridden a horse on the trail, but I would like to.

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 6/8/2013 6:07:45 PM:
madroncain probably posted the dumbest statement I have ever seen on this site. Bicyclist are constantly threatening him...give me a break! If you were to come at me with your stick, it would probably end up somewhere very uncomfortable.

Doug from Bluffton on 6/8/2013 10:47:25 PM:
Well Mid South, I'm guessing that his pseudonym does not refer to a state of anger and that it is doubtful if he will ever be able to join Mensa. I'm hopeful that his exploits exist only in his mind and will remain there. Perhaps a short conversation with a Park Ranger about Missouri law relating to assault and battery will prevent any action on his part that might injure a cyclist or see him pounded to a pulp by said cyclist. Imagine the outcome if he pulled that stunt on an off duty police officer!

Anonymous on 4/17/2016 7:00:25 AM:
The section for about 10-15 miles on either side of Mokane is pock marked with hoof prints. We saw and talked to bikers riding hwy 94 in order to avoid the trail damage. It really spoils a nice ride.

Anonymous on 4/19/2016 2:45:28 PM:
i thought horses are only allowed on certain sections around Sedalia? If its not horses it will be ATVs now. No more bicycling refuge anymore. Should we form a cycling vigilante group that roams the KT to keep it cycling or pedestrians only? Like Road Warriors with Charlene and old Mel?

KO on 9/15/2016 8:36:38 AM:
Courtesy goes a long way if practiced by everyone. Most horse back riders don't want to have their horse spooked and are just as quick to move over in an attempt to not have any altercation. However, the trail signs do clearly state who yields to who, my suggestion would be to ride a different trail if the rules don't sit well with you.

Brian L. from Wichita on 9/16/2016 7:00:06 AM:
Yay! I thought this 12-year-old horsey thread had been put out to pasture, but maybe we can shoot for 15 years, unless the neigh-sayers put a stop to it! ;-)

Will W on 9/16/2016 2:43:58 PM:
How are there 100 replies to this thread...wonders never cease

4C on 9/16/2016 4:20:14 PM:
Over a 12 year span of time that's just a little over 8 a year. That's not too many.

jim from St thomas on 9/16/2016 6:25:34 PM:
Cyclists vs horses reminds a lot of landowners vs cycylists......

Anonymous from Jefferson City on 3/8/2020 5:41:28 AM:
Why are we so limited to places to ride our horses on the Katy trail? I believe we should have the same access as anyone else using the trail.

John Hutchins from Pacific on 3/9/2020 6:27:02 AM:
I'm a cyclist, so grain of salt, but my assumption is access to water. I noticed generally the areas open to horses are the areas with water available at the trailheads. But it's a question for Mo State Parks.