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Walking, cycling and horse riding

Horse and cyclist etiquette

This guidance is from the British Horse Society.

Access on firm, well-drained surfaces and wide paths or tracks causes few problems. On multi-use or shared routes be aware that some people are afraid of horses, so be cheery and polite. If an issue arises dismount if necessary, but give way to walkers, or find an alternative route.

Consider the condition of any paths, tracks or fields before accessing them, and whilst you’re using them. Please avoid muddy, wet or boggy ground. It’s useful to look behind you to make sure you’re not causing damage and take an alternative route if horse use is causing erosion.

If your horse dungs on a multi-use path, especially on a path used by cyclists, wheelchairs or prams, it is courteous and responsible to position your horse at the side of the path if you can before it starts or dismount and kick it to the side. Please only kick the dung though, and not the path surface too.

It would be courteous to riding schools and livery yards to do a regular “poo run” to clear dung from local paths.


  • show care and consideration - make sure your speed doesn't alarm others
  • let other path users know you are there by using your bell or saying hello. This is especially important when approaching horses from behind
  • make yourself visible by wearing fluorescent clothing and using lights in the dark or in poor weather
  • keep your eyes and ears open - hoof marks and fresh dung are signs there are horses about
  • slow down if you meet other path users. Fast quiet bikes can startle walkers and horses. Be prepared to dismount if you have to
  • keep off soft ground as it will churn up and make the going difficult for other path users

Horse riders

  • make sure your horse is prepared for the ride and is well enough schooled to cope with all the situations you may meet
  • wear fluorescent clothing no matter what the weather conditions or the time of day
  • keep your eyes and ears open - tyre tracks are a good sign there are cyclists about
  • slow down if you meet other path users and be prepared to dismount if you have to
  • try to move your horse off the path before it dungs. Otherwise dismount if safe to do so and kick the dung off the path
  • keep off soft ground as it will churn it up and make conditions difficult for other path users

If you meet a cyclist

  • if possible move to the side of the path and allow the cyclist past without dismounting. If they hang back let them know it's safe to pass by waving them through. if you meet on a corner try to stand on the inside point to allow the cyclist to use the easier, wider outside track
  • stay off cycle-only paths
  • keep dogs calm and under close control. It's difficult for cyclists to dodge dogs running across the track

If you meet a horse rider

  • make yourself known. Horses can't see behind so ring your bell or say hello and hold back till the rider waves you past
  • pass horses wide and slow and if the horse is startled let it pass you
  • keep dogs calm and under close control
  • if you want to pet a horse ask the rider before you approach

We also have specific guidance and a handy map for horse riders and cyclists using the Lanark Moor Trail.