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Multipurpose . . . Brenda Reading greets a cyclist as she rides along part of the old Waitaki Haul Rd. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Horse riders are urging cyclists to make room for them on local trails.

Horse-riding advocacy group New Zealand Network has set up a project called Waitaki Horse Trails to promote track sharing.

Member Brenda Reading said signs had recently been installed along two sections of the old Waitaki Haul Rd, one at Bortons Pond and one between the Otiake River and Kurow.

“The signage funding came from the Meridian Energy Power Up fund,” Mrs Reading said.

A local builder helped with fixings and the timber posts were recycled road signs that were given a fresh coat of paint donated by Mrs Reading’s business, Apex Home Design.

Her husband and son helped to place them alongside the trails.

Mrs Reading said the project aimed to have more shared trails – a phenomenon that worked effectively in many parts of New Zealand and overseas.

The Otago Central Rail Trail was one example, and tracks in Department of Conservation areas were often shared, she said.

The Waitaki Horse Trails Facebook page gives information on public places suitable for riding and advocates for sharing recreational spaces as demand for them increases.

“Whether we use wheels, heels or hooves, we all want to use the trails.”

Many people loved horses and were keen to ride them for the exercise benefits for both the human and the animal, and to spend time with a loved pet, she said.

Several riders had “come out of the woodwork” since the project began. One woman messaged her to express her appreciation of its work.

The advocacy group asked riders to kick any horse effluent to the side of the trail.

“It’s 75% water, so after a day in the sun it crumbles to nothing much,” Mrs Reading said.

Riders were encouraged to observe “common courtesy” as trail users, and they hoped others would do likewise.

Internationally, horses gave way to walkers on trails and cyclists gave way to everyone else, she said. They should pass each other on the left, as in the road rules.

Although riders would ensure their horse was ready for a public trail before taking it along one, occasionally the animal could get upset at encountering a cyclist.

The rider would stop the horse on the side of the track to let the cyclist pass, Mrs Reading said.