Cyril Haearn wrote:........ When approaching a horse slow down and ring your bell gently several times so it can locate you......
Any horse you meet being ridden or driven on the road is used to people. People bring the horse its food, groom it, pick out its hooves, nail iron shoes on its feet, stable it and turn it out.......
If you are riding your bike and approaching a horse, the thing to do is to convince the horse that there is a person in charge. In other words, speak. Ringing a bell only gives the horse something else unfamiliar to panic about. Horses often don't seem to recognise that there are people in charge of bicycles. Replies have already mentioned taking a h*lm*t off and being upright......a horse is approached by a number of beings, with long pointed heads, the beings are stretched out almost parallel to the road, their back legs are going nineteen to the dozen, and there are shiny bits flashing in the sun. What is it? a pack of wolves?
I have often been cycling in a group approaching a horse, which starts prancing from foot to foot until you talk to it, when it relaxes, as it realises there is a person in charge.
Horses have really good hearing. Coming up behind a horse on a quiet road, position yourself so you can see the horse's head. First you will see one ear turn round to face in your direction. then you will see the horse turn his head just far enough that you can see his eye......which means he can see you. At this point the rider is quite likely to start chastising the horse for misbehaving, at which point I say loudly "The horse is looking at me."
If a horse has seen you and is calm, its safe to pass. I wouldn't get too close to any horse thats agitated and prancing around.....they are very big, very powerful, and very heavy.
edited to add.....don't worry about being loud enough for inattentive riders to hear you....provided its obviously a human voice, horses will be fine with it.