Proper etiquette when encountering horseback riders
I am curious how others would handle this situation: I was on a county (gravel) road this past Saturday morning and came up behind horseback riders (three of them, two adults and a young boy) going in the same direction I was traveling. I stopped when I saw them and waited for them to acknowledge my presence. They looked at me without moving for a while, then one rider moved slightly toward the right hand side of the road. I eased by slowly and his horse started to buck. My bike is not very loud (I run an FMF Q4 on my XR650L). Though he didn't fall off the horse, it still was spooked. My question is, what should I have done differently? There was no where to move off of the road since it was fenced on both sides.
I have met horseback riders many times on the trails in our local National Forest, but we usually meet going in opposite directions. My group of riders will stop, shut off our bikes and remove our helmets. We also greet the riders so the horses know we're "human". Even though we do this, the horses sometime will act uneasy. I guess I would too seeing a bunch of Power Rangers on strange bright colored alien space craft.
The last thing I want to do is see someone hurt. We also need to keep up a good rapport with the equestrian types since we have to work together to keep our trails open.