Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dear Parks & Rec Depts of the World

Dear Parks & Recreation Departments of the World,

When you are kind enough to think of us horse owners, kind enough to design a place for us to ride, please consider this:

  • Make it clear that the trails you build are for horses and hikers only.

  • Do not let motorcycles and ATVs take over and chase all the horseback riders away.

  • Do not build an equestrian arena or trail next to a property where motorized vehicles are raced.

  • Do not build an equestrian center next to the animal shelter where dogs bark frantically day in and day out.

  • Do not build an equestrian center next to a construction company where giant trucks dump mounds of earthy material and bulldozers push it around.

  • Or worse yet, do not use your own equestrian facility as a place for you to deliver and store materials for building your other projects, thus increasing truck, tractor, backhoe traffic, and noise levels around horses.

  • Do not build an equestrian facility next to a dump site when large trucks deliver garbage and garbage is both crushed and incinerated, thus making both loud noises and strange smells for horses to spook over throughout the day.

  • Do not sell a portion of your equestrian land to a casino and let it build a neon monstrosity next to the show arena.

  • Do not sit back and let a mega-mart move in adjacent to your horse facility and increase traffic 100% on that once-quiet street that is next to the warm-up arena.

  • Do not build an equestrian arena or trail next to a fire station where sirens suddenly fill the air at a deafening volume.
Of course, we have all grown up seeing horses being ridden in parades while fire engines blast their sirens and flash their lights around them, and clowns on mopeds whiz past, but those horses are special. Someone has put a lifetime into training those horses so that they can withstand loud noises and sudden movements. Most horses are not like that. Most horses flee, often dumping their riders in the process, when something scares them. Scaring a horse can result in the rider having broken bones, including a broken neck or broken back, head trauma, or death.

If you want to help us horse owners, please make a place for us that is quiet, peaceful, and free of flags flapping in the wind. Make a place where young or inexperienced horses can venture out into the world and feel confident. Make the ground soft for their sensitive hooves. Make the ground soft in case a rider falls off.

If you are wondering why no horseback riders use your existing facilities, take stock of its surroundings.





(And in case you are wondering... yes, the Parks & Rec Departments, Improvement Districts, Cities, and Counties in my area did each of those DO NOTS.)


Train Wreck said...

Hey you!
I am running late for "date night" but I wanted to let you know, I have a little something at "my place" for you!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Thank you! We all need a nice quiet safe place to ride. Unfortunately, since we are not as popular as bikers and ATV's we get pushed aside in favor of people who don't ride horses. I think we are becoming a vanishing breed and replaced my machines.

Flying Lily said...

Great advice!! I hope they get the message. We have a lot of crabby horse people around these parts so -- community is good. Hope your people in power get this message.

Twinville said...

I think anyone involved in city planning, parks and recreation, and Open Space development should be expected to take a week's worth of horse riding 'training' through areas where all those noisy trucks, ATV's, barking dogs, waving flags, etc share the same trails and arenas that horses are welcome and invited to travel.

Only then would they understand and make some changes.