Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why are People So Stupid About Horses?

I just read an article in the local newspaper that informed me that my worst nightmare is coming true. My stupid, stupid, stupid Recreation and County Commissioners have decided that it would be a brilliant idea to build a motocross track next to the local fairgrounds where people ride their horses! This was one of a very small number of places where I could ride my horses off my property. Nobody in their right mind is going to ride their horses there anymore if they have to compete with motorcycles and ATVs revving their engines and racing around just a few yards away.

Sigh! Now I have to take time out of my schedule to write letters and attend these public hearings to voice my concerns. I'm sure I'll lose, because the Visitor's Authority feels that this motocross track will bring people into Nevada from California, and they will spend their money in our county. All they care about is money. So, I may have to offer to pay a fee to use our fairgrounds for riding if I can do it without the threat of a motocross track just a few yards away.

If this project gets approved, they are already lining up six motocross events for this summer. Apparently, they are testing the suitability of the location right now. Well, people do not have their horses out there right now, because it's still very cold, and raining and snowing on the weekends, so of course, none of these people who make decisions that ruin other people's lives will be able to see the affect that these vehicles have on horses.

I have been looking forward to riding my horses at the fairgrounds all year, and now I have one more terrifying, loud human activity that I have to prepare my horses for and get them used to, so that I don't end up on the ground with a broken neck. I KNEW this would eventually happen, because the motorized vehicle enthusiasts have taken over this rural community, and I keep running into them on every horse trail and arena that I visit.

Listen to this quote by Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority: "If you look at who these folks are, they drive over in big trucks with bikes and helmets, fuel and gear, and they are very attractive customers. They have discretionary income and are very committed to their sport. They are a good customer to bring into town."

I don't think this guy realizes that he's going to lose other customers in the process. A lot of people do not like the noise pollution that motorized bikes bring to rural areas, especially those poor folks who have houses nearby where they plan to build this track. Can you tell that I am mad? I guess it's time for me to find a more horse-friendly community to live in.


Amanda said...

That decision had to have been made by someone who has never owned or been around horses.

Katharine Swan said...

NM -- you CAN fight it, but you need the horse community to show up en force, or at least as much as possible. I'd recommend posting ads on Craigslist in the community and livestock sections, on any other online forum you can think of, putting up signs in local horse-related stores, calling up every horse person you know, etc. The goal is to raise as much awareness as possible. I know you don't have a whole lot of extra time, but maybe you can get some horse people involved who have a little more time than you, who could help a bit more. They might even be able to set up a table or something outside of the local Tractor Supply or similar store and make up flyers to give to people.

You CAN fight this! Just get the horse community up in arms, and the legislators won't be able to ignore them!

Jenn said...

I guess the "powers that be" don't realize that horse owners also drive big trucks, haul big trailers, have tons of expensive gear and spend lots of money on their sport/hobby.

I would probably be upset too, (because I hate the damage motorcycles and 4-wheelers do to land and the air) but it most likely wouldn't stop me from riding at the fairgrounds...just one more thing for the horses to learn to get used to. If they can get used to trains, tractors, hot air balloons and those noisy as all get out single-engine prop planes, they can certainly become accustomed to motorcycles.

Kate said...

I've never understood the attraction of loud machinery in the out of doors - the two things seem inconsistent to me. It's always a struggle to preserve peace and quiet - noise seems to be the norm. We're fortunate to have about 12 miles of trails where motorized vehicles are prohibited - occasionally in the winter there are illegal snowmobiles, but otherwise it's OK. We're very fortunate based on what I hear from you and others.

Lulu said...

The folks that see the dollar signs, just don't understand how horses and motor-vehicles don't mix...

I took my horse to a local park to ride a few years ago. I parked my trailer in the designated place, and unloaded my horse and gear. Just as I was getting tacked up I heard the LOUDEDST noise...and then another, and then another.

Right next to the horse trailer area was a black powder shooting range. I kid you not....they put a shooting range next to a horse park.

Since then I've had my husband do more target shooting at home, to help the horses get use to the noise.

Andrea said...

Don't people know that bikes and horses don't mix? now there are some horses that don't care, but I know a bunch of horses that HATE that vroom vroom sound!

My kids have both dirt bikes and horses. My TB mare hates the dirt bikes. But my FIL's draft horses could care less.

I would think that this track couldn't be too big. We have a track about 8 miles from our house and it's not that big. They do have shows there, but they are so far off the road that you can't hear them.

I hope they can find some land somewhere else. For the sake of all those horse owners who have horses like my TB mare.

We took our 4 wheelers out on a trail that was approved for ATV's, dirt bikes, and horses! The first thing that came to my mind was, "Wow, those must be some good horses!"

Fantastyk Voyager said...

NM- that is horrible news!

Maybe you should post signs at the local feed stores, library, community hall, veterinarian offices, and anywhere else you can think of, and have a community meeting to discuss some action plan to deal with it.

C-ingspots said...

We have the same apparent problem here in our county. The fairgrounds is the oldest in this state and money talks, always has. Attendance has been going down at the county fair for years, so...about 5 years ago they built a track for go-karts. People were up-in-arms around here too. However, it hasn't really been much of a problem. The racing people seem to be quite considerate about staying in their designated area and the horses really don't seem to pay much attention. Surprisingly, it has worked out quite well. Horses are much more flexible and accepting than we usually give them credit for. But, if you're worried...they will believe that there is a reason to become bothered too. Maybe this will work out and become something that will benefit your horses in the long run. I hope so.

Leah Fry said...

That comment about discretionary income -- obviously not a horse owner, or he'd know not a week goes by that we're not shelling out money for one thing or another. I hope you can get a posse and fight it.

KD said...

oh nooooooooo! Actually, I know they have fun on the motorcycles too, but it sure makes for a noisy neighbor. Good luck!

Paint Girl said...

In my state anytime a dirt track or race track was going to be put in, the community fought and won everytime. But you do need a big enough group to fight.
I have also been on trails that are for horses, off road vehicles and hikers before. We have quads and have ridden on roads in the woods and have come across horses. There are rules that ORV user's should abide by, stop ATV, take helmet off (horses see this as very scary! for obvious reasons!) and wait til horses are long gone.
They do teach this in the class they teach up here for ATV riders.
Unfortunately what they wan't to do there is different, because it is racing and they can't stop the race because of horses.
Definately check into seeing if you can get enough people to help you have them move the track elsewhere! It could work!

allhorsestuff said...

I so agree with Val about posting signs and speaking with the local feed stores and such with community awarness..YOU are NOT the only one, and though it does take time and energies..isn't it worth it?!

So sorry for the idiots with loud vehicles that seem to be prevelant!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I definitely would like to see that the ATV / motorbikers get their place to ride, because right now people's kids are riding in unsafe, uncontrolled environments, often breaking the law by riding on busy streets and disturbing the peace in residential neighborhoods. I just would much prefer that they choose some location other than right next to our horse arenas and trails.

Also, next door will be the animal shelter, and if the volunteers who work at that shelter think it is noisy now with all those dogs barking, just wait until there are motorized vehicles racing around outside the kennels.

Some equitation instructors, including my own, give lessons at these fairgrounds to beginning riders who may not have good control of their horses.

This goes beyond just me not wanting to deal with sudden movements and loud noises spooking my horses, but it also has to do with me preferring to enjoy peace and quiet, and being able to listen to the sounds of nature while I ride.

Cheryl Ann said...

Next to the animal shelter, too? What city planner (i.e. "moron") thought up that one? I planners!!! Yes, organize your community and be loud and attend meetings and voice your concerns!I would especially mention the instructors who are giving lessons and the city's LIABILITY should a green rider get injured. PERHAPS the voices of reason will prevail.