Trail Riding is the largest and fastest growing equine activity in the U.S. and abroad. That means that our trailheads are getting a lot of use!
Think about the trailhead for your favorite trails to ride on a sunny weekend for a moment. What’s the parking situation? Are piles of manure lying about?
If there are you may be in danger of losing your favorite riding spot.
Let’s face it; people who leave manure in the parking or even worse sweep out their trailer before heading home, are advertising that the horse world is full of slobs, and adding fuel to the argument that equines should be banned from the trails.
I recently rode at Riverside State Park in Spokane, WA where local equine groups have created a wonderful trail system, arena, and even a trail obstacle course. It’s a great place to ride. And it’s quite popular.
When I pulled into the parking area the beauty of the green ponderosa pines contrasting against the brilliant blue sky inspired me. The sight of multiple piles of brown manure juxtaposed against the white gravel was less motivating. “Unsightly”, “nasty”, and a few other choice words went through my mind before I settled on “sad”.
In a world where places to ride are becoming more restricted it’s a shame that someone would treat it so disrespectfully. Our continued ability to enjoy these areas is a privilege, not a right. Unless we as a group become much better stewards we’ll have only ourselves to blame as more and more areas are permanently closed to horses.
If you leave manure at the trailhead; who do you think will clean up after you? How about toss it back in the trailer, or bring along a muck bucket, pick up the poo and take it home with you? Your garden and everyone else that you share the trail with will appreciate it.
If you choose not clean up after yourself, fine, we wont hate you. We will however lump you into the group of people that should be inside eating cheesy puffs instead of on the trails.
If you don’t make a habit of leaving an area worse than you found it. Thank you. Please continue your good work and please educate others to do the same.
Preserving our trails for the future is possible with just a little bit of common sense courtesy.
For more information on being a good trail steward visit the TrailMeister column in the Oct. 2010 issue of The Northwest Horse Source. Ghost Riders on the Trail – A Leave No Trace (LNT) Primer for Trail Riders