Horse trail riding in public and private parks is a privilege. There is no law that says they have to let us ride. Horse trail riders have been advocating to keep horse trails and horse camps open and appreciate every one of them. We aren't easy keepers, you know. We come in with big rigs and big animals and poop and hay. And good trail riders try their best to leave no trace. NO TRACE! We put our horse's poop in the designated area and if there is none, we take it home; the same with left over hay. Poop and hay are treated the same as garbage. You don't leave it lying around!
Today I learned from some horse trail riders who were visiting Bader Park that other riders have been less than considerate about their riding privileges and not cleaning up after themselves when visiting Bader. That gives all of us a black eye and puts at risk our riding opportunity at this fine park. It's simple, folks. If you don't know how to clean up after yourself, don't leave the farm. It's not our job to keep apologizing for you, it's not the landowners responsibility to clean up your mess. It is YOUR job to be a good steward of our sport.
It seems every now and then I have to get up on my soapbox and remind those "less informed" about what it means to be a guest. A few years ago I had to out a Pall Mall smoker for polluting a favorite horse camp. Either that person quit smoking or quit riding (hopefully the latter) because I haven't seen their butts since.
I would really like to believe that these uncouth riders are not just lazy bums but perhaps new to the sport and haven't learned the ins and outs or didn't think ahead and forgot the manure fork (trash bag, raker, etc.). So if that's the case, listen up and I'll give you some tips:
- Riding in public parks is by invitation of such park. If YOU trash it, WE won't be invited back. And that pisses me off.
- Trash includes hay, manure, cigarette butts, cans, and anything else you have brought in with you. If there is no place to dispose of it, take it home with you. It's yours.
- Clean out camp stalls thoroughly. Leave no poop or hay. Rake it clean.
- If you set up fencing, clean the fenced-in area like you would a stall. Rake it clean.
- If you are fencing for more than a day or two days, move your fence so you don't totally kill the grass.
- If you simply tied to the trailer to saddle your horse and it pooped by your trailer, spread it or take it home. Don't leave piles.
- And for goodness sake, if you don't know – ask!
This may sound nit-picky, but it is a big deal to the parks. So make it a big deal to horse trail riders or we might find ourselves ousted from our favorite place.