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Letter from the EPC Chair – November

Fellow Equestrians:
As we welcome back our summer travelers and winter visitors, the trails and show facilities are becoming much busier.  We all want to safely enjoy our horses on the trails, so we must remember that not everyone rides at the same level.  Since trail riding is often considered a recreational activity without the formalities of the arena, here are a few tips to remember on the lost art of trail etiquette to help ensure the safety of all.
  1. For your safety and the safety of others around you, pay attention to your horse and keep him under control. Keep a peripheral eye on the rest of the horses and the environment around you. Being prepared for anything to happen can often prevent a bad accident.  So, always trail read: look ahead, look above, look beside and look behind. Be aware of what's on the trail and if you see someone or something off in the distance, remember they are there. By being aware of what's around you, you won't be caught off guard!
  2. Leave the texting, music and phone calls back at the barn.  This will help you focus on the environment and potential hazards.  Carrying a cell phone for emergencies is a good idea, but it is a distraction so turn the ringer off and stay focused on the ride.
  3. Stop if there is an accident. This should be pretty obvious, to help those in need. Once again, horses are herd animals and do not like to be left alone, especially in an unfamiliar locations. If you ride off, while someone is trying to mount back up, their horse could panic and take off to catch up with the group.
  4. At paved street crossings, stop before crossing. Look both ways, then cross the street. Even though auto traffic is supposed to stop for horsemen, it doesn't always -- even in crossings.  Remember horses and riders do not dent very well when hit by cars.
  5. Always wear a helmet when trail riding. Think about wearing a helmet the same way you think about using seat belts in your car. You don't anticipate a crash but when you really need the protection that it offers -- if you aren't wearing one, you can't "magically" put it on.
  6. Remember that all riders are not at the same level.  The courteous thing to do is to slow your speed when approaching another horse to match the speed of that horse.  This will help prevent accidents.
  7. Communication is key.  Make your intentions known to others and make sure they are capable riders and comfortable with handling the situation you are presenting or requesting.
This month our meetings will continue to focus on the future of the EOZD.  We will finish up the presentations from the venues at both meetings in November, as well as discuss design details for the paving of Saddle Trail Park southern half on November 12th.  Meetings can be viewed in person, at Comcast channel 18, or online via the following link: http://wellington.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2. Information packets for the meetings can be found at this link:  https://wellington.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.  And don’t forget our first survey which can be found here: (http://trailusage.surveyanalytics.com)

I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  

Until next month,
Linda Elie