Mud Season

Overnight, snow morphed into mud.  Got to love New England!

Two weeks ago, I had to cancel my lesson because my trailer was frozen to the driveway.  (Lesson learned, don’t forget the wooden block).

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This week, it is too muddy to trailer out. (I once managed to get my trailer stuck in the mud, learned that lesson too.)

Some of the barn gals and I tried to get out on the trails, but it was too muddy; we returned back to the barn disappointed. It is sad to have a 50 degree day and not be able to ride.

Out of respect for the trails, it is best to stay off them until the mud dries up.

It’s tricky keeping horses in suburbia. Unless we trailer out to a State or National Park, we ride shorter local trails heavily used by mountain bikers, runners, hikers, dog walkers, and families. Some of them are not thrilled about horses sharing their trails. In some towns, horses already have been prohibited access.

Manure is a concern that continues to surface as a complaint. One argument I have heard is that if dog waste must be carried out of the woods, so should horse waste.  Unlike dog feces, horse manure does not contain significant pathogens that pose risk to humans or the environment. Horses are herbivores and their droppings break down quickly.

However, I understand the “ick” factor. Horse poo is large and other trail users do not want to step in it. If Jigs goes on a high traffic trail, I do get off and kick it out of the way as a courtesy. Of course, he is only 14.3 hands, so getting back on is not as much a challenge as a 16 plus hand horse would be.

I also try to be courteous to fellow trail users- many of whom have no livestock experience. I consider myself an ambassador for my sport. Friendly conversational education goes a long way to promote good will.

Will it be enough? Maybe. Maybe not. The equestrian community must take an active role in maintaining our access to trails. Some ways to do this include attending local meetings, trail work days, and joining trail organizations.

I belong to the Bay State Trail Riders Association. BSTRA has spent years supporting multi-use trails in Massachusetts. Through their advocacy, trail riders have a strong voice and a mechanism to give back to the trails.  Visit http://www.bstra.org to view the list of projects they have completed. It is impressive.

There are clubs like this all over the country. If maintaining access for trail riding is important to you, I recommend you seek out organizations in your area and add your voice and hands to the fight.

Explore posts in the same categories: #besthorseintheworld, besthorseintheworld, horses, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding, Uncategorized

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One Comment on “Mud Season”

  1. MaryEllen Coyne Says:

    Great blog, put me on your list!


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