Horseback Riding

Horse Trail Conservation

May 20, 2013

AQHA partners with Tractor Supply CO. to help you preserve your favorite trails for riding horses.

Be more courtious to other in you trail riding group by following these etiqutte tips. Journal photo.

Trail conservation can provide you with a quality trail experience and is the right thing to do for future generations. Journal photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Tractor Supply Co.

Spring weather brings warm days that are perfect for you and your horse to go trail riding. But many riders are left scratching their heads about where they can get out and ride. Maybe you are one of those riders, and maybe you know of a trail that would be perfect, given a little maintenance work. If so, check out the AQHA Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships (STEP) program, sponsored by Tractor Supply Co.

Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships (STEP), sponsored by Tractor Supply Co., encourages equestrian groups and individuals to participate in trail maintenance and restoration projects. A National Stewardship Award is given each year to a group or organization whose project boasts commendable community involvement and sustainability.

Tractor Supply Co. provided funding for 15 trails in 2012, including a trail system through public and private lands in Stonington, Connecticut, which was managed by Horses Healing Humans Inc. The group used the funds for the removal of brush, branches and impediments, trail widening and erosion control on hills, as well as improved footing, design and the construction of a quarter-mile sensory trail. This trail now serves as a confidence training course for therapeutic riding clients and the general public. In Rutledge, Georgia, funds were managed by the Friends of Hard Labor Creek State Park and went toward the cost of hardening the soil, adding trail markers and addressing grading issues along 22 miles of rural trails. And the Back Country Horsemen of California Los Padres Unit in the Garcia Wilderness in Arroyo Grande, California, rebuilt the tread and constructed water diversion structures on two miles of hiking and riding trails that had become badly eroded and overgrown.

Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships is a program under AQHA’s wing with the purpose of increasing participation in trail stewardship among equine enthusiasts while casting a positive light on horseback riders to land managers and other trail users.

One happy grant recipient expressed her gratitude:  “The grant will allow us the opportunity to open more riding area and improve on the existing trail. You have helped to keep horseback riding safe and enjoyable. We are so excited about the grant. We will be good stewards of the money you have entrusted us with. I can’t thank you enough for helping to make our trail one of the best. The trail will benefit many for years to come.” – With sincere appreciation, Kathy and Don Weiss

Now is your chance to get involved. You can submit project proposals to www.aqha.com/ridegreen to be reviewed by AQHA, Tractor Supply Co., Equestrian Land Conservation Resource and the U.S. Forest Service. A handful of these projects will be selected to receive funds to ensure that trail work gets done.  Trail conservation can provide you with a quality trail experience and is the right thing to do for future generations. The deadline for submission is August 1st, 2013, so get started on your proposal now!

There are many benefits of the STEP program, including helping the U.S. Forest Service recruit volunteers for trail stewardship, educating equestrians so they will be effective advocates for trail stewardship in the horse community and accomplishing maintenance goals for trails and trailheads with land management and much more!