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San Diego Trail Alliance clinic brings horses and bikes together

From Horsetrader staff reports

Trail riders and bicyclists took to the River Valley Equestrian Center arena May 25 during the “Learning to share the trail” one-day clinic put on by the San Diego Trail Alliance. (Horsetrader photo)

LAKESIDE—What could possibly be more desensitizing for a group 14 trail horses than to line them up, facing across the arena from a similar amount of spooky mountain bikers?

How about sending everyone—riders and bikers—circling the arena at once? At different speeds!

Those were just two scenes during a thoughtful one-day clinic called “Learning to Share the Trail,” put on May 25 by the San Diego Trail Alliance at the River Valley Equestrian Center. After a “horse-and-rider only” morning of drills and coaching designed to desensitize horses to a variety of common trail encounters, SDTA members enjoyed a pizza lunch with members of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. Then, both groups participated in afternoon exercises and discussions designed to edify both groups—riders and bikers—about their trail counterparts.

Also on hand was the San Diego Unit of the Backcountry Horsemen with information pamphlets, as well as info from the Leave No Trace organization with tips on trail use ethics. In addition to “Backcountry” topics, there are “Frontcountry” guidelines, too, for the well-used trails in or near suburban areas. The SDTA’s clinic was just the second one that introduced mountain bikers and riders, and it drew participants from as far as Del Mar and San Marcos.

The SDTA is a volunteer group with three objectives: 1. Keep trails open for all recreational users; 2. Foster good communication between all recreational user groups; and 3. Maximize usage of recreational for all.

“Getting more out of the trail means learning more about the people we share the trail with—and about what they enjoy about the trail,” reads an SDTA flyer. “And, most importantly, how to safely share.”

More online: http://bit.ly/906_SDTA


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