The ELCR Resource Library is a robust resource of articles, tools, templates, videos and “how-to” tutorials to help horsemen and women experiencing local land related issues. To help the public navigate these vast resources, we have developed a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” to help guide you through the Resource Library to the appropriate resources relating to your particular issue.

Simply look for the question below that best represents your issue and click on the resource links below the question. If you still have questions or need assistance after accessing these resources, you can submit a technical assistance request by clicking here and ELCR will responding directly to your request for assistance.

Equine Access to Private Land

Q1-1: The trail on which we have been riding goes through several private properties. One of the property owners has said that we can no longer ride on their property, as they are afraid of liability in case of injury. What should we do? (Topic area: Liability Issues)

1404236529_align-leftGetting Organized: Creating an Equestrian Trail Organization

Whether public or private trails are at issue, First Get Organized! Reasons for setting up an equine interest organization, step by step instructions on ways to do it and what you can accomplish for your equine community through your organization are the elements of this thorough report.

1404236529_align-leftReducing Recreational Riding Risk

Riding private land, or own land and allowing recreational equestrian use? Here are some elements of liability protection that both parties need to know about to help keep access to private land- Recreational Land Use Laws (RLUs), Equine Activity Liability Laws (EALAs), and private liability waivers.

1404236529_align-leftDirectory of Equine Activity and Recreational Use Statutes for Horsemen and Landowners

After reading “Reducing Recreational Riding Risk”, go to the links in this Directory showing the Activity Statutes and Recreational Use Statues for each state. Links to actual statues are updated frequently, but check with an attorney for more recent updates and interpretation. Needed knowledge for equestrians and land owners.

1404236529_align-leftLandowner Relations – A Complex Issue Affecting Short and Long-Term Hunt Viability

Whether you are riding with a hunt or other cross-country recreational riding (including trails), this article gives you guidance about developing, maintaining, and often updating your relationships with land owners. Especially as properties change hands.

1404236529_align-leftPrivate Lands and Open Trails

This article shows you how Tryon, NC land owners and equestrians formed and depend upon the Foothills Equestrian Trails Association (FETA) to protect their open land and trail systems from incompatible development and liability issues.


Q1-2: We have been riding across privately owned property for years. Recently the owner of the private property passed away and the heirs want to sell the property and have applied for a zoning change so that it can be subdivided and developed for houses. What can we do to stop the zoning change? Can we prevent the property from being sold that way, and keep it as agricultural/fields? (Topic area: land conservation, planning and zoning)

1404236529_align-leftChronicling Success: An Update on the Preservation of Callithea Farm as an Equine Park

This story explains the steps taken by a group of people that recognized the value of and development danger to an equestrian property without heirs that could afford upkeep. See how the group used formal organization, outreach, and cooperation to create a partnership with Montgomery Parks and fund this special equestrian park.

1404236529_align-leftLocal Planning and Zoning Practices Related to Equine Facilities

What you need to know about how towns and counties regulate the type of equine facilities and numbers of horses you can have on your property.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Planning for an Equestrian-Friendly Community for Community Leaders and Planners

This 7-step process shows what equestrian community members need to do to get equestrian lands, facilities, and activities written in to their community comprehensive plan.

1404236529_align-leftPlanning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities

A comprehensive guidebook about how community planning and zoning is accomplished, what it means to horse activities and access to land, facilities and trails, and how you can, and should, use the planning and zoning process to protect the land you ride on. Includes information on the types of conservation mechanisms that are commonly used to protect land.


Q1-3:We live in an equine friendly community with many private land owners. We are interested in developing a local trail system that would require access to private land. Where do we start? (Topic areas: land conservation, liability issues)

1404236529_align-leftAssuring Equestrian Access: Easements Assure Access to Equestrian Haven in North Carolina

Read about the many steps taken to establish the 4,000 acre Walthour-Moss Foundation equestrian preserve for over a period of almost 50 years, and the subsequent steps taken to maintain access to the preserve though adjacent private properties when new owners began to deny riders passage.

1404236529_align-leftPrivate Lands and Open Trails: Organizing to Preserve Trails in Tryon

This article shows you how Tryon, NC land owners and equestrians formed and depended upon the Foothills Equestrian Trails Association (FETA) to protect their open land and trail systems from incompatible development and liability issues.

1404236529_align-leftEssex Country Trail Association

Susanna Collorado-Mansfield initiated a trail organization when she saw trail being lost in her home town of Hamilton, MA. Read how the Association grew, promoting responsibility by riders and a needed sense of security for private land owners so that the open lands and trails in Hamilton and surrounding towns were preserved and maintained.

1404236529_align-leftFinding Funds for Your Private Land Trails

Developing equestrian trails on your private land or connecting private lands is an important component of your recreational riding experience. But how do you go about raising the needed funds to develop these trails? Get some ideas here.

1404236529_align-leftReducing Recreational Riding Risk

Riding private land, or own land and allowing recreational equestrian use? Here are some elements of liability protection that both parties need to know about to help keep access to private land- Recreational Land Use Laws (RLUs), Equine Activity Liability Laws (EALAs) and private liability waivers.

1404236529_align-leftDirectory of Equine Activity and Recreational Use Statutes for Horsemen and Landowners

ing the Activity Statutes and Recreational Use Statues for each state. Links to actual statues are updated frequently, but check with an attorney for more recent updates and interpretation. Needed knowledge for equestrians and land owners.

1404236529_align-leftSuccessful Trail Organization Models to Protect Endangered Trails

Learn from these trail organization models from the Carolina foothills area. Talks about landowner and other user concerns. Watch the associated video ‘How to Create & Sustain a Private Trail System’.

1404236703_videoHow to Create & Sustain a Private Trail System

As private land changes hands and concerns over liability issues increase, horsemen and women often find the access to the private land they once enjoyed for equine activity is increasingly threatened. building local coalitions and maintaining relationships are imperative to ensure that equestrians have access to private lands for fox hunting and recreational riding. This webinar informs equestrians on how to advocate for horse use, develop relationships and work with private land owners to keep trails open to equestrians.

1404236529_align-leftHow to Assure the Reluctant Landowner

This article provides some steps to take to help you develop, maintain- and sometimes repair- critical relationship with private landowners.


Equine Access to Public Land

Q2-1: We ride on a trail on public land that is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. They have recently closed a section of the trail saying that we are doing too much damage to a habitat area. There is no way to get around this trail without spending a lot of money and time that we don’t have. What can we do to get our trail back? (Topic area: trail stewardship, public land manager relations, sustainability)

1404236529_align-leftGetting Organized: Creating an Equestrian Trail Organization

Whether public or private trails are at issue, First Get Organized! Reasons for setting up an equine interest organization, step by step instructions on ways to do it and what you can accomplish for your equine community through your organization are the elements of this thorough report.

1404236529_align-leftHorse Trail Access: Protect It or Lose It

Understand the damage that can be done to trails by equestrian use and how it can cause trail closure on both public and private land. Read about actions that you and riding club can take to keep relationships- and horses- on solid ground.

1404236529_align-leftConsidering Trail Closures on Public Agency Lands: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

US Fish & Wildlife manages some of our more sensitive public lands, and is diligent about protecting these lands and habitats. Equestrians need to understand the agency’s perceptions about equine impact, what you need to know and what you can do to alleviate issues and maintain access.

1404236529_align-leftSaving Our Endangered Trails

Whether liability or maintenance issues, there are things that equestrians need to know about each to maintain trails access. Who to talk to, mitigating damage and regular trail use are discussed.


Q2-2: We ride a trail that goes through a Forest Service area. We have been having some trouble with trail conditions and people don’t stay on the trail, which makes things worse. The Forest Service manager has complained to our riding group about damage to the trail. What can we do to solve this problem? (Topic area: trail stewardship, public land manager relations)

1404236529_align-leftRules of the Ride

A comprehensive list of trail behaviors that will hold you in good stead with public land managers by keeping your public land trails, campgrounds, and trailheads in good condition.

1404236529_align-leftHorse Trail Access: Protect It or Lose It

Understand the damage that can be done to trails by equestrian use and how it can cause trail closure on both public and private land. Read about actions that you and riding club can take to keep relationships- and horses- on solid ground.

1404236529_align-leftSaving Our Endangered Trails

Whether liability or maintenance issues, there are things that equestrians need to know about each to maintain trails access. Who to talk to, mitigating damage and regular trail use are discussed.

1404236529_align-leftConsidering Trail Closures on Public Agency Lands: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

US Fish & Wildlife manages some of our more sensitive public lands, and is diligent about protecting these lands and habitats. Equestrians need to understand the agency’s perceptions about equine impact, what you need to know and what you can do to alleviate issues and maintain access.


Q2-3: For many years we have enjoyed access to a local public beach for horseback riding. Recently the local government has moved to deny equine access to the beaches. What can be done to retain access for equine activities? (Topic area: economic issues (recreation), community planning and zoning)

1404236529_align-leftSaving Our Endangered Trails

Whether liability or maintenance issues, there are things that equestrians need to know about each to maintain trails access. Who to talk to, mitigating damage and regular trail use are discussed.


Q2-4: We have recently been denied access or are experiencing restricted access for our horses on a public multi-user trail. What can be done? (Topic area: trail stewardship, public land manager relations)

1404236529_align-leftCommenting on Trail Management Plans

When state and federal agencies revise their land management plans, they have a public input period. This is the perfect opportunity to voice your opinions and ask for what you need for your horse community. Here is how to weigh in- and still be friends!

1404236529_align-leftHorse Trail Access: Protect It or Lose It

Understand the damage that can be done to trails by equestrian use and how it can cause trail closure on both public and private land. Read about actions that you and riding club can take to keep relationships- and horses- on solid ground.

1404236529_align-leftSaving Our Endangered Trails

Whether liability or maintenance issues, there are things that equestrians need to know about each to maintain trails access. Who to talk to, mitigating damage and regular trail use are discussed.

1404236529_align-leftSweat Equity and Cooperation Leads to Successful Shared Trails: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Model What Works in Shared Trails

A model ‘how they did it’ story that can be used anywhere in the US. When the USA Forest Service in Georgia sought to limit equestrian access to trail segments, potentially eliminating cross country riding, a broad coalition of multiple user organizations (CoTrails) was spearheaded by Back Country Horsemen. Through hard work on the trails and off, a strategic trails plan was created. Successful, cooperative implementation by volunteer user groups is ongoing.

1404236529_align-leftCan’t We All Just Get Along?

Trail budget cuts and multiple user pressures can generate real conflicts that result in the wrong type of intervention by public land managers. Here is how to maintain access to trails, as managers, user groups and equestrians learn to work together and support each other.


Q2-5: We have long enjoyed access to a public park for equine activities but are feeling competition with other recreational user groups, such as expanding soccer fields, and fear losing access to this public recreational area. What can be done to ensure that we can retain access to this recreational space?  (Topic area: public land manager relations, benefits of horses to your community)

1404236529_align-leftUsing Public Lands for Competition

Want to utilize public open space for equine competition or recreational events? Listening to the needs of the landowner, and accommodating them wherever possible, may be key to success. Three horsewomen talk about the hard work and communication skills that using public land takes, including the right touch of political savvy.

1404236529_align-leftSustain Your Horse Park Series: Masterson Station Park

From speaking out to participating in volunteer workdays, equestrians must stay involved in maintaining their equine performance venues. Masterson Station Park demonstrates how equestrians, community members, and local government can mutually benefit from a cooperative relationship.

1404236529_align-leftSuccessful Strides: A Pony Club Plays a Big Role in Maintaining Their Equestrian Park

Riding clubs and youth groups are an important component of maintaining equestrian facilities in community parks. See how these Pony Club members not only provide needed maintenance for their facility, but show the community how important their riding activities are.


Development, Planning and Zoning

Q3-1: I have been boarding horses for years on my four acre property. I live there, and the horses are partially mine and some belong to boarders.  My barn has room for 10 horses. Some nearby neighbor complained to the town about the odors and about traffic on the weekends when boarders tend to come and ride their horses. I never had problems with this before, but some of the nearby properties have recently sold.  The town is telling me that I have to reduce the number of horses I keep. What should I do? (Topic area: community planning/zoning, economic issues, best management practices)

1404236529_align-leftHow Many Horses Can I Keep? – Equine Ordinances Control the Numbers

Methods for determining the number of horses allowed on a given piece of property, farm, or ranch land are usually derived based on zoning ordinances. Look at some example, and a different approach based on best management practices, for achieving healthy horse numbers.


Q3-2: Our community has a history of horse ownership and small horse properties, and has access to a trail system. Recently, developers are purchasing abandoned properties in the area and proposing or building housing and commercial property. The city is supporting this development and trying to ‘encourage’ people in the neighborhood to sell their properties to developers.  Even if we don’t sell, we feel that the historic nature of our small horse facilities and the equine community feel is being destroyed. What should we do? (Topic area: economic issues, community planning and zoning, land conservation)

1404236529_align-leftOpen and Green: Conserving Horse Lands to Sustain Your Community and Economy

How to make the case for the value of horses and horse lands to local decision makers and planners.

1404236529_align-leftPlanning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities

A comprehensive guidebook about how community planning and zoning is accomplished, what it means to horse activities and access to land, facilities and trails, and how you can, and should, use the planning and zoning process to protect the land you ride on. Includes information on the types of conservation mechanisms that are commonly used to protect land.

1404236529_align-leftOrganizing Your Community to Oppose a Proposed Development or Zoning Change

Need to oppose and unfavorable zoning request on nearby property? Here’s how to gain understanding of the situation, who to contact and the basics of what to do.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Influencing Zoning Change in Your Community

This is a more specific step by step process to help you and hour horse organization speak up about a potential zoning change.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Influencing Horse Friendly Planning for Horsemen

This article addresses steps for you and your horse organization to take in order to influence zoning during the community planning process and before zoning changes arise.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Planning for an Equestrian-Friendly Community for Community Leaders and Planners

This 7-step process shows what equestrian community members need to do to get equestrian lands, facilities, and activities written in to their community comprehensive plan.


Q3-3: We have very few places to board near our neighborhood, which has become very dense and urbanized over the last decades. There is a lot of pressure on the few facilities that are left to sell out. What can we do as a small group of equestrians to help these folks to hold on to their boarding facilities and not sell out? (Topic area: economic/cultural issues, community planning and zoning, land conservation)

1404236529_align-leftHow Many Horses Can I Keep? – Equine Ordinances Control the Numbers

Methods for determining the number of horses allowed on a given piece of property, farm, or ranch land are usually derived based on zoning ordinances. Look at some example, and a different approach based on best management practices, for achieving healthy horse numbers.

1404236529_align-leftPlanning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities

A comprehensive guidebook about how community planning and zoning is accomplished, what it means to horse activities and access to land, facilities and trails, and how you can, and should, use the planning and zoning process to protect the land you ride on. Includes information on the types of conservation mechanisms that are commonly used to protect land.


Q3-4: I am a member of a riding club and horse land protection organization. We would like to help our local parks department to acquire some land next to one of the larger parks that has access to horse trails. The existing park has an old barn that could be refurbished for boarding or at least day access. We would need to build a riding ring and improve the trails, plus add some new trails to connect to a trail system that runs through some government land a couple of miles away. Where should we start? (Topic area: economic issues (recreation), community planning and zoning)

1404236529_align-leftAssuring Equestrian Access: Easements Assure Access to Equestrian Haven in North Carolina


Q3-5: We live in a community with a rich equine culture and history but recently there has been continued development with little consideration about the impact on the culture of our community and horse keeping.  Some of the horsemen are concerned about the future of our community with regard to horse keeping and equine activities. What can be done to keep the community horse friendly? (Topic area: economic issues (recreation), community planning and zoning)

1404236529_align-leftThree Words Every Equestrian Should Know: Land Use Planning

A brief explanation of what land use planning is and why the horse community needs to be involved in the process.

1404236529_align-leftHow Many Horses Can I Keep? – Equine Ordinances Control the Numbers

Methods for determining the number of horses allowed on a given piece of property, farm, or ranch land are usually derived based on zoning ordinances. Look at some example, and a different approach based on best management practices, for achieving healthy horse numbers.

1404236529_align-leftLocal Planning and Zoning Practices Related to Equine Facilities

Getting a grip on zoning ordinances will help you understand how keeping, raising, selling, showing, or carrying out other equine activities on your land are regulated, including the design of your facility.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Influencing Horse Friendly Planning for Horsemen

This article addresses steps for you and your horse organization to take in order to influence zoning during the community planning process and before zoning changes arise.

1404236529_align-leftPlanning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities

Study this comprehensive guide for the basics on how horse properties are addressed in the planning and regulation process. *Note: our NEW Planning and Zoning Guide will be out January of 2018!


Q3-6: I have a moderately sized piece of farmland that I would like to board horses on, give lessons and connect to a nearby trail for trail rides. What can I do to help with expenses? Are there any government funds or grants that would help me with some of the work? Can I get donations to help out? (Topic area: equine economic impact, community planning)

1404236529_align-leftFinding Funds for Your Private Land Trails

This article discusses the need for private land trails, reducing liability, and a list of ways to explore potential funding opportunities from a variety of sources.


Q3-7:We have been riding across privately owned property for years. Recently the owner of the private property passed away and the heirs want to sell the property and have applied for a zoning change so that it can be subdivided and developed for houses. What can we do to stop the zoning change? Can we prevent the property from being sold that way, and keep it as agricultural/fields? (Topic area: land conservation, planning and zoning)

1404236529_align-leftThree Words Every Equestrian Should Know: Land Use Planning

A brief explanation of what land use planning is and why the horse community needs to be involved with the process.

1404236529_align-leftSeven Steps to Influencing Horse Friendly Planning for Horsemen

This article addresses steps for you and your horse organization to take in order to influence zoning during the community planning process and before zoning changes arise.

1404236529_align-leftPlanning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities

Study this comprehensive guide for the basics on how horse properties are addressed in the planning and regulation process. *Note: Our NEW Planning and Zoning Guide will be out January of 2018!


Land conservation

Q4-1: I currently own a large property that allows equine access. How do can I protect the land from development and retain equine access on the land? (Topic area: land protection)

1404236529_align-leftWhat is a Conservation Easement and How Can It Help?

A brief explanation of conservation easements and how they can be utilized by the horse community to save and protect horse land.

1404236529_align-leftEquestrian Land Protection Guide

1404236529_align-leftSample Equestrian-Friendly Conservation Easement

Always have a land use attorney prepare your conservation easement documentation, but this is a good sampling of the kind of language that might be included in your equine land easement.

1404236529_align-leftGuide to Equestrian-Friendly Conservation Easements


Q4-2: The stable that I board/ride at is being sold. What can be done to keep it open to horses and horse related activities? (Topic area: land protection, community planning)

1404236529_align-leftThree Words Every Equestrian Should Know: Land Use Planning

A brief explanation of what land use planning is and why the horse community needs to be involved with the process.

1404236529_align-leftWhat is a Conservation Easement and How Can It Help?

A brief explanation of conservation easements and how they can be utilized by the horse community to save and protect horse land.

1404236529_align-leftChronicling Success: An Update on the Preservation of Callithea Farm as an Equine Park

This article tells the story of how an existing farm and equine riding center was conserved and made part of the municipal parks system. The process and people involved are discussed, as well as the somewhat uncertain future of the farm engendered by not using a specifically equestrian easement.