Published as received:
Serious Concern in the Equestrian Community
Equestrian Trails, Inc., National chose not to publish Lynn Brown’s last message in the magazine as National Trail Coordinator. I believe it is essential that a copy of this message is given to every member of every ETI Corral in the organization nationally. Lynn deserves to have her point of view published as a long time board member of ETI, and as the National Trails Coordinator for more than 15 years.
Lynn Brown’s Final ETI Trails Coordinator Message:
“ETI’s Mission statement is “Dedicated to Equine Legislation, Good Horsemanship and the Acquisition and preservation of trails, open space and public lands.” For years, I have successfully worked with public agencies all over the State of California to produce equine legislation, acquisition and preservation of trails, open space and public lands for the benefit of preserving the equestrian lifestyle into the future.
“I do not agree with the current direction the President of ETI is taking regarding mountain biking on crowded urban trails, or as members in a new Corral. Nor do I support his exclusion of the voices of ETI corrals in this important issue. Since January, incalculable damage has been done to ETI, not just to the members and reputation of this organization itself, but to all the equestrians in the state, and in the U.S. who are trying valiantly to preserve their peaceful bike free hiking/equestrian trails for the future.
“The best course of action is for me to resign as National Trail Coordinator. I cannot support what I consider to be a disastrous course of action. It is very sad that ETI’s name will be now used all over the U.S. to promote mountain biking on trails.
“In the future, I will be directing my resources and knowledge toward goals that help preserve the equestrian lifestyle, concentrating my efforts throughout California. Locally, I’ll continue working with the City of L.A. and the L.A. Equine Advisory Committee among the many other open space preservation groups where I function successfully as a member. I will be available to help any equestrian/hiking groups. Of course, I am not abandoning the many struggles we all face, I am withdrawing my energy from ETI National.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve ETI for all these years. I wish you the best of luck.”
Protecting the Trail User On Single-Track Trails:
Many Mountain Bikers are often after the thrill of the downhill challenge. Unfortunately, some mountain bikers disregard and destroy trail signage and the trails, and do not consider the risks they are imposing on other trail users from their thrill seeking adventures. On single-track trails, even the ordinary careful biker is still a danger. The rest of us are left to figure out how to safely use the trails that we originally built for hikers and equestrians.
From Mary Kaufman:
“ETI National has already taken a stance on this issue: ETI National, represented by ETI Trail Coordinator Lynn Brown, has been adamant about not sharing the trails and for very good reason. It's not safe and downright dangerous!” – Mary Kaufman, President ETI Corral 54.
All the Education in the world will never result in making single-track trails safe for multi-use. For the horse, Instinctive Nature will kick in no matter the level of training that horse has achieved when confronted with a fast moving object, whether from in front or coming from behind, coming from above or below. The sudden and unexpected threat of a fast moving biker can undue even the highest level of training.
We are concerned that since January 2013, ETI may be going down an ineffective path with the mountain bike organizations. These organizations are well funded, and so very astute and clever in placing themselves in the forefront of the battle over single-track trails throughout the United States with all government and park agencies. If we hikers and equestrians do not voice our objections to these serious safety issues and join together to form a coalition to protect our interest in trails, we will lose all of them through our fear of an encounter with mountain bikers.
The information here is critical to the survival of ETI National. We are also attaching a Mountain Bike Tutorial to this email so that it becomes public knowledge.
If you have not yet heard about the tragic encounter that fellow equestrian Crystal Costa endured, we encourage you to read on:
“…in the January issue of the ETI National Magazine, on page 37, there is a full page ad regarding supporting the recovery expenses of Crystal Costa. Crystal … a Tevis Cup endurance rider…became a paraplegic as a result of coming off her horse due to an encounter with a mountain biker.
“One of many articles written about this incident can be viewed at: http://www.auburnjournal.com/article/injured-rider-returns-home-family-friends-horses-and-dogs
“ ‘Always find out if there is a bike race on the narrow trails and on trails where you'd never think there would be bike,’ Costa said. ‘Riding horses, riding bikes, hiking out on the multiuse trails, it's a gamble.’
“It's not a matter of "providing training" for the equestrians or, for that matter, for the mountain bikers. It's a matter of safety. Paraplegic Crystal Costa is very clear about that. …those of us concerned with the safety issues mountain bikers cause will be helpless to fight it.” [from Mary Kaufman, ETI Corral 54]
We would like your comments, suggestions, and particularly your documentation of any incident/experience with mountain bikes– via email.
--Stephanie Abronson, Equestrian Trails, Inc., Life Member, Corral 36
--Gwen Allen, Past National President Equestrian Trails, Inc. & ETI Corral 22
-- Sharon Richardson - President, ETI Corral 22
-- Jeffrey Davidson, ETI Corral 36
--Mary Kaufman, President, ETI Corral 54
--Elaine Macdonald, Area Trail Coordinator for the Antelope Valley and Board Member of ETI Corral 138