Horse op­tion lob­bied

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Horse riders are mount­ing a cam­paign to keep their steeds on recre­ational walk­ways.

A na­tional pe­ti­tion wants horse rid­ing and horsedriven car­riages recog­nised by the Gov­ern­ment as an al­ter­na­tive mode of trans­port and in­cluded in New Zealand Trans­port Agency plan­ning.

Horse rid­ing was in­creas­ingly be­ing pushed out of recre­ational trails, par­tic­u­larly in the North Is­land where walk­ers and cy­clists were favoured over horses, New Zealand Rid­ing Club pres­i­dent Chris­tine Chris­tian, of Christchurch, said. ‘‘Imag­ine what would hap­pen if you rode through Ha­gley Park. In the good old days they used to go through the park and I am not sure what hap­pened with the by­laws, but this has [long since ceased].’’

Some of the trails from which horses were ex­cluded had ac­tu­ally been built to cater for horses and horsedriven ve­hi­cles. She said riders wanted to en­sure horses would continue to be given free ac­cess to trails.

Horse rid­ing seems to get more lee­way around Christchurch, with horse rid­ing trails at Bot­tle Lake For­est Park and parts of Waikuku and McLeans Is­land.

Chris­tian said horse riders gen­er­ally ac­cepted the rid­ing bal­ance for the rail trail, but wanted some as­sur­ance that other trails would re­main open and by­laws would not tighten against horse trans­port.

In the North Is­land horse rid­ing is for­bid­den on the Motu Trails Cy­cle­wayas well as the Ohakune Coach Roadand the Waikato River Trails, 2009. Some of these were old car­riage trails.

Chris­tian said horse rid­ing was a per­mit­ted ac­tiv­ity at Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park in the United States and Hyde Park in Lon­don.

Horse riders were also us­ing the pe­ti­tion to en­sure they con­tin­ued to be al­lowed shared ac­cess on open roads. The pe­ti­tion is on a Face­book page.

RECOG­NISED: A na­tional pe­ti­tion wants horse rid­ing and horsedriven car­riages recog­nised as an al­ter­na­tive mode of trans­port.

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