Horse option lobbied
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.