Ohio Equestrian Directory 2020 Issue

Page 16

2020 FE AT U R E

Ohio’s Beautiful Bridle Trails A Labor of Love for OHC Members

Riders on Lake Erie at the annual Cleveland Mounted Police Fundraiser

by Mandy Boggs


or their 50th birthdays, Mary Alice Kuhn, and her husband, Steve, decided to accomplish something on their bucket list - to ride horses on a dude ranch out West. The only problem? Neither one of them knew how to ride a horse. As they say, the rest is history. Today, they live on 100-acres in Ohio with horses of their own, sharing their new found passion for trail riding every chance they get. So much so, that both Mary Alice and Steve are active members of the Ohio Horseman’s Council, the largest non-profit equine organization in the state of Ohio representing all ages of riders, disciplines, and breeds of horses. The Ohio Horseman’s Council (OHC) was formed in 1972 by a group of riders wanting to ride on public land, sharing Ohio’s trail systems utilized by hikers and snowmobiles. Their dedication to preserve those trails has carried on for 48 years with an average of 4,000 volunteers across 88 counties, and 65 local OHC Chapters, working diligently to protect and maintain over 1,800 miles of bridle trails across the state of Ohio. Trail systems such as Hocking State Forest, Mohican Memorial State Forest, Oak



Photos courtesy of OHC

Openings Preserve Metro Park, Salt Fork State Park, and the Cleveland Metropark system, are just a few of the popular bridle trails across Ohio. “We are the caretakers of our trail systems and must protect these trails for future

Service, and other local county park systems, with the labor to maintain the trails throughout the riding season. The OHC works alongside partners such as The Ohio Trails Partnership, local horse clubs and organizations, Scouts programs,

Hueston Woods State Park

generations. There is no other equine organization in the state of Ohio with as many members and volunteers as the OHC. The members volunteer their time to build and maintain trail systems around the state. There are no paid positions within the OHC,” shared Mary Alice, Director of the OHC Board, for the past seven years. “The OHC provides the land managers, such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, US Forest

and others to maintain Ohio’s trails.” Further, the OHC is engaged with state leadership to continue to voice the need to support the equine industry in Ohio. “The Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus (OLTC) started in 2017, is the first of its kind in the nation at the state level,” shared Mary Alice. “The OLTC is a group of like-minded state legislators from both parties and changers of the Ohio

legislature, co-chaired by State Senator, Sean O’Brien, and State Representative, Steve Wilson. OLTC works to advocate all issues involving the development, maintenance, and preservation of all Ohio’s nonmotorized trails.” “Horsemen Helping Horsemen” is the slogan often used and best represents the commitment the OHC offers to every rider (within Ohio and the surrounding states) sharing their passion for preserving and protecting the trails that so many equestrians enjoy throughout the year. Ohio has more than 100 separate bridle trail locations across the state, from state parks, metro parks, state forests, and other public land. Trail systems can vary, from a short half-mile trail to well over 50 miles, giving riders in all parts of the state options for all types of terrain, sightseeing, and adventures for both seasoned trail riders and those who enjoy an occasional leisurely stroll on a beautiful day. Many horse owners and riders in Ohio are unaware of the efforts required to maintain and protect the bridle trails in the state. Aside from the ongoing battle to preserve the ability

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