Members Committed to Preserving Trails
Jersey Horse Council is a leader in recognizing that the land,
trails, and facilities their horsemen use need to be protected
for future use.
1990's, Susan Data-Samtak became a Member of NJHC supporting
trail issues in New Jersey. Janice Elsishans joined the club
in early 2000 and became even further involved in trail issues.
NJHC members, now interested in keeping trails open and building
new ones, supported Janice's attendance at several trail conferences
including the SETC in VA and OVET in CA. Awareness of the
land issues increased. The NJHC supported their trails enthusiasts
in helping to produce a book of specifications on many of
the riding trails available in New Jersey.
All of the equine land conservation knowledge that was gained
over the years became very important in the bid to save Lusscroft
Farms, which was once owned by Rutgers University. The University
used the farm as an agricultural experimental station focusing
on artificial insemination of cattle. In the 1980s and 1990s,
after the experimental station closed, the farm served as
a 4H Horse Camp and was used by local New Jersey horse groups
for trail riding and overnight camping. Then the farm was
closed to the public due to environmental hazards associated
with the buildings and remained so for 12 years
of 2004 representing the NJHC, Janice Elsishans attended a
public meeting regarding the fate of Lusscroft Farms. Rutgers
University had given the farm to New Jersey State Parks and
Forests and its future was undecided. Janice stood up in the
meeting and suggested that the farm be used as a tourist/state
heritage/agriculture site in conjunction with the state park
service and since equine use was the main use before the farm
was closed, NJHC wanted to make sure that the horse would
be a fixture in any new use slated for the farm. With uncountable
hours of volunteer time put in by local equestrians, Lusscroft
Farm is once again open to horses and a trail ride organized
by NJHC board member Janice Elsishans has been held every
National Trails Day since 2005.
New Jersey's State Animal! by Janice Elsishans
Below is a great photo taken January 1, 2011 of ten riders who meet
at Debbie's farm on Halsey Corner in Newton, NJ to ride on the Paulinskill
Valley Rail Trail; a wonderful tailgate buffet and trail talk of
future ride plans followed the trail ride. The day started out sunny,
and although the trail had a couple small icy areas the horses were
surefooted whether they had studs, barefooted, boots or metal shoes.
Everyone is wearing a helmet. Amazing how ten horses that did not
know each other stood peacefully for this photo op.
The State "Trail Signs" worked in our favor where the
trail crossed Route 206 and 94. I would like to believe that the
signs created courteous drivers who stopped for the horses to cross
the road; or was it seeing ten horses crossing the road that made
Just imagine the economic impact to Sussex County of these 10 equestrian
residences, and now multiply in all those equestrian not pictured.
Work continues to have installed the "25 mph when horses present"
signs on county roads for all the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail
and Sussex Branch Trail in both Sussex and Warren County. If you
live in a municipality where either of these trails cross, stop
by your municipality and ask about the signs. Kittatinny State Park
has the signs and all the hardware, the municipality is requested
to install them.
the wonderful scenic miles of New Jersey's trails:
Trail Associations & Recreational Riding Groups
(click name to visit website)
Valley Trail Association
Valley Trail Association
Cty. Horse & Pony Association
Horse & Pony Association
Valley Trail Association
Neck Trail Riders
Jersey Horseman's Association
Association of Mill Township
Horse Club of Central Jersey
Bridge Trail Assn.
Is your group listed? If not, please let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Recreational Riding Groups
groups sponsor rides and activities across the country. Check their
websites for rides in New Jersey.
North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) is a national sanctioning
body for competitive trail rides in the United States. It is
based on philosophies of stimulating the breeding and use of
equines possessed of stamina and hardiness for trail riding
and to encourage good horsemanship, training and conditioning
of these equines. NATRC has developed a philosophy of competitive
trail riding with uniform judging being of paramount importance.
Uniformity of rules aids management in conducting rides and
makes it easier for judges to evaluate each horse and rider
on a more objective basis.
Mounted Orienteering (CMO) is one of the most challenging and
exciting equestrian sports - for the competitive as well as
family horse rider! CMO is like a mounted treasure hunt, which
tests your horsemanship, your map reading ability, and your
compass skills - all while having great fun with your horse!
The object of the sport is to ride out as an individual or a
team on a prescribed course and find as many of the hidden Objective
Stations as you can and get back in the least amount of time,
on either a ten station long or 5 station short course. The
long course can be anywhere from around 8 to as long as 25 miles.
The terrain depends on the ride manager's choice of area - but
CMO rides are held all over the country from the high forests
of Washington State to the rolling hills of Indiana! The short
course is much smaller, and is oriented towards families, riders
wishing a less competitive event, training of new horses, and
new riders looking to check out the CMO fun.
Cometitive Trail Horse Association sponsors judged trail rides.
A judged trail ride is a type of trail riding popular in the
United States where horses and riders are asked to travel a
natural trail for a set distance (usually 10 to 15 miles) with
occasional stops for the horse and rider team to negotiate an
obstacle, usually with varying options for difficulty, with
higher scores given for completing the more difficult version
of each obstacle. Unlike endurance riding or competitive trail
riding, the ride is not timed. Only obstacle scores are utilized.
Rides are informal and rules vary widely by region and individual
on Shared Trails
- Train your
horse to be around people, bicycles, other animals (e.g. dogs),
and motorized vehicles (cars, 4-wheelers, golf carts, etc.)
- Let someone
know where you are going and when you'll return
- Show your
gratitude to landowners - a simple "hello" - and a thanks...
- Park in designated/authorized
parking areas only.
- Always clean
up after your horse.
- Get to know
other users. Talk to them and be friendly. Say hello and smile.
- Stay on the
right-hand side of the trail (no matter how wide). This helps
avoid accidents and head-on collisions.
- Always look
ahead, behind, and beside you.
- Take responsibility
for yourself and your horse's actions.
- When riding
hilly terrain, yield to uphill traffic. Uphill traffic has the
right-of-way. Wait at the top of a hill or at the first safe spot
to stop until those going uphill have passed by.
- Help with
trail maintenance on the land you ride.