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Firebreaks and dangerous footing?

They keep ripping up the horse trails in order to make firebreaks at the local state parks. Afterwards the footing is very dangerous and uneven. I have mentioned this to several people and most just comment that the rain will wash it back down. The issue is, even after rainfall, the footing is never as even as it was originally and there are trip hazards. My mare tripped really badly the other day crossing the firebreak and I don’t think I’m the only one to see this as an issue. Any sort of speed work (trot or canter) is really asking for an injury. There aren’t a ton of alternative places to ride so we sort of just avoid the bad areas and deal with it as best as we can…

Any suggestions on how to get this repaired?

I would just not canter across the firebreaks or any other disturbed or uneven ground. Do you have a back country riding club in your area to speak up for trails access? Or can you contact the state park? Unfortunately in fire season they likely have other priorities.


As someone living in a high risk fire area I can’t believe you’re complaining about this. Preventing the spread of fires trumps riding trails. You should slow down to a walk when crossing the fire breaks and be thankful you have a place to ride


It’s a trail. Footing is not going to be even. It’s a state park. You get a nice place to ride for free, and you complain it isn’t show ring smooth? Wow.

I grew up riding in the mountains, with boot-sucking mud, rocky river crossings, and Man From Snowy River terrain. Horses are much better adapted for footing than you think!

Horses sometimes trip. My dressage horse tripped the other day in his perfect footing…stepped on his bell boot.

Be thankful for the fire breaks, they might save you and/or your horse some day.


Yes absolutely all the managed forestry areas make wide lanes of churned up earth. I’m in Florida too. I see it everyday. It’s better than 1000 acres burning to the ground. Just slow your roll and navigate slowly.


when we were building equine use trails on US Forest Service land the guidelines were really tight to control erosion. I can not image a state agency just ripping the land up in a such a way as OP stated


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They’re not ripping up the land … they are removing the palmetto and underbrush and making wide lanes so if a fire starts it won’t run rampant. That includes turning things over into the sugar sand.

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whatever they are doing it should have been done in a way that does not promote erosion

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Seriously OP. I’m in Florida too and ride in the parks. They’re not ripping up your trails. Don’t be so short sighted they are trying to avert a freaking forest fire. Don’t you remember the fires in 2007? It burned hundreds of thousands of acres.


Listen this is Florida. Not Texas. They understand erosion. What they are doing is removing the saw palmetto and the underbrush. The tinder that will spark a wildfire


Lol. Florida? Florida is so flat. Complaining about footing on trails in Florida is ridiculous unless they seeded them with nails.


You ain’t seen nothing.
Bill Clinton enacted the Roadless Act throughout the western US in the mid-1990’s. Purposely destroying fire fighting roads and trails everywhere. And now it all burns down regularly. At least your area is actively trying to mitigate the problem and keep it from burning.
Be thankful the trail is still open. If you want the footing improved, join your local Back Country Horseman’s Association and fix it.


They go down the horse trail with their equipment and turn it into a firebreak. The horse trail is now ripped up while the bike trails are flat and pristine. I’m glad they do controlled burns but they could go 2 feet to the side and not take out our entire trail. Once they rip up the footing, you are stuck at a walk because it’s unsafe, and even walking can be miserable.

Not all Florida is flat. Certainly not where I live and yes you definitely can have erosion.

What exactly do you want to happen and how? It sounds like from your first post that others aren’t too concerned about it. You either deal with it or find someplace else to ride

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The highest point in Florida is only 345’. From my house to the mailbox is almost a 200’ elevation gain so, yes, Florida is flat


I think to get anything done you are going to have to change how you address the problem.

Right now you sound like someone saying - how dare you do fire breaks, it is interfering with my ability to enjoy my expensive sport pet at a speed higher than a walk.

I am guessing that is not the point you are trying to get across because I can not imagine anyone would think that way. If that is really how you are thinking, it is a perfect way to make the officials not want to deal with any of the horse people because you are flying the - horse people are crazy - flag pretty darn high.

Here is my general thought on how these things can be dealt with.
First, join whatever the organization in your area/state is that lobbies for all things horse activity. It sounds like other posters know the name and have posted an idea.
Become an active member. Go to trail clearing days. Go to educational opportunities. Meet the people in charge, see how they get things done. Talk with them about your concerns and develop a solution, because simply screaming for the state to not do fire breaks is not a solution. Then the organization can move forward helping the state keep things safe for everyone.


I’d rather have firebreaks to navigate than have no place to ride because it burned. You might be poking a bear if you complain about it to anyone in official capacity. Being the wife of a fireman I can’t see that going over well with the people trying to protect the state parks from fire.
I know it sucks, I lost a part of my place to drive my minis and had to adapt.


A horse that trips and potentially falls on a rider is dangerous. Bad footing is a safety hazard. That was the point I was trying to make. I will talk to a friend and see if we can get a drag out there and smooth things out. I was looking for ideas as to how to address the issue with park management but apparently everyone assumes I am being rude about it.

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There were 2 people out driving and they were not happy either because it was so deep/uneven. So it isn’t just me that is unhappy with the footing.

I don’t think you will be rude.

I think you are going to make problems down the line though.

If your horse can not walk on rutted footing then I think riding out of the ring might not be safe for you in general.
No one expects groomed footing out on trails. So proclaiming bad footing is a safety hazard is scary to me.

I can see it now, them closing the trails any time it rains because the footing is not perfect and they do not want to risk an injury because a horse slipped and a rider fell. Or better yet, they simply say - you are right, it is too dangerous for riders out here, we are going to close all the trails to horses.

We gave you advice on how to talk to the park management, hook up with organization who rallies for horses in your area and have them talk to the park management, with their carefully worded requests that they have perfected over time, and then show up to the volunteer trail grooming day they schedule.