Horse Trails and Other Environmental Issues

Adda Quinn

Groundwater, surface water, stream crossings, wildlife, invasive plants and impacts on trail surfaces are discussed. Bacteriological and nutrient effects on water bodies from trail horses are not detectable. BMPs exist to prevent trail horses from eliminating in water bodies. Horses are recognized by wildlife as prey animals by their look, smell and sound. Wildlife is less afraid of horseback riders than hikers. The role of the horse as a disperser of weed seed is not known. Most food passes through the horse gut within 48 hours. While seeds can survive longer, they face formidable odds of survival. Two studies of horse impacts on trails are reviewed.