Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds

This guidebook provides practical guidelines for developing recreation environments that are sensitive to the needs of riders and their stock.

by Jan Hancock, Hancock Resources LLC, Federal Highway Administration, USDA Forest Service

To keep the size and scope of this guidebook manageable, the focus is limited to equestrian elements--such as corrals, tread width, horse-friendly surfaces, and so forth--and a few closely related subjects. The information presented can be adapted to a variety of settings and levels of development, as well as to different jurisdictions. In many cases, the expertise of specialists--for example, engineers, landscape architects, and scientists--is required. Planners and designers should consult other sources for basic planning and design criteria, including agency-specific guidelines, legal requirements, engineering and architectural standards, scientific expertise, and so forth. Consulting with area riders is an essential part of the planning process. Sound planning and design judgment are the keys to choosing the most appropriate elements, given local conditions. This guidebook is intended as a practical guide for trail work, not a policy manual--however, the authors believe the information is consistent with current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service policies and direction.

View the guide

Published December 01, 2007

About the Authors

Hancock Resources LLC is an equestrian design consulting company providing master planning, design, and facilities layout services. The firm partners with project architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, municipal, county, state and federal agencies, contractors and private clients. The scope of consulting services includes the planning and design of equestrian trails, trailheads, campgrounds, and outdoor recreation facilities for equestrian use.

Contact: [email protected]


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.


To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

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