The Equestrian Trail Riders Lifestyle

A guide to keeping horses and the equestrian lifestyle.

by Lora Goerlich

Our kayaks are suspended snugly in the rafters doubling as storage for the paddles, lifejackets and a 65L backpack. Two hybrid cycles are parked in the barn collecting dust. Outside, a few inches of snow cover the dormant grass and two sets of cross-country skis are neatly placed on end by the back door, waiting... kick-glide, kick-glide. With each passing season we enjoy these typically low maintenance, affordable, leisure activities. But we also have three horses we use for recreational trail riding. And in stark contrast to our leisure things, our horses cannot be stowed away seasonally or on days we don’t use them. Keeping horses for recreational use is a lifestyle.

A guide to keeping horses for recreational use

Lora Goerlich has written a guide that might answer the question, "Should I even think about owning a horse?" Written with first-hand experience, this guide considers vital topics of keeping horses for recreational use:

  • Physical Challenges
  • Goals and Knowledge
  • Financial Commitment
  • Uncertainties (illness and injury)
  • Inclusion and fostering a positive trail experience

Published April 2019

About the Author

Lora served as a law enforcement-maintenance park ranger for twenty-five years with Metroparks of Toledo and was stationed at the “globally rare” Oak Openings Preserve. Throughout her career she was deeply committed to educating equestrians, non-equestrians and land stewards about proper trail etiquette, trail planning in natural areas, and to preserving equestrian trails. In 2011 Lora began teaching at international, national and state conferences to further encourage equestrian trail inclusion. She has been a board member for the Park Ranger Institute since 2015.

Her formal education includes an associate degree in horse production and management from The Ohio State University and a bachelor of science in environmental studies/resource management from The University of Toledo. Lora’s areas of expertise include: extensive knowledge of equestrian needs (trails and facilities), trail planning and maintenance, law enforcement issues, community involvement, best practice horse keeping, equine behavior, customer service, volunteerism, natural resource management, mounted patrol operations and multi-use-trail conflict resolution.

Lora started riding in 1986, crossing multiple disciplines before exclusively trail riding; you might also find her camping, hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing or cycling. Her current trail horses include: a Paso Fino mare, Tennessee Walker gelding and a rescued gelding of unknown background.

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