filed under: maintenance best practices

Current and Future Trends in Equestrian Trails

Sustainability, Stewardship, and Community

Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority. This equestrian forum offers an excellent format and opportunity to interact with panel experts and learn more about trending equestrian trails topics today and looking forward to the future.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

June 24, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost:

  • CEUs are FREE for this webinar.
  • Note:

    Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
    Learning Credits
    are available for this webinar.

    Webinar Sponsor

    Thanks to the generous sponsorship from Tennessee Valley Authority this webinar (and learning credits) is free to the public.


    Webinar Outline

    This equestrian forum offers an excellent format and opportunity to interact with panel experts and learn more about trending equestrian trails topics today and looking forward to the future.

    Sharing current educational information with recreational trail planners, land managers, and trail users can be vitally important to the future success of sharing multi-use trails with equestrians. Learning about new trail technologies and responsible approaches to trail sustainability, stewardship, and inclusive community engagement can help guide us.

    This will be a moderated panel with experts from the equestrian community and beyond discussing the following topics:

    • Conserving Equestrians' Trails Resources (Holley Groshek)
    • Community Engagement & Inclusion in Trail Planning (Cole Gehler)
    • Equestrian Trails Sustainability & New Technologies (Clay Nelson)
    • Land Managers' Challenges & Opportunities (Deb Caffin)

    Holley Groshek:

    Holley will focus on providing key educational resources available to support equine access to trails. She will highlight what is available from ELCR and BCHA and Jan Hancock’s Equestrian Guidebook etc. that people can access after the webinar.

    Cole Gehler:

    Most people like the idea of creating more trails and connections in their community, but not all understand the needs of other user groups. Cole will discuss various approaches to community engagement on a variety of trail planning projects.

    Clay Nelson:

    Clay will discuss best practices to protect land and water on equestrian trails while also providing a safe, enjoyable riding experience, with a focus on new eco-friendly solutions ideal for use on equestrian trails and trailheads.

    Deb Caffin:

    Deb will discuss why “Sustainable, Stewardship, and Community” are not just the buzz words of the day but represent the future of trails on public lands. Hear about how the USDA Forest Service’s 10 Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge Launch and Learn is setting the foundation for a more sustainable system of trails and how you can help.

    Following the presentations, the panelists will respond to questions from webinar participants.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Describe eco-friendly materials that support the sustainability of equestrian-use trails
    • Recognize trail user practices that can create safety hazards for equestrians
    • Evaluate best practices and trends in planning and designing equestrian trails
    • Identify community outreach techniques for planning inclusive trail user opportunities


    This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

    Webinar Resources


    Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds book:

    More Resources

    USDA Forest Service:



    Webinar Partners


    Holley Groshek, Executive Director, Equine Land Conservation Resource
    Lexington, KY

    Holley Groshek is the Executive Director of Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) an award winning educational based national nonprofit organization that works with communities, organizations, and individuals around the country to keep land open and accessible to horses and horse related activities. At the national level, ELCR has become the “go to” organization for land related issues within the equine community. The organization fulfills its mission working in partnership with a network of conservation partners at the national, state and local levels including organizations such as the Land Trust Alliance, United States Equestrian Federation, United States Eventing Association, Masters of Foxhounds Association, American Quarter Horse Association and various state and local equine and conservation related organizations. Ms. Groshek ‘s previous professional experience includes serving as Director of Administration and Equine Relations for the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games and Executive Director of the Kentucky World Trade Center. She holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and international business and has over thirty years of executive experience in nonprofit management. Ms. Groshek is an avid horsewoman and enjoys riding and training horses in her spare time. Holley grew up in upstate New York and has more than twenty years of experience riding and competing as an amateur rider. Working for ELCR holds a special interest for Holley because she believes that loss of land for equine use is one of the most critical issues facing the equine community. Holley lives in Lexington with her dogs Nika and Gucci, and Peggy May. She enjoys riding and training horses in her free time.


    Cole Gehler, Project Manager, MIG, Inc.
    Denver, CO

    Cole is a highly motivated and experienced trails and recreation planner who has worked in communities across the country responding to various opportunities and challenges. As an avid user of all trail types and with a competitive sports background, Cole’s career path has been shaped over time. Working on system-wide parks, recreation, and trail projects have given him the lens to apply best practices and current trends to all places he works in. In his work, he strives to contribute to efforts that enable recreation opportunities and make places more connected and accessible to everyone through extensive community outreach and evaluations such as, recreation facilities assessments, park and trail GIS analyses, and trail planning and design. As a trails and recreation planner based in Denver, Colorado, Cole has deployed various technical solutions to equip communities with practical solutions that are implementable. Cole has a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, is affiliated with the American Planning Association, and builds trails with the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.


    Clay Nelson, Owner, Sustainable Stables
    Austin, TX

    Clay Nelson is the owner of the equestrian property planning and design firm Sustainable Stables LLC, based out of Austin, Texas. Clay has consulted on the planning, design and management of 100+ equestrian properties across 20 states and counting ranging from 5-acre private hobby farms to large equestrian parks, many of which include some form of equestrian riding trails. He has authored dozens of articles on sustainable horsekeeping topics in a variety of equestrian magazines, and has been an invited speaker at several national level equestrian events including the annual American Trails conference and the Equine Affaire. Clay has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Biology, Dartmouth College and a Master of Environmental Management, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.


    Deb Caffin, Trails Program Leader, Southern Region, Atlanta, GA, USDA Forest Service
    Atlanta, GA

    Debbie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida and her Masters of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from Clemson University. A native Floridian, she began her career with the State of Florida as a Recreation Planner working first in trails then on the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

    In 1991 she joined the U.S. Forest Service as Trail Coordinator on the National Forests in Florida in Tallahassee working closely with the Florida Trail Association on the Florida National Scenic Trail. Debbie moved to Atlanta in 1998 and worked for the Washington Office during the development of the corporate trails database. In 1999 she became the first Intelligence Coordinator at the Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC) supporting response efforts to natural disasters. She moved back into recreation in 2001, working as the Regional Wilderness, Wild and Scenic River, Congressionally Designated Areas, non-motorized trails, and dispersed recreation program specialist. In 2011, she became the regional Trails Program Manager, working on both motorized and non-motorized trail issues.

    She has previously served the Region as the Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Chattahoochee-Oconee NF and the National Forests in North Carolina, and as the Acting Recreation, Wilderness, Heritage and Volunteer Unit Director.

    Debbie’s hobbies include just about anything related to outdoor recreation!


    Jan Hancock, Principal, Hancock Resources LLC
    Phoenix, AZ

    Jan Hancock, author of the FHWA and USDA Forest Service publication “Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds” and the principal of Hancock Resources LLC based in Phoenix, Arizona, will share her experience working with land managers, architects, landscape architects, planners, civil engineers and communities in planning equestrian and shared-use trails and recreational facilities. Jan plans trail systems with safety guidelines and well-designed trail experiences that are suitable for equestrians and other non-motorized trail users in urban, rural, and backcountry locations.

    Jan has a Bachelor of Science degree in design education from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and a Master of Arts Degree in Design and Community Education from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. She is a founder of the Arizona Trail Association supporting the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail, a founder of the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation supporting the 315-mile Maricopa Trail, and she just became a founder of the Sun Corridor Trail Alliance supporting the development of the 1,500-mile Sun Corridor Trail from Las Vegas, NV to Douglas, AZ on the Arizona/Mexico border. Jan is the executive director of the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and she serves as an equestrian representative on the American Trails Board of Directors.


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for American Trails webinars and are either free or a $15 fee for other conferences, webinars, or workshops.


    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff.

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