Successful Models in Developing and Maintaining Private Equestrian Trail Systems

In this webinar you will learn about how three different communities have developed and maintained successful equestrian trail system on private land.

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Event Details

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July 30, 2020

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: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
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Webinar Sponsor

Thanks to the generous sponsorship from Areté Structures, this webinar (and learning credits) is free to the public.


Webinar Outline

This webinar is brought to you in partnership with Equine Land Conservation Resource. Privately owned land is the most at-risk component of our equestrian landscape. Boarding barns, competition venues, trails, hunt fixtures, and hayfields are being lost every day as a result of development, misunderstanding of liability issues by new owners of land, and rising demand for land around urbanizing areas. Access to private land for equestrian use can be a valuable asset in your community and can result in not only a viable recreational trail system but even a corridor providing equine access to public land. Access to private land is an alternative to shared access on public trails as competition from other user groups continues to expand. In this webinar you will learn about how three different communities have developed and maintained successful equestrian trail system on private land.

For additional information on equine access to private land, ELCR offers talking points for explaining liability issues to landowners; liability management tools; guidelines for fostering positive relationships with landowners; model rules of usage and other protections for landowners who wish to open their land to horse usage; and information about the benefits of ensuring that horses stay in your community at. View these resources here.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding three different community models for developing and sustaining successful private trail system.
  • How to deal with issues related to private trail systems such as protected access, liability and landowner relations.
  • How to determine if a private equestrian trail system is right for your community


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


Webinar Partners


Michelle “Chelle” Grald, Director of Communications, Horse Farms Forever, Inc.

Chelle is currently the Director of Communications with Horse Farms Forever and is the former Manager of Trails and Landowner Relations for Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) out of Woodstock, VT). She is a communications professional, equestrian trails expert and lifelong equestrian, is the Director of Communications for Horse Farms Forever (HFF) based in Ocala, Florida. HFF is a small nonprofit organization centered on preserving the equine culture and character that makes that region the Horse Capital of the World.

Chelle most recently spent six years working for the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) managing their trails and landowner relations. GMHA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Vermont, is dedicated to holding equestrian events, educating equestrians of all ages, and preserving trails and open space. Founded in 1926, GMHA is the nation’s oldest continuously operating horse organization. In addition to offering competitive and recreational events which draw some of the best equestrians in the country, GMHA is also committed to education, offering a variety of clinics and camps for adults and young riders. With over 1500 members, GMHA is a vital community of equestrian enthusiasts and has also been instrumental over the years in developing and maintaining a network of miles of open trails, access to which is provided through the generosity of private owners. Chelle is an accomplished writer, author, and speaker on the topic of equestrian trails and open space.

Chelle also is the Trailmaster and Trails Advocate with the American Endurance Ride Conference


Libbie Johnson, Volunteer, Foothills Equestrian Trails Association

Based out of Tryon, NC, Libbie describes herself as a lifelong horse lover. Beginning at age eight, she organized a fan club for ‘61 Derby winner Carry Back. Her first horse arrived by way of a lost truck on its way to the slaughterhouse. Libbie has always been active in her local horse community from rescue organizations to organizing the first National Equine Economic Summit.

Libbie has served on several equine-related boards, including United States Pony Clubs, Equine Land Conservation Resource, Farm Bureau and the North Carolina Equine Study advisory board. The equine economy and policy affecting the horse industry is of special interest to her. For the past decade Libbie promoted Tryon Horse Country as an equestrian destination. She has a career background in public relations and applies it to volunteer activities whenever possible. Libbie has been a FETA supporter, volunteer and trail user for years and currently edits the FETA online publication.


Landon Russell, Executive Director, The Walthour-Moss Foundation

Landon has served as the executive director of The Walthour-Moss Foundation (WMF) since 2008. The Foundation originally known for its equestrian use, which continues to attract world-class riders and drivers to its sandy lanes and trails, is located in the Sandhills of North Carolina, one mile from the town of Southern Pines. It occupies over 4000 acres, virtually unspoiled by progress and development.

As executive director, Landon oversees day-to-day operations and manages the programs that further the Foundation’s mission to preserve open land, protect wildlife habitat, and provide a place for equestrian purposes.

WMF receives equestrian visitors from around North Carolina who come to take advantage of the good footing provided by the naturally sandy trails. WMF is open to riders, carriage drivers, and hikers from sunup to sundown each day of the year. Landon works with the local community to protect local bridle trails and trail access to WMF by securing equestrian access easements. To date, over ninety easements have been generously granted by the community to benefit WMF, resulting in over 12 miles of local trails protected. Landon was instrumental in WMF achieving national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2019. As a result of her efforts to maintain excellent stewardship of the land, WMF was added to the NC Longleaf Honor Roll in 2018.

Landon lives in Vass, North Carolina with her husband and two children.


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) (most HSW approved)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
  • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Symposium, as well as for other conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.


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. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

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3,051 views • posted 06/09/2020