Monday, May 16, 2011

Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference Set for Auburn

Set for July 21 through 23 at Auburn University, the 2011 Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference will bring together trail riders, land owners and public land managers who are interested in building, maintaining and enjoying equestrian trails. The theme of this year’s conference is “Creating, Coordinating and Conserving a Trail Friendly Environment.”  

Dr. Cindy McCall, an equine specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the conference will offer a variety of seminars related to trail development and trail riding.

“It will feature workshops on development, preservation and sustainability of trails as well as rider protocol and horse care,” says McCall.  “The Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference strives to foster the education and development of a conservation force that will influence land-use policies at local, state, regional and national levels.”

Dr. Susan Stormer will give the keynote address on Friday, July 22.  Stormer, who is both an active trail builder and a doctor of clinical psychology, will discuss nature deficit disorder.  Nature deficit disorder refers to the decreasing amount of time children spend outdoors, which some say has negative impacts on children’s physical and social well being.  Saturday’s keynote speaker will be Garth Rumsmoke, writer for Trail Rider magazine and leader of many trail improvement projects that engage trail riders.

Dr. Gene Wood, a retired Clemson Extension trails specialist, will discuss how fostering horse trails can affect local economies.   Jan Hancock, author of Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgounds, will discuss building and maintaining sustainable trails.  The conference is filled with many additional speakers, workshops and activities.

McCall says this year’s conference also will feature special programs for youth involvement, and non- equestrians are encouraged to attend to share their perspectives with those who value recreational use of horses on trails.

Extension and Auburn University are two of several organizations sponsoring the conference.  For more information on the conference agenda and registration information, visit the conference website at

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