This year, for the first time, land loss topped the list of concerns expressed by professional in the annual horse business survey conducted by Equestrian Professional.com. Many expressed that they are "struggling to find properties and/or facilities that are close enough to their client base."
Planning and zoning decisions can affect how land is taxed, what it may be used for, and which standards and regulations are applied to the land. These regulations determine not only whether individuals may keep horses on their own property, but also whether horses have access to community parks and trails. Therefore, effective community land use planning is a cornerstone in the efforts to keep land open and accessible for horses in our communities.
Recognizing that land is saved locally, it is imperative that horsemen understand how planning and zoning works in their community and the impact they have on horse keeping.
In order to help horsemen better understand the basics of local planning and zoning and how to impact these decisions ELCR, with support from the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation and the Mars Foundation, has just made these following on-line resources available:
- Seven Steps to Influencing Horse-Friendly Planning for Horsemen (a planning and zoning resource for Horsemen)
- Seven Steps to Planning for an Equestrian-Friendly Community (a planning and zoning resource for community leaders and planners) and
- Planning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities (a comprehensive guide to planning and zoning for horsemen)
The Planning and Zoning Guide is an important comprehensive resource for horsemen providing users with the tools they need to understand comprehensive planning, land use mapping, zoning ordinances, and the effects of these on horse keeping and other horse-related activities within their own local communities. The information will help them to be engaged in the process, to activate their equine community and to educate planners and decision makers on the benefits of horses in their communities.