What are the issues?
San Diego County is a popular area. Horse ownership nationally is growing at amazing rates, as boomers and others who have "always wanted horses" for themselves and their families are finally able to afford the time and money to have them. The equestrian community in our highly desireable area, with year-round riding weather and easy access to nearby mountains and desert, should be vibrant and thriving - not fading away.
I moved to Granite Hills about 5 years ago, specifically to keep and ride horses. There was a public ring nearby. Everyone told me that I could "ride all the way to Crest" from the end of the road, two blocks away. There was even a "Granite Hills Horsemen's Association".
Now the ring is gone, the Association has folded. The trails are closed - locked gates block them. Two nearby feed stores have gone out of business. Anyone riding along the roads risks life and limb because drivers do not know or obey the law. Local children, who cannot haul their horses to distant facilities, have nowhere to ride except in the road.
New residents purchased land in my neighborhood, which is zoned for horses, on the condition that their immediate neighbors not be permitted to keep horses on their property. This is a dangerous precident.
In talking to others in East County I've found my experience is typical. Horses in this area are not highly visible - often in backyards - most people do not know we are here. If we don't make ourselves known and heard, there will soon be nowhere to ride, and nobody to ride with. Businesses that support us will continue to close. Our "horse properties" will not be attractive to potential buyers.
Some things we might consider working toward:
Go on to Why do we need to work together?
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