Guest editorial |

Guest editorial

Dawn Vibert Bowes, on behalf of Park City Pony Club,

The Park City Pony Club has brought together the local equestrian community including equestrian neighborhoods, associations, businesses, professional trainers, competitive athletes, and supporters to provide public comment on the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan.

Park City Pony Club was founded in 2015 with 20 members and 40 sponsors and are affiliated with the United States Pony Club (USPC). USPC is a national program that develops character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports for boys and girls ages 5-18. Park City Pony Club is a nonprofit organization relies on member dues, donations and fundraising to support its activities.

We were excited to have an opportunity to review the Recreation Master Plan. However, we are disappointed to find that equestrian amenities were not provided for. This is an important issue for Pony Club as we lack enough year-round facilities and amenities to host educational opportunities for our members and facilities to care for our horses. There really are not a lot of affordable opportunities for parents to get their kids involved in Equestrian Sports in the area. We live in an outdoor recreational community with Olympic tradition, it would so great for our community to provide public amenities that support youth and adult Equestrian Sports and Recreation.

Based on our review of the documentation available, we found some possible inconsistencies in the data and analysis used to set priorities for equestrian services that we wanted to bring to your attention. But most importantly, we found that the Master Recreation Plan conflicts with the Basin General Plan Policy. The Synderville Basin General Plan Policy 4.24: "Promoting and encouraging horseback riding and other equestrian uses for equestrian trail connectivity". The Basin General plan also has defined six (6) equestrian neighborhoods with six (6) provisions for equestrians including: development, recreation, trails, standards, enhancements, and safety. How can the Basin Recreation Master Plan not address any of the General Plan policies or provisions?

Park City Pony Club also found confusing definitions used for equestrianism and equestrian facilities. The Master Recreation Plan does not adequately define or describe Equestrians or Equestrian activities. Common definitions of Equestrianism include such categories as working, transportation, recreational, cultural exercises, and competitive sport. Grouping all equestrian activities into one group is like grouping all hardcourt ball sports such as tennis, basketball, racquetball, paddleball, and pickleball into one group in the end you may not make anyone happy with what you produce.

The majority of parents who want to give their young kids the opportunity to learn to ride must drive outside of Snyderville Basin and Park City. We are concerned that with the lack of equestrian amenities in the 10-year Master Plan, as development and growth continues, we won’t have opportunities for equestrian sport or recreation in our area in the future. Equestrians need land to care for horses; facilities to house horses; and trails, tracks and arenas to recreate, train and compete. Without these provisions, we can’t exist.

We are respectfully asking that the Snyderville and Park City Master Recreation Advisory Committee consider equestrian activities, amenities, and facilities be included in the Master Plan for Public Input and that an equestrian professional be nominated to the Advisory Committee with further analysis.

Our goal is protect and preserve equestrian sport and recreation and to create the next generation of knowledgeable and competent horsemen and women. We hope you will give us an opportunity to be heard as a group so we can share with you what it means to be an equestrian and live the equestrian way of life in Snyderville Basin and Park City.

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