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Horse Science Research Projects: Jumping Into Y2K

To Ridecampers:   On 7th December 1998, a dozen equestrians met for four
hours  in a borrowed room east of San Francisco Bay to discuss the
possible regulatory  threats to equestrian facilities (spinoff from the
federal Clean Water Act)  and to the preservation of horses in our lives
and on public trails.  The honored guest was  Rob Atwill, DVM, the senior
researcher at the University of California  Veterinary. Medicine Teaching
& Research Center at Tulare, CA.   Attendees were affiliated with water
quality agencies, farm bureau, environmental science groups, AERC, NATRC,
 boarding stables, parks commissions, trails committees,and  writers. 
     This was a real brainstorming session, including sending out for
pizza.   We each spoke of our concerns and developed a list of all the 
topics that are now affecting horse facilities or might in the future. 
We tried to link our concerns to a possible research project needed to
develop sound "horse science."   Please look at our list, and remember,
this was our first meeting and we were really reaching out:
    WATER QUALITY: Ground water (salts, i.e. nitrates & phosphates
leaching from             manure; ammonia);  monitoring procedures. 
       Surface water:  leaching salts;  proximity to streams;
insecticides, shampoos,              sprays, vermifuges,
   EROSION and SEDIMENTATION:  stable design; buffer planting
   ENDANGERED SPECIES:  riparian habitat
   WEEDS:  allegedly introduced by hay;  transported by __?;  certified
hay program
   PUBLIC LAND ACCESS:  education of  administrators
   PATHOGENS:  E.coli, cryptosporidium (beyond the recent Back Country
           study);  zoonotic potential of horse diseases
   MOUNTAIN MEADOWS:  grazing, horse camping
   MANURE MANAGEMENT:  decomposition, temperatures of composting
   RIPARIAN PROTECTION  (see Water Quality) 
   INFLUENCING CHANGE:  how do we get to Fish & Wildlife, Native Plant
       Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, other groups
with 'attitudes'
   BOARD FOR PEER REVIEW:  Qualified, blue ribbon consultants' review of
    PUBLIC RELATIONS:  press releases
       Francisco,   2000   ??
      I am  writing this to Ridecamp because before our next meeting in
March, I'd like to hear from other equestrians about this.  Did we
include your pet concern or did we leave it out?  Without revealing any
PhD thesis subjects, do you know of research already in progress on any
one of these  subjects?   Do you know of sources for funding this
research?    Heidi and other horse science experts on Ridecamp, please,
please comment!!   
    The twelve of us (nine women, three men) were united in the belief
that we equestrians must be pro-active from here on out into the
foreseeable future.   The BCH research on cryptosporidium was completed
*just in time* to avoid wholesale closure of watershed and other public
area trails to horses.   We noted that the alleged impacts of nitrates
and phosphates from manure and urine  are already being used against
horse facilities.   Dr. Atwill, who was a key researcher in the crypto
project, listened intently, took notes, and promised to come to the next
meeting of  "Envirohorse" with his ideas for future projects.
    Unlike hikers (American Hiking Society) and mt. bicyclists (IMBA), we
equestrians do not have a  national organization to agressively represent
us in the  political, trail access, and horse science arenas.    The
American Horse Council gives lip service,  but in reality seems to have
other main interests.  Breed organizations and the various State Horse
Councils  do their own thing;  for instance,  the California State 
Horsemen's Association is virtually useless (their local rep. refused to
attend).   I think that AERC can really do some good work here in
supporting such projects, communicating through 'Endurance News,'  and in
sending people to conventions.  Without question,  Ridecamp,  as a
vehicle for communication, is  invaluable, but many equestrians do not
have email access. 
       At the AERC convention in Reno next month, l plan to have a
meeting of the Trails Committee.   Everyone is welcome to attend.  Please
check the schedule when you register.    Let me hear from you!   Thank
you,  Connie Berto,  AERC Trails Chair  

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