The Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) has been successful in obtaining support for three grant applications from Alberta Public Lands. These grants will fund three exciting trail use projects for 2023. To support the successful implementation of these projects, AEF is in the process of hiring a seasonal project and event coordinator for the months of May to September.
Responsible Trail Use
Recreational trail usage has significantly increased in Alberta since early 2020. The increase includes equestrian trail users who may lack knowledge of safe and responsible trail use. This has led to serious injuries and more incidents requiring self-rescue and first responder rescue. The Responsible Trail Use initiative aims to help educate equestrian trail users through short educational videos on topics such as safe preparation and responsible trail use. The project involves selecting topics, obtaining video gear, identifying credible experts, collecting props, writing scripts, shooting and editing videos, and sharing on social media and websites. The project will promote responsible and sustainable trail use, develop a competent and responsible equestrian trail user community, and contribute towards responsible trail stewardship. The goal is to produce 20 educational videos and increase education and awareness among all equestrian trail users.
Share the Trails
This project will help educate equestrian and non-equestrian trail users on how to safely share public and multi-use trails. This will be accomplished by hosting events at Public Lands trailheads, providing educational materials, purchasing and placing "share the trails" signs, and partnering with non-governmental organizations to ensure signage and pamphlets are available in appropriate locations across Alberta. The objectives include connecting with about 450 non-equestrian trail users at in-person events to educate on safe practices when encountering horses and increasing awareness of horse use on Alberta's trails. Long-term outcomes include collaboration between recreational users and organizations, reduced conflicts between equestrian and non-equestrian trail users, greater understanding of different trail users' requirements, and increased safety for all trail users.
Unite the Trails
There are many equestrian trail groups in Alberta and in this project, AEF is taking the initiative to pull these groups together to create a united effort when proposing plans, infrastructure, and future projects to the Alberta Government. This project, Unite the Trails, will host a one-day workshop to discuss common needs and priorities of equestrian trail use, develop an agenda, compile a report, and communicate the outcomes to the members, public, and government. The goal is to improve collaboration, increase equestrian trail-use presence, and report on displaying priorities and project ideas. In addition, this project is expected to help AEF secure similar funding opportunities in the future.