Last Saturday mountain bikers equestrians participated in Carrot Fest at Wilder Ranch. The goal of Carrot Fest is to desensitize horses to mountain bikes and increase communication and understanding between mountain bikers and equestrians.
It was a small and intimate gathering up on the horse camp marine terrace but one which was extremely valuable. Geoff Smith did a stellar job working with Soleil – a skittish Arab Mare. At the beginning of the clinic, Soleil was really afraid of bikes. Towards the end of the clinic she was feeling much more comfortable around a moving bike. Watching that horse undergo that level of transformation in a few hours demonstrates how valuable this event is to the safety of trail users.
I would like to thank Sebastien Praly (MBOSC) and Rebeckah Crill (SCCHA) for organizing this event, Supervising Ranger Joseph Connors taking care of the event logistics, Geoff Smith for having the expertise and patience in working with Soleil. I think you made a new friend. Finally, I would like to thank all the bikers and equestrians who participated in the event. You all have made a difference in renewing the co-operation between our two user groups.
I really treasure the great relationship that exists between mountain bikers and equestrians in Santa Cruz county. There is a still a lot of work that could be done at the State and Federal level to facilitate communication between these two user groups. Equestrians and mountain bikers can look at what we have done in Santa Cruz county as an example of how to get along and share the trails. We have a lot of common ground and we are trail users who have a passion to enjoy the open space with our favorite steeds.