Connecticut Trail Riding: Reflections on our Open Spaces
There is not much that is better than heading out on a cool fall day on a trail ride. That's what I did over the weekend. When I am not traveling and riding, I am home in New York City and riding on the Greenwich Trail System in the great state of Connecticut.
Our small group took one of our usual rides, heading up and down wooded trails and over a series of jumps. We’re always on the look out for deer as we ride. At one point Demi, the mare I was riding, got spooked as a herd of deer whizzed by us in the distance. I felt so free as we moved from a canter to a gallop, and I attempted to hold back Demi so that we were not eating rocks and dirt from the horse and rider in front of us. It is amazing that there is open space like this right outside of New York City!
As I head to my local diner back in the city for breakfast, an article on the front page of USA Today, makes me pause to think about the future of the open spaces where we ride and even live. Entitled "How will the USA cope with unprecedented growth?", the article looks at our booming population, which last week topped 300 million and is expected to reach 400 million by 2040. With an increasing population comes an increase in the amount of land and resources that we consume. It also may change the way we live, driving more and more people to metropolitan areas and making land a more valuable commodity. Many ranchers out West are already selling out to land developers. Many of us already face commutes to the office and our horses which are longer than we would like. With all of these changes, what will happen to our horses and where will we ride? As more Americans live in cities, and these urban areas continue to grow, how long might it take us to drive to the barn?
Darley Newman is the host of the Emmy Award-winning Public Television series Equitrekking®, which takes viewers on horseback riding vacations around the world. Equitrekking is broadcast on PBS stations and on international networks in over 30 countries.
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