ADA and Landscape Design
The Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) of 1992 makes access to public facilities a civil right for
all Americans. It mandates that "no individual shall be
discriminated against on the basis of disability in full and equal
enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages,
and accommodations of any public place by any person who owns,
leases, or operates a place of public accommodation."
You can make your facility and site more
welcome to those with disabilities. For equestrian sites which cater
to the public, the requirements of ADA should be taken into account.
Water . . . Check before you buy!
"Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge said it well in his poem "Rime of the Ancient
Mariner". Donít let it happen to you. If the water is so contaminated by nitrates that it is not fit
for human consumption, never mind the horses, you can have a real problem.
The bottom line: Before purchasing land or a farm, be sure to check the water table, quality, and volume, and if there are any legal restrictions on drilling a well.
Footings are not to be neglected!
An important consideration in the design of arenas, both indoors and outdoors, is the type of footing used. Different horse disciplines require different surface
footings for top performance. For example: Dressage-resiliency; Hunter/Jumpers-cushioning;
Driving-smooth, firm, not deep; Western-deeper for traction. The depth and type of the top surface material will vary accordingly.
In all cases, a good foundation for the top surface material is paramount. The base is typically a layer of packed crushed stone. Depth is dependent upon use, for
example, a Dressage arena would be 4-6 inches while a Jumper arena would be 6-12 inches.
Good drainage, an adequate sub-base and a good base are vital. Drainage design should be such that surface water can flow off the arena by proper sloping. In
addition, underground water should be minimized by utilizing various drainage techniques such as "French Drains" installed on the uphill side of the arena.
Donít touch wetlands without permits!
If you purchase or own a site with
wetlands, do not touch the wetlands without a permit. You could be
committing a crime!
Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act
establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged and fill
material into waters of the United States, including wetlands.
Activities in waters of the United States that are regulated under
this program include fills for development, water resource projects
(such as dams and levees), infrastructure development (such as
highways and airports), and conversion of wetlands to uplands for
farming and forestry.
Definition of wetlands as used by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) since the 1970s for regulatory purposes is
"Wetlands are areas that are
inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency
and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal
circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically
adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally
include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas."
The basic premise of the program is that
no discharge of dredged or fill material can he permitted if a
practicable alternative exists that is less damaging to the aquatic
environment or if the nation's waters would be significantly
degraded. In other words, when you apply for a permit, you must show
that you have
- Taken steps to avoid wetland impacts
- Minimized potential impacts to
- Provided compensation for any
remaining, unavoidable impacts through activities to restore or
Check before you touch a wetland!
How can I enlarge a small property by
landscape design ?
Many times this question is posed by
property owners with small sites. There may be an answer! An
excellent illustration is provided by John Ormsbee Simonds in his
book "Landscape Architecture". He describes the
landscaping of "The Court of the Concubine", an ancient
Peking summer courtyard.
At one end of the courtyard stood the
residence and at the other a light airy pavilion. The concubine
longed for the open plains, lakes, woods, and freedom of her former
homeland. As a result, the prince had his landscape designers
attempt to recreate this mood and feeling in the cramped courtyard.
But how? By landscaped space enlargement
||To give the illusion
of distance, courtyard walls tapered inward and downward and
the rigidity of the enclosure was reduced by far plantings
extending on either side and beyond the converging walls.
The lines of the paving slabs tapered and textures changed
imperceptibly from rough to refined and colors from warm to
cool. Trees and plants in the foreground were bold in
outline and foliage while those near the pavilion were
drawfed and delicate. Water in the nearby fountain gurgled
and splashed, while in the far pools it lay mirror like and
still. This landscape design by perspective alone made the
view from her residence to seem expansive and the pavilion
As the concubine left her residence she
passed through various and ingeniously small landscaped reminders of
her homeland, from a contorted "mountain stone" and wall
with stylized clouds to meandering stones across a pond. A return
path invited her to view new features and spaces, or the same
courtyard objects viewed from a different perspective. The evolving
complex of miniature landscapes was similar to walking through
forest "rooms" each different and surprising, yet in
harmony. Each transition from space to space, element to element was
a harmonious progression.
A masterful example of space enlargement
and modulation through landscape design! Can I be of help?
Riding for the Handicapped
North American Riding for Handicapped Association (NARHA) was
founded in 1969 to promote and support therapeutic riding in the
U.S. and Canada. At some 500 NARHA riding centers, more than 26,000
individuals with disabilities find a sense of independence through
horseback riding. These centers range from small, one-person
programs to large operations with several instructors and
therapists. In addition to therapeutic riding, a center may offer
any number of equine activities such as driving, vaulting, trail
riding, competition or stable management. NARHA assists riding
centers in several ways for the benefit of individuals with
Through a wide variety of educational
resources, NARHA helps individuals start and maintain successful
therapeutic riding programs. NARHA's standards for riding centers
provide a basis for maintaining a safe therapeutic riding
environment. NARHA also provides guidelines for selecting riders who
are suitable and appropriate for therapeutic riding activities.
Other educational resources include regional workshops, an annual
conference and regional/state networks. NARHA is the accrediting
organization for Easter Seals' camps with equine activities. Other
organizations participating in NARHA riding programs include the
Muscular Dystrophy Association, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Special
Olympics, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy.