Notes & Tips 2

"Looking Ahead"





Hall of Fame



Farms LC

World Class Oldenburg Sport Horses



Notes & Tips Continued (Page 2 of 2)

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.

STOP!   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 as follows:

    "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 where practicable
  • Minimized potential impacts to wetlands
  • Provided compensation for any remaining, unavoidable impacts through activities to restore or create wetlands.

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 and modulation!

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 remote.

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

The 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 disabilities.

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.