Equestrian Planning Educational Workshop Brought to Wellington, Florida

February 27th, 2013 7:59 AM | Comments Off on Equestrian Planning Educational Workshop Brought to Wellington, Florida
press release
On Jan 30, 2013 in Wellington, Florida over 40 participants gathered to listen, share and begin planning critical issues for equestrians. A collaborative effort organized by Wellington resident Mary Ann Simonds with Anna Gibson and Susan Harding of the Equine Land Conservation Resource (www.elcr.org), various planners and department heads form Palm Beach County, the Village of Wellington, and surrounding horse communities listened to a panel of experts share important knowledge for equestrian planning.

“It was a real grassroots efforts”, commented Mary Ann Simonds. “I put together the team of people who needed to be there, the Village of Wellington donated the venue, Whole Foods Market donated lunch, Polo West brought coffee, and all the speakers donated their time and expenses to make this happen,”

John Nicholson, director of the Kentucky Horse Park was the special guest speaker sharing how Lexington, the County and the State of Kentucky worked together to bring about the Kentucky Horse Park. A ten member panel representing Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation, Animal Control, Planning and Development, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, University of Florida Cooperative Extension, Equine Land Conservation Resource, equestrian planners, the Village of Wellington and the South Florida Water Management District shared their roles and responsibilities and their potential impact for equestrian development.

The workshop goals focused on sharing information and developing common ground for agencies and stakeholders. “We were able to successfully address two critical issues in this workshop: emergency planning for horses and developing a working relationship for inter-connective trail planning with Palm Beach County and surrounding horse communities. Because of the cooperative assistance of Palm Beach County participants such as Jean Mathews (Trails), Joan Hutchinson ( Parks & Recreation), Dianne Sauve (Head of Animal Control), Cooperative Extension Art Kirstein, and South Florida Water , Pam Wade, and others ,we began a dialogue of how communities and horse people can connect to the County’s emergency planning system and work together for building infra-structures  such as inter-connected trail system, to ensure future equestrian development”, said Mary Ann Simonds.

The focus groups provided a forum for participants to discuss critical issues in equestrian planning, noting that equestrian planning is not covered in most urban or rural planning models, so often it is overlooked. Palm Beach County is very pro-horses and was very supportive.

“Having the support of the Equine Land Conservation Resource really helped to make the workshop a success because of their role as a resource for this type of education and planning.” ELCR has worked for several years in developing collaborative models for sustainable equestrian communities, and we look forward to their continued support.”

“ELCR was very pleased to be able to work with this grass roots group.  It was gratifying to have such a diverse group of interested parties come together,” said Anna Gibson, CEO of ELCR.  “The exchange of information was a wonderful start.  We look forward to supporting the entire community in planning for horses in its landscape and economy.”

Information from the Palm Beach/Wellington Equestrian Planning Education Workshop is available atwww.equestrianplanning.com. We hope the site will provide useful resources for all agencies, municipalities and people interested in equestrian planning as provide more resources.  The panel presentations were video recorded and will be available for public viewing soon.

This is a starting point to bring our community together and plan for horses not just in Wellington, but all of Palm Beach County and perhaps South Florida, as it was evident from the workshop that a regional equestrian plan is needed. We have a great opportunity, and I hope others will get involved as this is a model for collaborative community planning for horses.

Emergency planning starts with each community and those wishing to get involved and be prepared for emergencies with horses are encouraged to contact Palm Beach Animal Control head Dianne Sauve at (561) 233-1250.  Those wishing to help with Trails in the County can contact Bret Baronak (561) 684-4163

For more information on South Florida Water Management District contact SFWMD at 561-686-8800. For assistance or information on farm/land management contact Art Kirstein- UF/Cooperative Extension at (561) 301-9192 and for information on Equine Land Conservation Resource contact Anna Gibson at 859-455-8383. For more information on the Village of Wellington’s equestrian planning contact Mike O’Dell at (561) 753-2532.

For more information on regional equestrian planning, contact Mary Ann Simonds.
Mary Ann Simonds. MA is an equine behavioral ecologist and an AHP member who writes about the good things people in the horse industry is doing. She has spent over 30 years working in protecting and developing equestrian communities as both an ecologist and an equestrian. Her work has spanned from California to Washington and from Florida and North Carolina to Hawaii and New Mexico.  She is a collaborative networker on behalf of both nature and the horse industry working with developers, communities and governments to assist in building sustainable, ecological equestrian communities.

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