Members of the Indian Trail Board of Supervisors reminded the public Wednesday, Aug. 22 that despite the increased traffic, The Acreage is still a horse community and chastised drivers who are not mindful of equestrians sharing the roads.
The board members also discussed improving signage on horse trails and making connections where there aren’t any now, as well as scheduling a meeting with the Acreage Horseman’s Association to take suggestions.
During her opening comments, ITID President Betty Argue cautioned drivers to slow down for horses.
“If you see someone out riding their horse, will you please slow down just a bit?” Argue said. “My horses are great, and don’t mind you at all, but some people get way too close, going way too fast for my comfort level. Some people might argue that we [should] ride in an equestrian area. Yes, that’s completely true. That’s why we moved here, so we can. The Acreage is an equestrian area.”
She thanked the drivers who do slow down for riders and discussed the Florida Statute stating that any person operating a motor vehicle must use reasonable care when approaching and passing a person riding or leading an animal upon a roadway, or the shoulder of a roadway, and should not intentionally startle or injure such an animal.
“It seems like some people out here just are not understanding, and they’re not respecting the fact that if somebody’s on a horse, you cannot go 60 miles an hour past them and blow your horn,” Argue said. “Doing so could end up with a horse bucking their rider, running out into the road and causing serious damage to the horse, but also to you.”
Argue said that she is tired of people telling her that The Acreage is no longer an equestrian community.
“We are still an equestrian community, and as long as we are an equestrian community, we need to respect our equestrians,” Argue said. “Maybe if it was a little bit safer, people would get out and ride their horses.”
Supervisor Tim Sayre said he had been out looking at all the horse trails with District Manager Rob Robinson and Parks & Recreation Director Tim Wojnar.
“We have miles and miles of horse trails here,” he said. “We went over all the signage. We’re missing a lot of signage, and we’re having signage made for that,” Sayre said. “We’re also going over the map of the horse trails. We’re not sure, but we’re going to designate out the areas so far that are designated as horse trails. We’re connecting some of them together on proposed horse trails.”
Sayre said that Wojnar is getting bids on the signs, which will have arrows that point the direction of the trail.
“Again, just please slow down to go by horses,” Sayre said. “There can be little kids on those horses. You never know what a horse is going to do. I have seen two horses hit, one right in front of me. Not out here, but elsewhere, and it’s not pretty. So, please, respect the fact that it’s a huge animal, and it can be uncontrollable if it gets spooked.”
During public comment, Acreage Horseman’s Association President John Rivera thanked Sayre, Robinson and Wojnar for including him in the tour of horse trails.
“It was interesting,” Rivera said. “I didn’t know all of the trails. Many people think all of the trails are not actually trails.”
Before the district does the signage, Rivera suggested a workshop to involve the community.
“I know there are horse people who might have some good input,” he said, suggesting that the Acreage Horseman’s Association be involved. “There’s other people who do a lot of trail riding out here.”
Argue said that the signage Wojnar was ordering was related to maintenance issues.
Rivera said there are two types of signage.
“There’s signage to show where the trails are, and signage to warn the traffic and residents in the area that might not know about horses and do not know that they have to slow down and that horses have the right of way,” he said.
Sayre said the signs being ordered are to replace the missing signs.
Argue suggested having a workshop with the Acreage Horseman’s Association and any other equestrians interested in attending at 5:30 p.m. before ITID’s regular October board meeting.
Rivera asked how the board would invite the community, and Argue said staff would put an announcement on the ITID web site. Rivera asked ITID to give him a letter to post on the Acreage Horseman’s Association social media sites.