What Can I do?
First and foremost clean up ALL parking areas! The number one reason given for not wanting horses, is often manure left where others find it offensive. This simple act, can make a big difference.
And clean up after others too! Unfortunately, not everyone has got the message yet, so do a good deed and clean up even if it's not your mess.
Provide information on your local riding areas. Just taking some photos, and sending in some notes to add information to NZ Bridleways is a contribution everyone can make.
Find out about our campaigns, and those of our allies. Adding your voice (or your photo, or hashtag) to a campaign is a simple way to make a difference.
What is a submission? Can anyone make one? Learn how to be effective, and make change in your Council decisions, or to policy and strategy that affects recreational access to public land.
Raise the Profile of Horse Riding and Equestrian Sport
Too often we talk only to ourselves! We discuss issues in equestrian forums, or write letters to Horse and Pony Magazine. But we need to be talking in more general forums, and writing to the mass media!
Don't assume that people know about horse riding; most people don't. That's not their fault! We need to publicise ourselves better, and be welcoming at our events. You'll find it much easier to gain support, if you already have a community that thinks you're an interesting and fun bunch of people, rather than a bunch of snobs with horses.
Make submissions, Attend Workshops, and "Have your Say"
Submission are formal documents written to Councils or central government on specific topics. Most Councils have hundreds of sports grounds - often all directed at male oriented sports like rugby, but few resources available to other sports and recreation. Why is this? Often, because only sports clubs bother to make submissions, and approach the local Council for funding read more...
Local planning may also take place through drop-in events, workshops or open days. Take the time to attend; find out what is planned, and speak up for your fellow horse riders. Make sure other riders know about these events by posting the dates\times on social media, or discuss at your club. Many plans are now far less formal, and the public get to have a say via surveys, or even social media. Remember to share these with your riding friends once you've had your say.
Write Letters to the Editor
Each and every person has the ability to send a letter to the editor of their local paper, or magazines. Raise issues of unfairness in sport or recreation. Stop talking to equestrian mags (we know the issues), and talk to the general public instead. Tell them something new, point out how their rates money or tax money is being wasted by being spent on a single user group instead of on shared resources.
Write Media Releases (Clubs, Event Organisers, Organisations)
Each and every club and organisation should be sending photos and stories to their local newspapers about their latest club event, or success story. Media releases are important to telling the community that we exist, about our problems and making the non-horse owning public understand our goals and problems.
Contacting local or regional councillors, and Members of Parliament directly
How to contact them
- Local Councillor's email addresses + phone numbers are on your Council website
- You have both a Regional and District or City Council (except Auckland)
- Members of Parliament for your local area have an office, anyone can make an appointment to see their local MP
- Ministers for sport\recreation\health\transport >> email addresses are on the Parliament website
- Raise the profile of horse riding, and recreation issues.
- Tell them about horse recreation and sports > educate them.
Creating publications for public awareness, and educating public officials (planners and elected representatives).
You can use our publications to help educate planners and officials.
Actively Create Trails, or Protect Existing Trails
Want to create a bridleway, or trail in your local area, on public land. Don't wait for someone else to do it, get together with others, and make a plan to build it. You may need help, or permission from Council, but you may also be able to get funding from them if you simply provide them with a well thought out plan.
Take care of your local riding areas, parks and trails.
Have working bees, or keep an eye out for planting days or other events that will help you get to know local parks officers, or rangers, and show that horse riders care for the environment too. Mountain bikers frequently spend a lot of time building their own tracks; horse riders need to do the same, and be prepared to muck in and perform trail maintenance.
- how many complaints they receive,
- how quickly they are handled,
- what they were about,
- and how much they cost .
Make a Complaint
Making an official complaint sounds serious, but it just means, providing feedback, reporting an issue, making a suggestion, or asking for better service. Many Councils are now changing the terms they use; so the Council website may say 'fix a problem', 'contact us' or even 'feedback'.
Making a Complaint
- Call the Call centre number, or fill in the online form on your Council's website.
- Be specific. What is it that you want?
- Be objective. Don't get personal, or emotive, be polite and if possible constructive! If you have a good solution, tell them.
- Get a call or complaint number, so that you can follow up.
What to complain about?
Specific Issues are usually very easily dealt with, and covered under the Councils 'fix it' type feedback. These include:
- Road safety
- Poorly placed road signs - Frequently road signs are randomly shoved onto the road side, making it difficult to ride on rural berms, or spooking your horse.
- Dangerous drains, or drain covers
- Landowners blocking off the verge with trees, gardens, or fences (this is illegal)
- Dumped rubbish
- Damaged Council property - parks, trails, fences etc
- Poor Council property - poorly built infrastructure - stuff that is dangerous to you or your horse(s)
- Unformed legal roads with fences, locked gates or other obstructions on them
These often involve a longer process, and you may be fobbed off initially. Take the opportunity to learn how to change the thing you want. Don't get angry, ask how you can work WITH the Council to create change.
- Ask where the horse riding trails are, or complain that there aren't any.
- Horses not permitted in parks, beaches or on trails
- Lack of place to ride, or unsafe roads
See Also - making a submission