Horseback Riding

Horses and Redding have always belonged together. Even long after the introduction of the horseless carriage, the Town's dirt roads and great distances demanded something more reliable than a sputtering engine.

But now the horse is in the minority and must make room for the hiker in our open space system. Topography imposes some tight restrictions. Steep, rock-strewn trails can be hazardous to horseback riders; hence, use is limited to pedestrians only. Elsewhere, trails may traverse places that are seasonally wet; hikes leave only footprints, horses leaving gaping holes in the ground and treacherous footing for those who follow.

Still, there are many miles of trail where a good canter or a brisk walk may be enjoyed by equestrians. As for trails under the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission and the Land Trust, riders are urged to learn which are open to horses and to keep to those only, so that a good time, as the saying goes, may be had by all-and spoiled for none.

Please note that the following Town and Land Trust trails open to horses are blazed in red at the trailhead:

• Little River Preserve: Equus Trail (closed March 1 to June 1) to Fraxinus Trail, west to Rivulus Trail; Tunxis Trail North to Rivulus Trail as far as the Little River

• Limekiln Natural Area: Accessway to upper Crossover Trail, Crossover to Gneiss Trail to (but not on) Boulder Trail, then back over Gneiss to Accessway

• Topstone Park: Saddleback Trail

• Saugatuck Falls Natural Area: Knapp Way and Powerline Trail, Burn Trail via Cutoff Trail, Falls Trail between Knapp Way and Powerline Trail only

• Brinckerhoff Preserve: enter through Far View Farm wall opening to White Trail; open field, path along wall; section of White Trail between "No Horses" signs; Ensor’s Trace between signs.

• Dayton Tract: Bruzelius Trail as far as Devil's Den boundary

• Racoon Lane in Stormfield

• All dirt roads

Before reining in on the subject of horses, the equestrian should know some good news and some bad news. The good news is that all of the trails of Huntington State Park are open to riding. The bad news is that none are open to horses in Devil's Den or in the Centennial Watershed State Forest. ❧