Sport Ireland, with input from Horse Sport Ireland and it’s Affiliate TREC Ireland, have released the updated Recreational Horse Trails Criteria for Ireland. The criteria will be the benchmark for the development of horse trails throughout the country ensuring that quality infrastructure is being developed to enable accessible, safe, and enjoyable trail riding opportunities in Ireland. The criteria also outlines an appropriate system for the classification and grading of horse trails in line with international best practice.
There has been a significant interest in the number of people who are actively participating in recreational horse riding in Ireland and Sport Ireland believe having this standardised criteria for horse trail developments will assist in providing managed access to Ireland’s beautiful landscapes while helping to protect the environment in which these natural amenities are located. This criteria document supersedes the Management Standards for Recreational Trails and Classification and Grading for Recreation Trails documents that were released back in 2008.
Sport Ireland currently provide insurance to indemnify private landowners and trail management groups against claims for injury, accident or property damage related to privately owned sections of walking trails which meet the agreed criteria and are included on the National Trails Register. Sport Ireland are working towards providing a similar structure for private landowners and trail management groups in relation to horse trails. Sport Ireland are also working on developing training programmes related to the planning, development and ongoing management of recreational horse trails in Ireland. An update will be provided when additional information is available.
Horse Sport Ireland Sport Governance Executive Paul Hayes said:
“HSI are delighted to see the launch of the updated Recreational Horse Trails Criteria for Ireland. HSI have and will continue to work closely with Sport Ireland Outdoors, TREC Trails Ireland and Leisure Equestrian Stakeholders to facilitate leisure riding and the development of equestrian trails. Having the Trails Criteria in place will ensure that a clear guidelines are in place for all Equestrian Trails and provide a road map for trail developers.”
For further information on TREC Trails Ireland visit their website https://trecireland.com/
You can view the Recreational Horse Trail Criteria for Ireland by clicking https://www.sportireland.ie/sites/default/files/media/document/2021-12/criteria_horse.pdf