Iowa Horse Council Trails Committee Update

by Sandee McKee on January 8, 2018

The new trails committee of the Iowa Horse Council has had a very busy first year. We are proud to have an active committee and to have instated several new services to Iowa Horse Council members. So far this year we have sponsored a Confidence Clinic with Helmuth Equine which was very well received, a well-attended clinic on colic with Dr. Stay and the new semi-annual Iowa Horse Council Trail Rides at Cross Roads Ranch.  In addition we provided two large three step mounting blocks for trail riders who need to dismount on the trail away from camp at both Elk Rock and Brushy Creek.  We established a policy of charging less for our events for Iowa Horse Council members and as a result of this many attendees opted to join the Horse Council.

We have big plans for 2018.  We have been asked to do a trails conference again at the Iowa Horse Fair.  It will be from 9:00 am -12:00 pm and again from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm in the conference room above the office in the Jacobson Center at the Iowa State Fair Grounds on Friday April 6, 2018.  This is a large room and should be much more comfortable than the facilities that were used previous years for the Trails Conference in the Cattle barn!  Tentatively we plan to have an open forum in the morning with the DNR concerning trail riding in Iowa’s State Parks followed by a seminar entitled “End Of The Trail” concerning putting down old and sick horses and how to disposing of the bodies.  In the afternoon we are planning three sessions. We hope to have the popular D.O.T session return to education on truck and trailer regulations in Iowa.  There will be a session on design and fitting of helmets for trail riding and a third session we are working on, but have not finalized at this time.  Plan to attend the Iowa Horse Fair early and be a part of the 2018 Equestrian Trails Conference.  Watch our Facebook page IHC Trails for more information as we proceed with planning.

We will be working with Rob at Cross Roads Ranch to set up our spring and fall trail rides for 2018.  These are open to the public, but Horse Council members get a discount on camping fees.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the activities that we are working on for 2018.  In the planning stages are clinic for trail emergencies with a veterinarian, camp cooking with cast iron, crock pot, foil and open fire, trailer backing for women, bare foot trimming and self-defense on the trail.  Other ideas we have not started on yet include trailer maintenance and trail safety.

We are a small committee and are continually looking for help with these grand ideas!  If you are an Iowa Horse Council member and have an interest in trails in Iowa and would like to join us we would welcome your help. We meet once a month at a restaurant or at a member’s home.  Our committee welcomes lots of assistance.


Fri 9 AM Jacobson Center at the Iowa State Fair Ground

Join us for an Equestrian Trails Conference on Friday, the first day of the Iowa Horse Fair Friday, April 6, 2018, at the Fairgrounds in Des Moines. We will meet in the upper room above the office at the Jacobson Center. There will be two sessions in the morning and three sessions in the afternoon.

Cost is $10 and $8 for Iowa Horse Council members. Payment will be required for the two-morning sessions. Horse Fair wristbands will also be available. Afternoon sessions open to anyone with a horse fair wristband.

Morning sessions will be an open forum with the DNR to discuss problems and future of Iowa’s public trails and campgrounds. The second session will be a panel discussion called “End of Trail”. We will discuss humanly putting down a horse and how to dispose of that horse. The panel will consist of an experienced veterinary, DNR regulations, owner of a horse cremation facility and a crafter who makes keepsakes from horse hair.

Afternoon sessions will be with the DOT concerning regulations for trail rider’s trucks and trailers, trail etiquette, and helmet construction, safety and free fittings.

Watch the IHC Trails and Iowa Horse Council Facebook pages and the Iowa Horse Council website for more details on the sessions.


I received an email from the DOT training officer that will be presenting our session on the legalities of trucks and horse trailers in Iowa. He has invited us to send him any detailed questions that we might have for him so that he has the proper information available for us.

This is a great chance to get any questions you may have cleared up. Every time I get together with trail riders and the subject comes up many of us have different understandings of weigh requirements, stopping at weight stations, recreational vehicles, commercial hauling, required equipment etc.

Give this some thought and email me at with your questions that I can pass along. Looking forward to seeing lots of you there.

For more information there is an Event “2018 IHC Trails Committee Equestrian Trail Conference” posted on the IHC Trails Facebook page with all the details.


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2018 Iowa Horse Fair Trail Rider Challenge Entry Form