Have ridden liberal cities criminally

City of Hagen wants to restrict riding to designated routes

Riders and horse lovers in Hagen had expected a lot from the revision of the State Nature Conservation Act: "We were very happy to look forward to the amendment," says Sigrid Gottschol, member of the board of the Reit- und Fahrverein Kalthauser Höhe. After all, in the forests of North Rhine-Westphalia, since the beginning of the year, it is no longer possible to ride on marked bridle paths, but on all paved paths. For years, riding clubs had campaigned for this reform, which gives their members more freedom and variety.

But the city of Hagen wants to thwart the riders' bill and continue to restrict riding in the forest to designated bridle paths by decree. “This is a tried and tested rule that we have done well with for decades,” explains Ralf-Rainer Braun, Head of the Environment Agency, why Hagen wants to take back the new freedoms for riders permitted in the Nature Conservation Act. Last but not least, the city wants to avoid conflicts between the individual groups of those looking for relaxation and the forest owners.

For recreational purposes

In fact, the law gives the municipalities the opportunity to limit the freedom of movement for riders in their area. According to a statement from the Arnsberg district government, riding should, for example, be restricted to bridle paths in heavily frequented forests, which are particularly used for recreational purposes. Even in locally delimited forest areas, in which there is a risk of considerable impairment to other people seeking relaxation or significant damage, a riding ban can be set for certain trails.

The exception, however, is that riding - as in Hagen - should only continue to be permitted in all forests on signposted bridle paths. “The majority of the municipalities are orienting themselves towards the new, liberal regulation”, says Benjamin Hahn from the district government.

Prohibited terrain

For the Kalthauser Reit- und Fahrverein, the actions of the city of Hagen mean that its members move around on forbidden terrain on their four-legged friends. Sigrid Gottschol describes the problem: “Strictly speaking, we shouldn't go outside at all.” However, they had agreed with forest owners and hunting tenants where the club members were allowed to ride in the woods and what the rules were must be observed: "If everyone adheres to such agreements, there are no problems at all."

Tolerant togetherness

Anja Spick from the Schultenhof Western stable in Halden also pleads for a tolerant coexistence of all affected groups: "I just think it's a shame that the same regulations do not apply everywhere in North Rhine-Westphalia." The city of Hagen should please consider whether to apply hold on to their deviant attitude.

You are flexible in the town hall. Individual riders or riding clubs could approach the environmental agency at any time and suggest new bridle paths or make suggestions, says Braun: "If there is a need, we are always ready to talk."

At the decision of the Nature Conservation Advisory Board, the administration must explain after six months which statements have been made by the equestrian and owner associations. Then the decree should be voted on.

>> Background: Riding with a plastic sign

  • Anyone who rides in the forest must have a clearly visible one attached to both sides of the horse "Mark" in form of Plastic shield to lead.
  • The sign is on the Snaffle attached. A fee has to be paid to receive the license plate. It is available from the city administration.

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