New Jersey Horse Council
25 Beth Dr., Moorestown NJ 08057-3021
Phone: 856-231-0771
Fax: 856-234-1081

Did You Know...?
New Jersey has miles and miles of trails available to horseback riding enthusiasts. Have you checked them out?

New Jersey Horse Council - Here to support you!

Recreational Riding

NJHC Board Members Committed to Preserving Trails
The New Jersey Horse Council is a leader in recognizing that the land, trails, and facilities their horsemen use need to be protected for future use.

In the 1990's, Susan Data-Samtak became a Member of NJHC supporting trail issues in New Jersey. Janice Elsishans joined the club in early 2000 and became even further involved in trail issues. NJHC members, now interested in keeping trails open and building new ones, supported Janice's attendance at several trail conferences including the SETC in VA and OVET in CA. Awareness of the land issues increased. The NJHC supported their trails enthusiasts in helping to produce a book of specifications on many of the riding trails available in New Jersey.

All of the equine land conservation knowledge that was gained over the years became very important in the bid to save Lusscroft Farms, which was once owned by Rutgers University. The University used the farm as an agricultural experimental station focusing on artificial insemination of cattle. In the 1980s and 1990s, after the experimental station closed, the farm served as a 4H Horse Camp and was used by local New Jersey horse groups for trail riding and overnight camping. Then the farm was closed to the public due to environmental hazards associated with the buildings and remained so for 12 years

In July of 2004 representing the NJHC, Janice Elsishans attended a public meeting regarding the fate of Lusscroft Farms. Rutgers University had given the farm to New Jersey State Parks and Forests and its future was undecided. Janice stood up in the meeting and suggested that the farm be used as a tourist/state heritage/agriculture site in conjunction with the state park service and since equine use was the main use before the farm was closed, NJHC wanted to make sure that the horse would be a fixture in any new use slated for the farm. With uncountable hours of volunteer time put in by local equestrians, Lusscroft Farm is once again open to horses and a trail ride organized by NJHC board member Janice Elsishans has been held every National Trails Day since 2005.

Enjoying New Jersey's State Animal! by Janice Elsishans

Below is a great photo taken January 1, 2011 of ten riders who meet at Debbie's farm on Halsey Corner in Newton, NJ to ride on the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail; a wonderful tailgate buffet and trail talk of future ride plans followed the trail ride. The day started out sunny, and although the trail had a couple small icy areas the horses were surefooted whether they had studs, barefooted, boots or metal shoes. Everyone is wearing a helmet. Amazing how ten horses that did not know each other stood peacefully for this photo op.

The State "Trail Signs" worked in our favor where the trail crossed Route 206 and 94. I would like to believe that the signs created courteous drivers who stopped for the horses to cross the road; or was it seeing ten horses crossing the road that made them stop?

Just imagine the economic impact to Sussex County of these 10 equestrian residences, and now multiply in all those equestrian not pictured. WOW!

Work continues to have installed the "25 mph when horses present" signs on county roads for all the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail and Sussex Branch Trail in both Sussex and Warren County. If you live in a municipality where either of these trails cross, stop by your municipality and ask about the signs. Kittatinny State Park has the signs and all the hardware, the municipality is requested to install them.

Enjoying the wonderful scenic miles of New Jersey's trails:

NJ Trail Associations & Recreational Riding Groups (click name to visit website)
Readington Trail Association Amwell Valley Trail Association
Tewksbury Trail Association Long Valley Trail Association
Hunterdon Cty. Horse & Pony Association Somerset Horse & Pony Association
Hopewell Valley Trail Association Colts Neck Trail Riders
Alexandria Equestrian Association Pittstown Trail Association
Central Jersey Horseman's Association Horseman's Association of Mill Township
Pleasure Horse Club of Central Jersey Covered Bridge Trail Assn.

Is your group listed? If not, please let us know!

National Recreational Riding Groups
These groups sponsor rides and activities across the country. Check their websites for rides in New Jersey.
NATRC The North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) is a national sanctioning body for competitive trail rides in the United States. It is based on philosophies of stimulating the breeding and use of equines possessed of stamina and hardiness for trail riding and to encourage good horsemanship, training and conditioning of these equines. NATRC has developed a philosophy of competitive trail riding with uniform judging being of paramount importance. Uniformity of rules aids management in conducting rides and makes it easier for judges to evaluate each horse and rider on a more objective basis.
NACMO Competitive Mounted Orienteering (CMO) is one of the most challenging and exciting equestrian sports - for the competitive as well as family horse rider! CMO is like a mounted treasure hunt, which tests your horsemanship, your map reading ability, and your compass skills - all while having great fun with your horse! The object of the sport is to ride out as an individual or a team on a prescribed course and find as many of the hidden Objective Stations as you can and get back in the least amount of time, on either a ten station long or 5 station short course. The long course can be anywhere from around 8 to as long as 25 miles. The terrain depends on the ride manager's choice of area - but CMO rides are held all over the country from the high forests of Washington State to the rolling hills of Indiana! The short course is much smaller, and is oriented towards families, riders wishing a less competitive event, training of new horses, and new riders looking to check out the CMO fun.
ACTHA American Cometitive Trail Horse Association sponsors judged trail rides. A judged trail ride is a type of trail riding popular in the United States where horses and riders are asked to travel a natural trail for a set distance (usually 10 to 15 miles) with occasional stops for the horse and rider team to negotiate an obstacle, usually with varying options for difficulty, with higher scores given for completing the more difficult version of each obstacle. Unlike endurance riding or competitive trail riding, the ride is not timed. Only obstacle scores are utilized. Rides are informal and rules vary widely by region and individual ride.

Courtesy on Shared Trails
  • Train your horse to be around people, bicycles, other animals (e.g. dogs), and motorized vehicles (cars, 4-wheelers, golf carts, etc.)
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you'll return
  • Show your gratitude to landowners - a simple "hello" - and a thanks...
  • Park in designated/authorized parking areas only.
  • Always clean up after your horse.
  • Get to know other users. Talk to them and be friendly. Say hello and smile.
  • Stay on the right-hand side of the trail (no matter how wide). This helps avoid accidents and head-on collisions.
  • Always look ahead, behind, and beside you.
  • Take responsibility for yourself and your horse's actions.
  • When riding hilly terrain, yield to uphill traffic. Uphill traffic has the right-of-way. Wait at the top of a hill or at the first safe spot to stop until those going uphill have passed by.
  • Help with trail maintenance on the land you ride.


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