California Riding Magazine • October, 2009

The San Diego County Horsemen’s Association
Young organization aspires to protect and promote the right to keep and enjoy horses.

by Lynnea Colleen Murphy, SDCHA press officer

The San Diego County Horsemen’s Association is launching a broad campaign to preserve the equestrian lifestyle. We need the help of all our fellow horse people in San Diego County. Our aim is to create a county that draws and welcomes all horse owners and enthusiasts, along with national and international equestrian events, to the San Diego area. 

Even though San Diego County is currently home to two thirds of California’s equine population, many renowned individuals and businesses are leaving California for states that are more supportive of the horse and equestrian activities and events. These states understand the revenue and tax dollars created by the 21st Century horse industry. Educating our elected officials and the public to gain their support is a key component of our campaign.

For many of our founding members, the battle has already begun in our own backyards. The ability to maintain our horses, horse related businesses, training and event facilities has become much more difficult in the face of changing land planning and use regulations.  
We are losing our rights to public trails, state forests and parks and our rights to maintain our own horse or horses on our personal properties with proper housing. Horse businesses and organizations are facing struggles to maintain their businesses in the industry, too. The struggles have been at the county, state and federal level. Often, Department of Planning and Land Use or state usage permits of public and private grounds have changed our rights and we don’t know until it has become law and affects our lives in some way.
The SDCHA is determined to reverse this trend.

Our mission is to provide leadership and representation for the San Diego County horse community to local and state agencies who regulate land use in the county, to provide facts and information to owners of equestrian properties and other interested parties, and to proactively identify issues that may affect the success and welfare of equestrian activities in San Diego County.

SDCHA Wants You!

The SDCHA’s website, www.sdcha.org, is being developed to play a huge role in our effort. A members-only area dedicated to Department of Planning and Land Use will be a vital tool for anyone who maintains horses or an equestrian facility on their property or hopes to in the future. We envision the DPLU website department as a resource library and an essential first stop for members preparing a permit application or those who need to work with or respond to the DPLU regarding existing projects. Because this section will require significant time and costs to compile and keep current, a membership fee and a secure log-in system will be necessary for access.

We are counting on you to help us compile this section. Do you know of anyone who has suffered or is suffering from code enforcement complaints or DPLU use permit issues? Please e-mail us the details at dplucomplaints@sdcha.org

Asserting our voice as a united community is essential to maintaining our horse owner’s rights. Toward this end, we encourage you to sign up as a One Voice member by e-mailing OneVoice@sdcha.org. You will receive notices and instructions when it’s time to speak up on current issues. 

We are looking for individuals or organizations willing to represent their individual breed, discipline, occupation, business, youth group, event, etc. We want to create an info hotline (phone/e-mail tree) so important news facts can be sent to all members expediently for time sensitive matters.

Please visit our website often. We are constructing it as a true home for all horse related information and a central point to connect with each other and learn about each other’s breeds and disciplines. Don’t miss our community calendar, blog and growing list of links to relevant sites. We’ll start with San Diego, but we aspire to include information and resources throughout California.

SDCHA will be setting up different avenues to support its growth financially as a 501c3 non-profit organization. Advertising opportunities and sponsorships will be available. Professionals willing to offer their services and individuals who pride themselves in planning fundraisers, large and small, are welcome. The more the merrier! Contact Volunteers@sdcha.org.

This association has been established with great passion, love and enthusiasm for the horse by the SDCHA Board members: David & Annette Puchta - Paradise Saddlebred Farm, Lemon Drop Farms in Bonsall; Teri and Bob Johnson - Performance Horse Supply in Bonsall and Fallbrook; Steve Colburn - Creekside Veterinary in Escondido; Susan Bernard - Glass Light Studio in Bonsall; Jane and Bill Frank - Sterling Farms in Bonsall; James and Lindy Waldman - Quail Haven Farms in Bonsall; Laura Palazaola and Sally Cobb - Tapestry Meadows in Valley Center; Cynthia Lapporte - Oak Breeze Farms in Fallbrook; Lynnea Coleen Murphy - Lynnea’s Designs; and Sharon Blake - Sharlandra Farms in Rancho Santa Fe.

For more information and to get involved with the San Diego County Horsemen’s Assn., visit www.sdcha.org, or write them at SDCHA, PMB012, 5256 S. Mission Road #703, Bonsall, CA 92003.