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Useful Trail News

March 8, 2017

News article was published by The Virginia Pilot (link below), hard copy was in Thursday, March 9 paper, supporting the need to improve the conditions in Chesapeake’s Northwest River Park.

Please visit the link and comment on the article (at the bottom). The more people that voice their support or concerns for the park, one of the few local places to ride, the better the chances are of seeing improvements.

If you have trouble leaving a comment at PilotOnline, you can email your comments to;

Chesapeake Parks & Rec. at

Chesapeake’s City Manager at

Chesapeake’s City Council at


January 11, 2017

From VAHorseTrails on Facebook

Campers - I received bad news today. Virginia State Parks made the decision to close the primitive Canoe Launch equestrian campground at James River State Park (JRSP). This decision was without any formal stakeholder input or opportunities to look at possible solutions to the problems. The reasons I was given by the reservations office were that “…many people are walking through that area now for river access and going up to the horses creating a dangerous situation, people complained because we wouldn’t allow them to use generators any more. After the generator rule went into effect, fewer people were renting it too.”
This means that we lost 6 of the 16 campsites and 6 stalls at JRSP. Also, subtract 1 site at the Horseshoe campground that is now occupied by a camp host and we are left with 9 campsites and 20 stalls total.
If you have concerns about this decision, you may communicate them to key DCR staff. Contact information can be found here

May 2015

Michelle Rudisill, Deputy Chief of Gates County Rescue and EMS, requests your assistance.

A Search and Rescue exercise is planned on May 19-22nd, 2016 at the Sandbanks, Eure NC. This exercise involves many searchers to be on the ground during those days. Safety for all persons is our primary goal during this time.  Michelle has contacted SEAT in hopes of us working together to keep everyone safe, both riders and our search teams. If you do ride in the Sandbanks between May 19-21st, 2016, to please stay South of the Dowery. Our Search and Rescue teams will stay north of the Dowery.  

If Michelle can be of any assistance, please give her a call or email. She can be contacted at 252-357-0388, or 252-331-3497. 

July 2014
  Girl Scout Sarah McNally completed her Gold Award project at Northwest River Park!  She made several improvements to our equestrian area and trails.  Equestrian trails have been remarked and named, a mounting block and another hitching post were built, and display case revamped with glass case by restrooms.  Local girl and boy scouts have donated countless hours of their time making significant enhancements to the trails and equestrian area of Northwest River Park.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  :)



June 2014

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources sent a letter mid June stating private horseback riding is allowed on designated trails within boundaries of Lost River State Park this season. Privilege is being extended until 12/31/14 as a trial period. Thanks WV for letting us back!


March 2014

March 13 ~ From Tidewater Horse Trail

It has come to my attention that many riders are concerned about the availability of Sunday riding next fall.  This is due to the new law permitting Sunday hunting,  It is my firm belief that Sunday is a day of rest and prayer and there will be no Sunday hunting permitted on any of our land.  I hope that this resolves any concerns that annual pass holders or purchasers may have about available times to ride.


Looks like Saturday will be the better day this weekend. And the trails and lane are dry!


February 2014

From Cathette Plumer with Virginia Horse Council and VQHA February 5th:
The Sunday Hunting bill made it out of the AG Committee.  It is due to go to the full Senate, probably Thurs.  It was postponed today.  We need to call or email any and all Senators if you do not want Sunday Hunting. 

Bulk emails are not good, but here is a link that will give you all the email addresses or phone numbers


We still want one day a week to feel safe in the woods either riding, biking, hiking, or playing.  If the bill passes it is not just deer season but all hunting seasons which only leave the months of July and August with no hunting.


Happy Trails,




September 2013



            The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, a seven-year-old Paint gelding from Disputanta in Prince George County, moved to Virginia from Mississippi three months ago. A blood test showed recent infection so he contracted the disease in Virginia. The horse, which had not been vaccinated for EEE, was euthanized on August 31. 

            This is the first reported case of EEE in a horse in Virginia this year.  Last year the state had eight cases of EEE, most of them from the Tidewater area which is typical. So far there have been no reported cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Virginia horses this year.

            In an April 2013 press release, Dr. Richard Wilkes, VDACS’ State Veterinarian, encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that would protect their horses from EEE. Available vaccines are effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and WNV in horses. The vaccines are effective for six to twelve months, so horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as southeast and Tidewater Virginia, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months.  

For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. Generally, EEE is transmitted by mosquitoes. Besides vaccination, other prevention methods include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

For more information, please contact the Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult your local veterinarian.



            The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the first diagnosed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse in 2013.  The horse is from Russell County. It had been vaccinated for WNV just two weeks prior to becoming ill. The horse is being treated with supportive therapies to prevent the animal from injuring herself throughout the two to three week cycle of the disease. Often horses have to be euthanized because of the severity of their symptoms, which may include low-grade fever, ataxia (loss of full control of bodily movements), hypermetria (lifting its feet excessively high) and intermittent central nervous system depression.

In April 2013 VDACS sent out an announcement encouraging horse owners to discuss a vaccination schedule for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis with their veterinarians. Vaccines are available to drastically reduce the incidence of WNV and EEE in horses. The vaccines are effective for six to twelve months, so horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In areas where the disease occurs frequently, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months. 

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. 

            The virus usually lives in wild birds of many different species.  Mosquitoes transmit it from bird to bird.  Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. 

            WNV can cause a horse to go down and be unable to get up without help. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice or information should an animal exhibit symptoms of WNV. See for contact information at the five regional laboratories.

The following Web sites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:



July 2013

Summons have been issued at Petersburg National Battlefield Park for the following violations:   

  1. Riding along the creeks, not just watering (causing excess horse manure in creeks)
  2. Violating the eagle nest trail restrictions (trails currently open until eagles return in December)
  3. Riding on the Park Tour Road (observed between Stops 3 and 4 and other places)
  4. Riding on Red Trails (trail maps with color coded trails designated, available at horse parking area)
  5. Entering the park after hours and riding (Park grounds open from 8am-Sunset daily, except: New Year's day, Thanksgiving and Christmas)

 Please report any violations to the Park Rangers at (757)898-2427. 


June 2013

Petersburg National Battlefield Park

All yellow trails are now open 

April 2013

From Superintendent Mike Foster regarding Lost River State Park in Mathias, WV

Dear Horseback Rider and Valued Park Guest,

In the interest of clarity, please allow us to explain what the horseback riding policy will be this year, so there is no confusion.  From April 1 through October 31, private horseback riding will be permitted on the parks designated horseback riding trails between the hours of 5:30pm until 10:00pm.  From November 1 through March 31, these same trails may be used by private riders at any time between 6:00am and 10:00pm.  With the implementation of this new policy no registration or fee will be required.

The division of Natural Resources entered many years ago into a lease/concession agreement with a private company for stable operations and horseback riding on the park.  As part of that agreement, the concessionaire had (and has) sole legal right to the use of all horseback riding trails on the park.  The concessionaire has been willing to allow private riding on their contractual premises (horseback riding trails) in the past, but due to liability concerns in today's legal climate, has exercised their option to restrict private riders from trails and primitive roads during their regular hours of operation so as to eliminate any potential conflicts between their horseback concession trail riders and private use.  However, with our agreement to amend their contract to remove their trail maintenance responsibility, (and thereby their additional potential liability in that regard) they have agreed to permit riding on the trails when the park riding concession is not open for business.  Hence the new schedule for private riding.

If you have any questions please let us know.


Mike Foster


Lost River State Park 
321 Park Dr 
Mathias WV  26812
(304) 897-5372


Hidden Trails Stables, LLC
6849 Dove Hollow Rd
Mathias WV  26812
(304) 897-5621 (April - October only) 



Taking in views at Lost River State Park