Superstition Horsemen’s Association works to ensure rights, privileges of horse owners

The Superstition Horsemen’s Association is an organization established in 1980 with the sole purpose of implementing one philosophy, the association’s mission statement: The Superstition Horsemen’s Association Inc. is a group of concerned citizens formed to ensure the rights and privileges of horsemen; to promote the humane treatment of horses; and to actively pursue favorable legislation concerning the above.

What is your website and contact information?: http://sha4u.org.

What did your members accomplish in 2017?: As an organization, we’ve had numerous accomplishments for 2017. One of our biggest has been the awareness to the city council and Apache Junction residents on the dangers of oleander to not only equine but also all pets and humans too. We had several members become certified by FEMA for “Wide Open Space Search and Rescue” hosted by Pinal County. This will allow our group to help out in the event of a mass evacuation due to a wildfire or other type of disaster. We are co-stewards for section 18a on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Our efforts and hard work has allowed this trail to be well-maintained for all to enjoy. SHA has also worked with Apache Junction Parks and Recreation to repair fencing and step-over gates around the city’s open-space trail system. Elizabeth Butler and her crew have logged over 94 hours of hard work to help maintain this trail system. We have been active participants in the Resolution Copper Mine Project in Superior, the updates for the future of the Arizona National Scenic Trail with the National Forest and the revamping of the Tonto National Forest Master Plan of Operations. SHA has been a participant in the city’s three big parades: Lost Dutchman Days, Veterans Day and the Light Parade. Our parade group consists of several members riding in matching uniforms and preforming equine maneuvers. They even took first place at the Pleasant Valley Days parade for best equine entry. We have an equine rescue division that has helped with several equine neglect or abuse cases. In some cases, just educating a new owner on proper care for his or her horse has turned a malnourished horse into a well-fed and maintained animal. We have successfully hosted an obstacle event at the rodeo grounds for the past few years. This has allowed riders of all skill levels to try to ride their horse through different types of obstacles for prizes. We’ve participated in the Horizon Health and Wellness Earth Heart Park Artisan Market by displaying a live horse for people to see and pet, bringing attention to the healthy benefits of riding a horse. SHA hosts three general membership meetings each year with a guest speaker to educate the equine community. Last year we had Randy Helm from Wild Horse Inmate Program from Florence State Prison; Sheryl Blackorby with the East Valley Back Country Horsemen presenting a slide show on camping with your horse; and Steve McClintock, president of East Valley Back Country presenting how the organization works nationally to keep trails open for equestrians.

What is your goal for 2018?: In 2018, Superstition Horsemen’s Association hopes to further educate the needs to maintain and own horses with several events. At the Jan. 17 general membership meeting, which was open to the public, we hosted Bryan Hughes, herpetologist/photographer/field researcher as well as owner/operator of Rattlesnake Solutions. In February Patti Fenner and Don Pike from the Friends of the Tonto National Forest will be presenting on Wednesday the 21st about invasive vegetation and their hidden dangers in our Sonoran Desert. Then on March 21 we will be hearing from Apache Junction Parks & Recreation Director Liz Langenbach and Parks Superintendent Nick Blake on the history and up-to-date status of the Apache Junction Multi-Use Trail. All meetings are held at the Boys and Girls Club in Apache Junction and start at 7 pm. We will also host our annual obstacle course challenge on the third Saturday in March. SHA will continue to look after the rights of the horse and the rider. We will always maintain a positive atmosphere with our city leaders and help promote favorable legislation to this end.

Editor’s note: Darryl Cross is the chairman of the Superstition Horsemen’s Association.

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