Summer Rides and Summer Tunes: trail riding on public land

Happy Friday!

Do any of you plan on trail riding this weekend?

To follow-up with yesterday's post, if you trail ride on public land, California has a rule that applies to you!

It applies to you because the statute says (find full text here of CA Gov Code §831.7)

"'Hazardous recreational activity' also means:
(3) Animal riding, including equestrian competition"
The law makes it clear that if you are engaging in hazardous recreational activities on public land, like a national or state park, then the public entity or employee is not liable to you (or spectators of the activity) for damages to you or your property (that includes your horse) arising from the activity.

Of course, there are also a number of exceptions:
1. If the public entity/employee does not warn participants of known dangerous conditions on the property (like an open well or mine)
2. A specific fee is charged to do the activity on public land (this is different than a mere park admission fee)
3. The public entity is negligent in maintaining the property in good repair (you tie your horse up to provided hitching posts that have negligently not been kept in good repair, your horse pulls back, and the hitching post knocks you into a coma; the negligently maintained property must result in injury related to the hazardous activity)
4. Gross negligence or reckless behavior on the part of the public entity

So if you are injured on public land while trail riding, in order to recover you must meet one of the exceptions.  If you are a public employee defending against a lawsuit, you would argue that the injury to the horse or rider does not fit an exception.  My hope is that the conflict never arises, and we all have safe rides!

Hope this music video sends you happily off into a summer weekend of riding!
(Video found from my friend's blog, Pearls of Caviar, a blog about wine and fine food!)