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A day for horse lovers

They'll meet today - without horses - for an Equine Town Meeting and Picnic.

By SANDEE DAVIES, Times Staff Writer
Published October 14, 2007


PINELLAS PARK- In a county where wide-open space is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, it's difficult to find a hospitable place for horses. Pinellas Park is an exception.

"Pinellas Park is a little town that is really going out of its way to help the horse owners," said Sharon Goldston, chairwoman of the Pinellas Park Equestrian Board. With 570 horses in the city and many more within blocks of the city limits, it often becomes a challenge for horses and people to co-exist.

The sixth annual Equine Town Meeting and Picnic will be held this afternoon in Helen Howarth Park. The park, and the connected Tingler Nature Park, are two of the very few designated horseback riding areas in Pinellas County.

Activities for the day include a parade of breeds, pony rides and representatives from the county supplying information on hurricane preparedness for animals and free emergency/disaster identification bands that can be adjusted for all size animals.

It's also a great opportunity to get acquainted with the Pinellas Park Posse, an all volunteer mounted policing unit that will perform demonstrations. The Posse was formed in 2004 to assist in some of the patrolling duties of the police department.

To join the unit, riders must complete the Citizens Police Academy. Riders and horses then go through police horse training. The horse course is designed to ensure the horses will remain calm under all circumstances.

Their primary responsibility is to patrol the horse trail system for criminal activity and unsafe conditions, to assist in community education of equestrian safety and horseback activities, assist in crowd control at public events and to assist in organized search parties. The Posse recently started patrolling the Shoppes at Park Place on Friday nights to monitor the crowds.

If you go

Riders welcome

What: Equine Town Meeting and Picnic

Where: Helen Howarth Park riding arena, 6301 94th Ave., Pinellas Park.

When: 1-4 p.m. today

Call 545-9727 or 546-7673

Details: Refreshments will be available to purchase or you can bring along a picnic basket. Please leave your equine and canine friends at home.

Cost: Free.

[Last modified October 13, 2007, 21:43:50]

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