Southlake abandons equestrian trail used by local riding school

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Doreen Bruton recalls riding her horse past her neighbor’s home just south of State Highway 114 when Southlake was still country.

Bruton, an avid rider and owner of Southlake’s Ride with Pride equestrian riding school, is opposed to the City’s recent decision to abandon a .26-acre equestrian easement/trail in the Fox Hollow neighborhood.

“I put my heart and soul into my program and riding, and I just thought the city would help us,” she said.

In 1996, the developers of the Fox Hollow neighborhood made an agreement with the city to create an equestrian trail. The city agreed to maintain the trail as long as the trail was accessible to riders.

If the trail became inaccessible, the agreement stated the City could formally abandon the agreement and the property would revert to the property owners.

The only access to the trail was through the property of Countryside Bible Church.

Burton said the church, however, decided to prohibit horseback riding and horse trailers on its property in 2008.

Under terms of the contract, Council members voted to abandon the trail.

“I think that’s pretty clear,” said Mayor John Terrell. “The city is in a specific legal position.”

Council members Carolyn Morris and Laura Hill voted against the move.

“If this is Southlake park land that has been purchased then we need to do something to get access to it,” Morris said.

Ira Tiffenberg’s backyard backs into the trail. Tiffenberg said when he purchased the land, he was told the land behind his property would become his if the trail could not be used.

“There’s progress and those things change. We have trees through our backyard, and we want to take advantage and use that property,” he said. “If horses are still allowed, I would understand that. But this has gone on for four years where there’s no access.”

Tiffenberg said he plans to expand his backyard and plant a vegetable garden.

Ride with Pride instructor Kim Panther said the school will continue to use the facility’s arena for riding, but she is disappointed that the trail is gone.

“There’s something very special about taking that same horse in an area and then in a trail,” she said. “It just breaks my heart to have to look in the eyes of one my favorite students. I have to tell them ‘no’ because of reasons out of my control.”

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770

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