The Riding Club of Barrington Hills is a charter member of the Equestrian Coalition of McHenry County (ECMC), founded in 2013. Other ECMC organizations include McHenry County Horse Club, Bull Valley Riding Club and the Spring Grove Horse Shows Association. Member organizations do not pay annual dues to belong to ECMC, but instead commit time and volunteer efforts to advance mutually beneficial projects, such as creating more trail riding opportunities in McHenry County. ECMC meets as many times a year as needed to reach our goals. The RCBH delegates to ECMC include Elaine Ramesh (Chair), Mary Beth Holsteen, Karen Selman and Patty Meroni.
Our main objective has been to increase the number of trails open to horseback riding on McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD) property. Our most ambitious and successful project to date has been to open a new system of trails and an associated horse trailer parking lot at the MCCD Brookdale site in Woodstock. Advocacy efforts began in 2012, and to date 4.5 miles of trails have been made available, and a temporary horse trailer parking lot has been created. Prior to ECMC’s efforts, only 15 miles of trails were available and accessible for trailering in to ride in McHenry County, so this project represents a remarkable 25% increase in our ability to ride.
Thanks to ECMC’s fundraising and grant-writing, the costs for construction of a dedicated horse trailer parking lot have been obtained. Our project marks the first time that any McHenry County user group has requested a county recreational amenity and then followed through with providing the funding for that amenity; placing no additional burdens on taxpayers or the constrained MCCD budget. Construction of the permanent horse trailer parking lot is slated to begin next May; and a grand opening for the new horse trailer parking lot is anticipated to be held in October of 2018.
The new trails and temporary parking lot are less than an hour’s drive from Barrington Hills, so if you haven’t already been there, ECMC would like to encourage you to go there & ride this beautiful location. During the construction phase next summer, an alternative parking location will be made available for our use.
Even though this project is well under way, ECMC continues to advocate to expand trail access at the Brookdale site, for a more comprehensive riding experience. We are currently working to secure an additional 1 mile trail loop to add on to the existing trails, and so ECMC hopes to bring even more good news and positive McHenry County developments to the members of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills in the future.