STA Summer Social 2015

What a smashing event!! The summer social at Jud and Jennette’s was a really great time for all of us who attended and I believe there was at least 25 to 30 people that showed up. Thanks to Linda who went out of her way to call as many people as she could think of to encourage them to come. And it was really great seeing all our members and ex-members from many years back all gathered up again in one spot.
The swimming pool was really refreshing and so nice on a hot day. I spent most of my time there just wallowing and talking to various members I haven’t seen in a long time. Jud and Jennette’s home is delightful. I was there about seven years ago at a similar social. On my way to the ladies room I was taking in their recent renovations of the sun room off their bedroom and the revised accommodations in the bathroom. Everywhere there were touches of our equine friends. Jennette has done a great job of inserting their love of horses and dogs into their home. I was surprised the toilet paper didn’t have horses printed on it!!

Ron and Jud furnished us with some really delicious thick and juicy hamburgers and hot dogs that were expertly cooked by Bob. The covered dishes supplied by members rounded off the gathering with beans, salads, and desserts. Everything was sumptuous.

This was such a nice thing for Jud and Jennette to do for the club and we all appreciate it so much. I talked with Sue and we figured the club was about 25 years old. Only about 5 original members are still actively riding and participating. Hopefully we can pull in some new members and draw back a few of the ex-members to join us. Events like this help.

I would like to list everyone who was there but I would leave someone out and I don’t want to hurt any ones feelings. But it was sure nice having all those who showed up. Thanks again.

— Roving Reporter

STA T-Shirts are back!

Many sizes and colors to choose from.  Contact Bob Bardes – email or call  850-339-0448.

Is a Trail Rider Required to Carry Your Coggins?

By: H.D. Haughton, JD June 1, 2015

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (the “Department”) has been given the authority and responsibility by the Florida Legislature to control and eradicate Equine Infectious Anemia (“EIA”). The Department was required to formulate a program and promulgate all rules necessary for the successful implementation and administration of a comprehensive program for the control and eradication of EIA. The Department has adopted Rule 5C-18.010 (the “Rule”) which, among other things, requires owners of horses which are congregated at public or private assemblies to have in their possession a report of a negative EIA test conducted within the previous 12 months.

This report is commonly known as a Coggins Report or evidenced by a Coggins Certificate. Locations of such assemblies named in the Rule include: boarding stables and pastures, shows, exhibitions, fairs, rodeos, racetracks, trail rides and any other public or private assemblies. (While the word “assembly” is not defined in the Rule an acceptable dictionary definition would be; a meeting, congregation, get-together or gathering.) While these named “assemblies” would certainly apply to persons gathering at a trail head to commence a trail ride, they do not appear to include persons when actually participating on the trail ride.

Therefore a group of Southern Trailriders Association (“STA”) members collecting at a trailhead and preparing for a trail ride are suseptible to being asked by a state, federal or local law enforcement officer to produce a valid and current copy of a Coggins test for the horse(s) in their possession.

While the Department doesn’t have a Rule requiring a trail rider to have in his or her possession a Coggins Certificate when actually on the trail ride, other Florida Agencies do have such a requirement. The Agency which covers the major public lands on which STA members are likely to trail ride is the Florida Forest Service, which is a Division of the Department. This agency’s Rule 5I-4.003(14) states that “no person shall stage, ride or lead any horse on managed lands except on a designated trail or at a designated trailhead or designated access points.” Further that, “No person shall bring any horse onto managed lands without having in their possession a record of a current negative Coggins test for Equine Infectious Anemia as required by Rule 5C-18.010, F.A.C.”

This Rule is interpeted by Florida Forest Service law enforcement officers to require equestrians trail riding on Forest Service managed properties to have a Coggins Certificate in their possession at all times.

Many of the places Southern Trailriders conduct their trail rides are located on lands managed by the Forest Service including the Twin Rivers State Forest located next to McCulley Farms, the Wakulla State Forest and the Lake Talquin State Forest including the following Tracts: Bear Creek Tract, Joe Budd Tract (WMA), Fort Braden Tract, and the Rocky Comfort Tract, and therefore you must have a Coggins Certificate with you when riding in any of them. There is the following possible penalty for not doing so: “Any person violating or otherwise failing to comply with any of the provisions of Sections 589.011(4) or 589.071, F.S., or rules adopted pursuant to Section 589.011(4), F.S., is guilty of a non-criminal violation as defined in Section 775.08(3), F.S., punishable only by a fine not to exceed $500.00.

This is a link to all of the 37 state forests the Forest Service manages, and in which this Rule and the requirement to have a copy of your Coggins Certificate with you will apply.

In addition to the Florida Forest Service, three of the Florida Water Management Districts require a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering District property and when out on a trail ride. They are the South Florida Water Management District, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Finally, the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails has also adopted a Rule requiring a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering the properties managed by the Office and when out on a trail ride. Persons found in violation of this Rule can be fined $250.

There may be other agencies, departments or divisions in Florida which have a Rule with the same or similar requirements Therefore, it seems to be a prudent practice for STA members to make sure they have a copy of their Coggins with them both when assembling for a trail ride and when actually out on the trail.

Recent truck and trailer break-ins at Rivers Road Trailhead

Be aware that there have been several truck and trailer break-ins and thefts at the trailer parking area at the Rivers Road trailhead. As always, is recommended that you carry on your person your photo ID, insurance card, a credit card, emergency contact info and cellphone – don’t clip this stuff to your saddle!   If possible do NOT leave anything of value in your truck or trailer. Also don’t forget to carry a copy of your horse’s Coggins with you.