By MARION VARGAS May 11, 2021
Over the last 50 years, I have boarded horses and ridden Bakersfield's equestrian trails along the scenic Kern River. I sometimes think of it as exercising my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I enjoy being in nature, on my horse, observing the native plants, and being thrilled by numerous sightings of wildlife. Riding solo or in the company of others, you can tell if you are the first to break trail in the morning when you ride through a spider web that has been spun from tree to tree across a trail.
Local horse trails were established long ago. They are part of the rich history of our community. With the development of the Specific Trails Plan, part of the city and county General Plans, the right of trails was affirmed and delineated. The designated horse trails, primarily on dirt, are mostly separated from paved bike trails and motorized traffic is not allowed.
Safety was a consideration. Horses are large and powerful, but they are prey animals and naturally will react with great force to escape perceived danger, especially a sudden and unfamiliar one such as an unexpected e-bike rapidly traveling along the horse trail. These motorized bikes can cause horses to spook, rear, buck or bolt, throwing the rider to the ground, causing serious injuries...