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Keeping horses in your community

HT: Dale, how does a “horse community” build?

DALE: Well, let me start by saying that like a lot of us in the horse world, we have kind of an individualistic, cowboy atitude. We want to go off and do things by ourselves. I had trouble at the ranch one time with the coun- ty, and I went and tried to work by myself and get stuff done — but I wasn’t geting it done. It wasn’t until later aſter I had I kept fighting and fighting that I met some folks who had similar problems. We all kind of put our heads together, and that’s when I started moving mountains, with other folks around me — other horse people around me. So, nowadays, I’m encouraging everyone to work together. I’ve been very fortunate for the last 10

years to be part of the Los Angeles Equine Advisory Commitee Early on, Griffith Park and the City of L.A. were having all these new bike lanes and bike rules. Suddenly, the bike riders wanted to invade Griffith Park as a shortcut to go from Burbank into the city. I was invited by Lynn Brown and Mary Benson, and the next thing I know we were siting in a board meeting in downtown L.A. with the Sierra Club and other members. I kinda real- ized it was a big deal. We were listening to these bikers talk

about why they need to be there and why they need to get to do this or that, and Lynn and Mary were like, “We’ll yeah, but you’re sharing the trail with horses!” Thay all were having this conversation, and I looked at one of the bike guys and asked, “how fast does your bike go?” He said, “I dunno, maybe 10-12 miles an hour.” So, I said if you’re coming down the hill at 12 miles an hour and you run

Whether as chairman of the “Ride for the Cure”, President of the L.A. Equine Advisory Committee, or leader in his Foothill Trails District, Dale Gibson has “gotten it done” — but he’ll tell you the key is working together.

into a horse walking up at four or five miles an hour, it’s going to be a prety good wreck, isn’t it? The guy kind of stopped and looked at me, and Lynn looked at me, and I think I impressed her. She let me stay at the table. But by bringing my different background,

and the Sierra Club and Lynn and everyone, we made an impact — and we kept them out. It wasn’t one person’s voice. It was a group of us. And from that, I got to be invited to more and more groups. And, as I went along, I kind of realized — and I know it sounds kind of trite — it really does take a community.

HT: And the horse community, as we have experienced, has always been a very tight community — and very small.

DALE: It is a tight community and it is small, and it’s a family — but there is a lot of in-fighting with family. That’s one of the first things I learned about it. Growing up in

Kentucky, I started showing Quarter Horses as a kid and I rode hunters and jumpers. Where I come from, you have a horse and I have a horse, let’s all kind of stick together. I found out out here that they may have jump- ers, or they may be trail riders, or you rodeo, and I do dressage — and I was like, but folks, we all have horses. So when we have our Equine Advisory Commitee meetings, we have meetings with 100 or 200 people, and I’m like, “folks, we’re here for the same thing.” Let’s keep a tram out of Griffith Park, or let’s help with a zoning issue so big zoners arent coming and pushing your horses out of the way. And, suddenly, I think we’ve started to make a difference. We had an animal control in the City of L.A. who wanted to end rodeo in Los Angeles.

HT: The impact of that — there are so many good things about the rodeo industry. There

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