All rights reserved, 2015 © Brighton Trail Riders Association.
Early in 1997, several trail riding enthusiasts who regularly rode in the Brighton Recreation Area embarked on a project to form an organization dedicated to maintaining and improving its equestrian facilities. They were aware of similar organizations which served other state recreation areas and were convinced that Brighton could benefit from the stewardship of a grass-roots group dedicated to those ideals.
On February 4th of that year, they met with officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who endorsed the formation of such a group. This was followed by an informational meeting on February 24th with 36 riding enthusiasts and a representative from the DNR in attendance. All of those at the meeting enthusiastically agreed that such an organization should be created, and seed money was collected to fund its early activities. Sixteen people signed on as board members and pledged to devote themselves to make the new organization a reality.
On March 19th, 1997, The Brighton Trail Riders Association was officially formed at an organizational meeting held at the Brighton Riding Stable, with 27 people signing on as founding members. Several of the members volunteered to assume leadership roles and officers were named. One of these new leaders, an attorney, also volunteered to undertake incorporation proceedings and begin drafting by-laws. The Mission of the Brighton Trail Riders Association (BTRA) was also established: Preserve, protect and improve the horse staging area, horseman’s campground and equestrian trials of the Brighton Recreation Area.
A number of activities were soon underway, especially service work. Three work bees were held during the first season, and a tradition of trail maintenance and improvement work was born. The publication of a newsletter, The Hoofbeats Gazette, began. The first organized ride took place, with the aim of familiarizing more equestrians with the recreation area. Recognizing that the organization would need a funding source, membership dues were set. BTRA was established as a not-for-profit corporation, and the by-laws were adopted.
The Brighton Trail Riders Association is now in its second decade, and a number of our founding members are still with us today. We are grateful to them for their inspiration and guidance. Our organization has not only remained true to its founding principles but has significantly expanded its vision and scope of activities. Although our members have one thing in common – a love of horses and trail riding – we have also become more diversified. We now include in our membership the young and not-so-young, and riders with a range of skill levels and experience. Some of us limit our riding to Brighton and perhaps nearby areas, and others trailer our horses all around Michigan and to many other states. We continue to engage in trail maintenance and improvement activities and we collaborate closely with the Department of Natural Resources staff at Brighton on all matters pertaining to the equestrian facilities. Our projects over the years have transformed the trails, staging area, and campground into one of the best-maintained public equestrian resources in the State. We host organized rides and events during the season, often accompanied by cook-outs, and camp-overs. We also offer social activities during the colder months, highlighted by our annual Christmas party followed by the general membership meeting in the spring. We continue to publish The Hoofbeats Gazette, in which our members are offered free advertising, and they receive announcements and timely information through group e-mails, Facebook, and our website. We publish a monthly column in Saddle Up! Magazine, we believe in networking and maintaining contact with other trail riding organizations, and we take an active interest in Michigan’s wider equestrian community.
We take pride in our organization, and invite you to join us in enjoying – from horseback, of course – all that the equestrian facilities at the Brighton Recreation Area have to offer.
President: Mark Delaney
Vice President: Peter Andrews
Treasurer: Agnes Wallace
Secretary: Penny Wilson
Member-at-Large: Patricia Blossom Sue Charleville
Marsha Jones Mary Pisko
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