Welcome to the FETA Website

Do you have a great photo taken on FETA Trails? Send it to webmaster and it might be chosen to replace the photo above. The current photo was emailed in by Johnny Rogers who rides Chloe, his 23 year old Arabian mare.

The Foothills Equestrian Trails Association is dedicated to preserving the historic equestrian trail system in and around Hunting Country in Polk County.

REMINDERS FOR MEMBERS:

Don't forget to call the new Trail Status number before each and every ride: 828 859 0133

The 2020-21 application has been emailed to you and is also available for download on the

Membership page of this website.

The recent storms toppled hundreds of trees on FETA Trails. The volunteer clearing effort has been amazing! Large sections of the trails have been cleared but please turn back if you encounter a blocked trail and be sure to let us know the location of remaining problems. Above is just one before and after.

We have recently had several incidents with dogs scaring horses on the trails. This is an occasional issue, and while unfortunate, it is only one of many trail riding hazards that go with the territory.

Please understand:

    • The trails that we ride on do not belong to FETA and our Members do not have the exclusive right to use them.

    • The trails are on private property, owned by people kind enough to allow us to ride on their private property. Landowners can do anything else with the trails that they want, including allowing their animals to roam freely. Many Landowners kindly share their property for multi-use recreation, including FENCE, where many dogs run free, and kites and frisbee golf discs fly past.

    • We all ride at our own risk. No one else is legally responsible for our safety. Trail riding is intrinsically one of the most dangerous sports. Both horse and rider need to be trained and prepared for the risks of riding in an uncontrolled, natural environment.

    • Every Member acknowledges the risks inherent in trail riding by signing the Release Agreement as a condition of being allowed to ride on private property. This Agreement explicitly warns that many scary and dangerous things can be expected on the trails. DO NOT accost or complain to Landowners about dogs, kids, guests, bicycles, tractors, exotic pets or anything else. That can and does result in loss of trail access for all Members.

    • If you did not understand that you ride at your own risk and are unwilling to accept that condition of use, please let us know that you wish to relinquish your Membership. We will provide a pro-rata refund of your Membership dues.

New: An important update on FETA Trails and the Corona virus pandemic.

What a difference a few weeks make! Here we are in the midst of a pandemic. Social distancing is the new normal. Your FETA board conducted business via email in March. Now we are monitoring legislation to keep our riding members in compliance while still providing access to the trails.

As you know, the situation with the Coronavirus is evolving daily. The NC governor has just issued a “Stay at Home” executive order for the state effective Monday, March 30. Outdoor activities are allowed, but participants must comply with the social distancing and mass gathering requirements. Individuals must maintain at least six feet between them and no more than 10 people may be in a single space.

In response to this order, we ask that FETA members adhere to the following:

  • The rules currently specify no more than six riders in a group. While under the executive order, GROUPS WILL BE LIMITED TO FOUR RIDERS.

  • Riders are currently allowed to host guests on the trails. While under the executive order, NO OUT OF AREA GUESTS ARE ALLOWED ON THE TRAILS. We need to be sensitive to our Landowners and limit trail access to local riders. (Grandfathered out of area members may continue to ride.)

  • Social distancing is required on the trail. KEEP SIX FEET BETWEEN RIDERS.

  • Social distancing is required in the parking lots. KEEP SIX FEET BETWEEN PEOPLE while unloading, tacking up and re-loading.

  • We do not want the parking lots to be mistaken for a “mass gathering” area:

  • Park well away from other vehicles and trailers. Twelve feet between rigs is suggested.

  • Do not congregate in the parking areas before or after a ride.

  • Do not share a ride in a tow vehicle with a non-family member. If you trailer with another person, drive a separate vehicle to the meeting point to maintain social distance.

  • Ride well within your ability. Now is not the time to take out horses new to the trails, that have behavior issues, etc. We do not want you hurt and putting unnecessary strain on our emergency workers.

  • Please do not ride if you are feeling ill in any way.

We want to keep the trails open during this period of restricted activity. But we need to demonstrate social responsibility so that we CAN keep riding. Help us by adhering to the social distancing rules and suggestions we have outlined.

New: Deer hunting season in Polk County is about to begin.

Many of our large landowners give specific hunters permission to thin their deer population. The owner of Chinquapin Farm (located behind the FENCE showgrounds) has asked that ALL riders wear blaze orange during hunting season to keep them visible. It is highly recommended that riders wear blaze orange on all the FETA trails during deer season.

Deer Season 2020

Archery: Sept. 12 – Nov. 6, 2020

Blackpowder: Nov. 7 – Nov. 20, 2020

Gun: Nov. 21, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021

When riding at FENCE

remember that jumps, arenas and the steeplechase track are for use by reservation with FENCE management only.

We would like to encourage FETA members to put their cell phone numbers on saddle tags. Recently a horse was caught after being separated from it's rider and we realized how much easier it is to check on the rider and to reunite horse and rider if the rider's cell number is secured to the horse.

Report any trail problems promptly so that we can schedule the work to be done. Turn around time depends on something getting reported, scheduled, and prioritized. Even if you think someone else must have reported it go ahead and report, multiple reports are always better than no reports. Give the trail name if known, if you are not sure describe the location. Indicate if the trail is blocked or if you can ride through. (Remember, you can't leave a trail to go around something, it violates your membership rules.) Describe the problem. Is it a tree (how big around), washout, overhanging limbs, etc.? Give the date and approximate time you found the obstruction, so we can determine if we cleared it before your report came in. Report problems by emailing the Trailmaster (click on the word Trailmaster which will open your email, otherwise, a right click will allow you to copy the email addresses).

If you or anyone you know is offering a residence for rent in the area please keep in mind that FETA trails are not public and they are for members only. A renter would need to be in residence for a full 30 days, pay the full year's membership, and sign all membership documents in order to use the trails. We would hate for anyone to be misled and think that renting in the area entitles them to FETA trail use.

We no longer have a FAX line for sending in Guest Releases. Please put Guest Releases in the mailboxes at FENCE and Peniel Road or email them to membership chair (you can take a picture with your smartphone and email).

For a list of parking areas please see the FAQ page; click on the document link at the bottom of the page.

If you have trouble with email links on this site you can right click and copy the email address and then paste it into your email.

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