I was picking cherries a few weeks ago, in an orchard near me. It was very early morning, and no other customers had arrived. I was enjoying the still coolness, and a few cherries, when I heard a familiar sound.
Two riders and three horses came down the lane at a fast working trot. I only caught a few words of their conversation as they passed, but knew they were enjoying the exercise. In a few seconds the hoof beats had faded, and they were out of sight around the bend.
I realized that generations of riders and generations of cherry pickers were going to enjoy this orchard. The owner had recently preserved the land with a permanent deeded easement. Not a tax abatement or fallow field program, but permanent preservation. Forever. Developers would not be subdividing this farm for residences.
For equestrians, the concept of permanent land preservation is important. Trail riders, fox hunters, and thoroughbred breeding farms all require large tracts of undeveloped land for equestrian pursuits. The average three-day eventing course may take more than three hundred contiguous acres to stage. The farming of hay and grains requires undeveloped land.
If you are not familiar with farmland and open space preservation, take a few minutes to look up the options in your area. Most states have agricultural preservation programs. Private non-profit organizations offer a different route. In either case, it takes money, volunteer time, and dedicated owners to preserve the land for future generations. If you ride on, purchase hay from, or stable your horse on land other than your own, this issue is important to you.