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Bethany Horsemen Rules of Riding


These rules apply when riding on Bethany Horsemen mapped trails. The trail system encompasses both private landowner properties and the Regional Water Authority (RWA) tract surrounding Lake Chamberlain. Every member is personally bound to ride safely and safeguard the property on which membership allows them to ride. Every member shall conduct themselves on horseback according to the Rules of Riding as well as the Bylaws of the organization. Additional RWA Rules are listed on the back of the trail map given to members with their annual tag.


No commercial activity is allowed on Bethany Horsemen mapped trails by any individual in his capacity as a member.  This means there shall be no lessons conducted on the trails, no charging for the use of a horse to take out on the trail, no using guest privileges and charging the guest, or similar activities or uses.


Identification permits given to members (numbered colored cattle tags) are non-transferable. Every member must sign a liability waiver before using the trails. Tags are assigned to the rider, not the horse, and may not be transferred or loaned. Loss of a tag must be reported to a Board member, and a new one must be issued before riding may resume. There are no tags for horses, barns, saddles, or other personal property or places.  A member who misuses his or her tag and lends it to someone else may lose riding privileges.  Bethany Horsemen issued tags must be clearly visible on members and guests, and you must be willing to present it and identify yourself to authorized persons.


Guests Adult Members may add Guest Permits to their membership. Members must accompany their guests and are responsible for their actions. A guest must sign a liability waiver and only ride with the member that Guest Permit is assigned to.


Legal Waivers must be signed by all members and all guests. Minors, called Junior Members, are considered to be under the age 18. Their waiver must be signed with a parent or guardian. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the riding conduct of minros.


Protection of Trails

  • Mud Season - Obey the Mud Season Moratorium on riding on Bethany Horsemen properties between March l and April 15 (unless there is a specific written change of dates).

  • Erosion & Downed Trees - If a trail is deeply worn, please ride alongside it.  Do not ride when the weather makes trails very muddy and subject to erosion. If there are trees blocking a trail, please report the situation to either a Board member or to our Trail Chairman. You may also post these types of issues on our Facebook page. 

  • Dangers - Correct or mark dangerous trail conditions (holes, glass, washouts, etc.) if possible to do so safely Otherwise, please report your finding to a Board member or post on our Facebook page.

  • Smoking – Positively no smoking on any private lands. 

  • Fields - Always ride around the outside edge of a field. Never cross through the center.

  • Fences and gates -  Do not cut or break any fences. Do not open any gates unless specifically permitted. Close permitted gates securely.

  • Trail blazing -  You may ride only on trails shown on the current trails map. Trail blazing and riding on trails not shown on the map is not permitted.  Please do not make shortcuts.

  • Trash - Do not discard any kind of trash anywhere. If convenient, remove any trash you discover as you ride.


Riding Etiquette and Safety

  • Courtesy & Passing -  Pass other riders, pedestrians and fishermen at a walk and maintain a walk until well away. Groups of riders should pass each other riding single file.

  • Dismounts - Avoid dismounting on RWA trails except as necessary to correct or mark danger, to open or close gates, to remove manure or trash, or if necessary for safety.

  • Safety - Put safety first at all times and ride according to the rules set forth here.

  • Helmets -  All riders under the age of 18 must wear ASTM –SEI certified helmets while mounted.  The Bethany Horsemen recommends that all riders wear helmets.



  • Groups - Organized group rides of ten or more riders may apply in writing for a special permit from an officer of the Bethany Horsemen at least 45 days in advance.

  • Trespassers - Report trespassers, obstructions or trail problems to an officer of the Bethany Horsemen. We do not recommend that you confront trespassers yourself. Simply report the incident after your ride.

  • Dam/Swimming  - Positively no riding or walking your horse across the dam at the south end of Lake Chamberlain or on its back slope. Absolutely no swimming is allowed in Lake Chamberlain.

  • Dogs - No dogs are allowed to accompany riders on the RWA trails.

  • Water's edge - Please do not take your horse down to the water's edge to drink. The Boat Ramp on the east side of the lake is strictly off limits. 

  • Walking - Walkers who do not have RWA Hiking Permits are not allowed to accompany horses on RWA trails. Bethany Horsemen membership benefits and privileges apply only to mounted members.


No horses allowed on Boat Ramp

Causeway. Please remove manure

The road that goes across the dam is off limits to horses.

Because Lake Chamberlain is part of the water supply for New Haven County, there are certain areas that are strictly off limits to horses due to their proximity to the water. In addition, the RWA has their own set of rules such as no dogs allowed on the lake road, no smoking or hunting on RWA lands, etc. There are daily patrols conducted by the RWA to ensure that recreation users are in compliance. The Bethany Horsemen have also served as a monitoring group since the 1960's to assist in keeping this beautiful area open to equestrians. 

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