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FIRE AND EMERGENCY HORSE HAVENS (Temporary accommodation for horses) - Jan 2014




Changes to Horse Identification regulations- microchipping instead of branding - Dec 13

"Rails to Trails" - BUSSELTON TO MARGARET RIVER - April 1013


September 09

Ongoing - June 09

HORSE, LAND, WATER - sustainable horsekeeping and pasture management field days and workshops.
Started Oct 2008 - completed June 2009.


TAKING THE REINS- The Western Australian
Recreational Horse Trail Strategy
October 2015

Taking the Reins is the first state wide strategy for horse trail access in Western Australia.Its aim is to ensure that Western Australia takes advantage of the opportunities and benefits that horse trail riding presents, whilst at the same time addressing existing
This Strategy has been developed to provide clear guidance and structure for decision makers, land managers, trails planners and the horse trail community. It is a coordinated, structured approach to horse trail access, development and management, driven by an overarching vision.
The Western Australian Horse Trail Strategy sits under the WA State Trails Strategy 20092015 as an activity specific strategy, as identified in the State Trails Implementation Plan.

The information in this document is intended only for discussion purposes. It is not a statement of any policy or intention of any of the organisations mentioned in this document. It is not a legal opinion. It may contain factual errors.
It may omit relevant information. Any and all liability for any loss or damage arising from any reliance upon any information in this document is disclaimed. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice to confirm the information in this document.
The Strategy has been prepared for ATHRA by PX2 Pty Ltd for the purpose of developing a framework for planning and managing recreational horse trail riding in Western Australia. This report must not be used for any other purpose nor by any other party other than where intellectual property is owned under contract.

Project Steering Committee
Anna Sheehan Australian Trail Horse Riders Association (Chair)
Kristi Holloway Australian Trail Horse Riders Association
Diane Bennett WA Horse Council
Janet Cameron WA Horse Council
Steve Bennett Department of Sport and Recreation
Stuart Harrison Department of Parks and Wildlife
Sue Smith Equestrian Western Australia
Julie Fiedler Horse SA
Jane Bennett Warren Horsemans
Anne Mitchell Donnybrook Horseman’s Club
Photo Acknowledgements
Photos in this document are courtesy of ATHRA clubs and committee members.

Recreational - the activity is generally unstructured? undertaken by individuals or informal groups? is undertaken for enjoyment and is not undertaken as part of an organised competitive event. A trail can be a corridor, route or pathway with strong
linkages with the natural environment, open space networks and cultural heritage. Land based trails typically have a trail corridor that is distinguishable from the surrounding landscape. There is normally a visible trail surface, pathway or series of signs, trail markers or

Horse trail - is either specifically designated for horse riding or is multi-use and does not preclude horse riding.
The Rider Survey undertaken as part of this strategy identified that horse riders used the following for recreational riding:
? firebreaks
? road verges
? designated horse trails
? bridle trails
? rail trails
? old stock routes
? gazetted gravel roads
? multi-use trails
? beaches

Horse riding - this term will be used throughout the document but should be read as horse riding and horse driving to denote the riding of a horse and/or the driving of a horse carriage or horse led vehicle. WA Horse Council - the peak body representing the non racing horse industry in WA.

ATHRA - an association of trail riding clubs, providing governance, policies, insurance andresources support to clubs. ATHRA is a member of the WA Horse Council representing recreational trail riding.

Click to download the pdf ( 1.3 mg )


The WA Equine Emergency (Facebook page) is combining with the Western Australian Horse Council to provide up to date details on offers of TEMPORARY assistance for the Horse Community who have to leave their properties due to fire, flood or other disasters. If you are in a position to assist, please fill in the TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FORM form and email to simonandrenee@iinet.net.au.

Apart from private properties, sale yards, showgrounds, race/trotting tracks, equestrian area’s etc would be suitable. It will be made very clear that ‘these venues may not be available at certain times’. Venues will only be published by area and phone numbers, however please provide your name and address, which will not be for publication.

Temporary assistance FORM...for those wishing to offer TEMPORARY accommodation for horses/owners in the event of a disaster from floods, fires, etc (Download form) 209 kb PDF Dec 2013

Emergency Horse havens (Evacuation Centres and private properties) WA has been ravaged by bushfires in the past and there is always the concern for horse owners to find temporary accommodation for horses during this emergency period. Horse owners around the state have listed their properties as temporary refuges for those who need to evacuate their horses from these fire or flood areas.
View on Line
Download .pdf (49kb)

Horses and Bushfire Survival Notes- Jan 2014
Department of Fire and Emergency

FireAlert: Keeping Your Horse Safe in a Fire: Dr John Kohnke (download PDF 600 kb)

ollowing the huge success of the Free Field Days organized by the Western Australian Horse Council over the last five years, many requests have been received for Field Days to be held outside the metropolitan area. Perth Region NRM has agreed to fund two in country areas.
These Free Field Days feature a number of expert speakers who will cover topics which will include:
• improving pasture production
• best types of perennials and clovers for your area
• weed control
• correct use of fertilizer
• preventing pollution of watercourses
• the best types of trees for shelter etc

The Council is seeking suitable venues for these two (separate) days. Requirements are:
• a covered area with a power point
• trestle tables and chairs
• some paddocks or grassed areas.
If necessary, refreshments and lunch can be provided by Perth Region NRM and the Council, however it would be preferable if these could also be provided. Pony Club grounds, equestrian venues, showgrounds, horse studs or properties etc are suitable.
The Field Days need to be held before the end of June, and weekends are suggested.
To apply or for more information contact Chair of the WA Horse Council Diane Bennit 9293 3577 or bennit@iinet.net.au

CHANGES TO HORSE IDENTIFICATION REGULATIONS- microchipping instead of branding
Summary of changes to horse identification options
As the legal regulations in WA currently state:

As a result of discussions with members of the recreational horse industry, the Registrar of Stock and Apiaries has successfully negotiated with the five national animal microchip databases to ensure that enough detail can be stored to satisfy the regulations and to have access should we need it for disease traceability.
This means that horses that do not belong to a breed society or equine association can now be microchipped instead of branded and still meet the identification requirements of the law.

Please note: the owner is to register; horses do not have to be registered. The single owner registration allows each person to own as many livestock animals as they want, including sheep, goats, cattle, horses, pigs, deer, alpacas, llamas, buffalo.

For more info contact the Department of Agriculture and Food www.agric.wa.gove.au

Download: Identification - horses factsheet 2013.pdf (94kb)
Dowbload: Approved identifiers Factsheet 2013 final (94kb)


The Augusta (Flinders Bay) to Busselton Railway line was used from the 1880’s to transport timber. This was also used for folk to get from settlement to settlement and tracks for carriages, walkers and horse riders were adjacent to the railway line.

I believe that M C Davies sold his portion of the railway line  to the Australian government in 1913 and it was extended to Busselton in 1925. The line was decommissioned in 1957 and was left to nature so to speak. (Unfortunately some families built homes and famers put in dams on the actual corridor). Farmers along the way also took a lot of the infrastructure down and claimed the land as their own pastoral property.

A video was done several years back, to advertising the fact that some of the railway corridor would be put to use as a multi purpose track ie walkers, cyclists and horse riders. (Shire members of both shires and Barry House our local MP also featured in this video.  Two Augusta Margaret River Shire workers actually rode their horses along part of the trail in the documentary along side walkers and cyclists).

The “Rails to Trails” venture did not move forward for a few years. Obviously it has come to the fore front again and this time horse riders have been subsequently taken out of the equation so to speak, with the exception of a twelve kilometer track which has now been allotted, depending on yet another survey.   The Leeuwin Horseriders Group are therefore requiring public support to get back the original plan for the track to be used as a multi purpose track.

Most parts of the corridor are between 60 and 100 meters in width.  We have contacted our local MP Barry House for support and as he stated he cannot see why the firebreak could not be used for a bridal path. This would mean that cyclists and walkers would have their own track. We obviously do not need a special surface as cyclists and walkers do. Most of the rail tracks in Victoria are mutli-purpose and that works exceptionally well.

If anyone has any suggestions in our plight or would like to email the Augusta Margaret River Shire dnicholson@amrshire.wa.gov.au in support of us or contact me personally.

Peeky Hall email peekyh@dodo.com.au 0409104212  or 97586740.

We need all the help we can get not only  for the riders now but for future generations, once a negative decision is made it will be very had to over ride.

Thanking  you in anticipation for your support
Leeuwin Horseriders Group


Horse property managers are recognising more and more the value of good environmental management. They are facing increasing scrutiny of their environmental management performance from regulatory government agencies, from external stakeholders, and from neighbours and industry peers. All would like to see horses kept in a sustainable manner with minimal adverse impact on the environment.

The WA Horse Industry Council and Perth Region NRM have developed an information hub containing best practices for horse property management along with links to hundreds of technical and locally relevant resources to support property planning and implementation. In addition to best practices for horse property management, there are sections on pasture establishment and management, soil management, weed and pest management, legal requirements, contacts, seasonal calendars, events and more. Check it out here .. http://sustainableagricultureperth.targeton.com/ or Google the words “Horse management perth”

September 09
The ongoing struggle by Town of Kwinana horse property owners over the introduction of a set of fees for the right to keep horses (not any other livestock) has not been resolved. An introduction fee Residents on both rural and special rural properties have received blunt letters advising that fees were due and unless paid all horses would be directed to be removed from the property.

“Failure to register an equine Premises each year constitutes an offence under the Local Law and is subject to penalties of us to $1000 with daily penalties of $100 per day.”

Despite a letter of ‘justification’ in which the Council points out that they have many other licences that attract fees - they have failed to clarify why any licence was necessary in the first place when it is not deemed necessary by other shires. If Kwinana residents have to be ‘protected’ from the health hazard of horses then the Council needs to fully explain exactly what health problems they create. The Governement spends many thousands each year encouraging people to exercise and ‘take 30’ to create a healthier lifestyle and reduce the state’s huge health costs but the Town of Kwinana’s actions and anti-horse attitude are actively discouraging horse ownership in their shire and the wonderful health and lifestyle benefits that are gained by being involved with horses.

Ongoing - June 09
A public meeting was held on Wednesday the 28th July by Town of Kwinana horse property owners. The meeting discussed Town Council discriminative and 'anti-horse' actions toward horses on rural and special rural properties within the municipality. Serious issues were seen as existing with the fairness, appropriateness, suitability, application and Town of Kwinana’s management of its “Health (Keeping of Animals and Equine Premises) Local Laws” , which were introduced in 1997 for purposes and under auspices of the Western Australia Health Act 1911.

The sombre mood of the meeting was clearly expressed and horse property owners said they were no longer prepared to accept the constant discrimination and aggravation. The council also received a resounding vote of no confidence from the attendees. The Town Council’s motives were seriously questioned as their actions might include an undisclosed strategy to force horse owners out of the Town precincts. The Kwinana Equine Action Group (a working group of the Western Australian Horse Council) has consistently questioned the legality, discriminatory practices, moral issues and unjustifiable fees for keeping horses. This is particularly so considering that Council originally offered that it had only received five complaints relating to horses since World War Two!. Furthermore, it had not identified whether or not the complaints had been substantiated in any way as might justify the excessive impositions it had undertaken.

Most recent fees introduced by the Town of Kwinana include a registration application fee of $94 to register an approved local property for the keeping of horses. The application must be accompanied by a detailed plan of the property showing the wet and dry areas, topography, areas to be used or not for horses, all buildings, stables, yards and fencing, together with the number of horses the applicant wishes to maintain on their property.

The Town of Kwinana, as a matter of local policy, requires inspection of all properties by a Health Inspector regardless of need or not, which is an area of concern for horse property owners as, despite numerous requests, the Town of Kwinana has not supplied information as to exactly what criteria or standard is expected to be met or what an inspection actually was for. This has been exacerbated by the Town openly stating that the entry onto properties was also as a means for Council to discover any number of infringements of Council Laws as may be found by their entry for these horse purposes. Such actions are seen as highly illegal, extremely discriminatory and unprecedented in any local government history.

An initial registration fee of $104 has been imposed, and an annual renewal fee of $104 (all fees indexed in Council’s annual charges) is required for yearly registration and each year the Health Manager demands inspection of the property regardless of size, risk evaluation, property history or need. An anomaly in recent years has been where the applicable Town of Kwinana's ’s laws require annual registration yet the Town has taken upon itself to ignore its own rules and has not renewed registrations for the last three or four years. The Town’s offered excuses basically can be surmised that because the Health Manager insists on annual inspections, despite there being no real justification for them, and they had experienced a shortage in staff resources they refused to issue any renewals. Notwithstanding any legal question of Council’s actions in this regard the group is seriously concerned that if a property owner does not hold a Horse Keeping registration then they would be subject to penalties under the same laws and herein the Council was seen to have improperly and unfairly exempted itself from wrong doing.

Other questionable fee charges include hidden ones, such as a planning consent fee of $100 under the State’s Planning Act provisions for an application under the local law to vary an equine property plan that is for health purposes. Instances have included where owners wished to swap or better use areas on their property or change fence lines for better property and horse management. Despite the property being within a Town Council designated and approved horse keeping’ property/locality the charge is demanded as a change of use of the property under Town Planning provisions. The group fails to see how the charge can be made when horse property management is a requirement for Health Act purposes yet Council demands charges under totally different legislation and in circumstances where the use of the property under those provisions has not changed but instead was already significantly and legally approved

Many property owners, who voluntarily registered their properties after original concepts (a number of which have never been fulfilled as proposed by the Town of Kwinana) are seeing Council’s activities as discrimination. For example, horse properties not registered are not affected by the fees or restrictions, nor are cattle, sheep or other livestock property owners. The group is outraged at this view wherein it sees Council as intentionally and somewhat admittedly not pursuing or enforcing against any other property owners who clearly are able to be seen as flaunting the Town’s laws. In stark contrast registered horse property owners, for instance, have been told to have their whole property covered in grass regardless that many have local dry, sandy soil areas that are naturally devoid of nutrient and moisture for much of the year and in a number of instances give very poor support to native flora. While water usage is restricted, statements are said to have been made that excessive water was necessary to achieve compliance with registration as described by the Health Inspectors. Many property owners are incensed at being singled out, as properties not registered for horse keeping are commonly used by motor bikes, goats, sheep or other livestock and do not have these restrictive measures forced upon them.

Despite numerous meetings between horse property owners and Town of Kwinana councillors and staff over the past 15 years no sound judgement or reasoning has been offered for a requirement to register properties, let alone inspect them as if they were at the highest risk level, particularly when, on the Council’s own admission, horse properties were a very low level risk.

Horse owners in all areas should express concern at the Town of Kwinana actions and support this campaign for the right to peacefully keep horses and maintain healthy lifestyles without unnecessary and oppressive regulation, as one must wonder what other uncontrolled bureaucrat may consider similar impositions against horse owners in other shires.
Contact information:
The Western Australian Horse Council - Diane Bennit: bennit@optusnet.com.au or for information or support for the Kwinana Equine Action Group contact Barrie Donohoe : barriedonohoe@bigpond.com


HORSE, LAND, WATER - sustainable horsekeeping and pasture management field days and workshops.
Between October and December 2008 the WA Horse Council have hosted 3 free field days with an additional 3 planned between April and June in 2009. These field days have been funded through the Perth Region National Resource Management (NRM) formerly known as Swan Catchment Council.

The project is all about getting uptake of the Horse Land Water which is the National Environmental “Best Management Practices” project delivered state wide across all horse demographics.

We have been fortunate in securing Chris Ferreira of Landcare Solutions to facilitate and deliver these workshops for the WA Horse Council which has been highly successful as his presentations are always so interesting, inspiring and full of practical knowledge.

The purpose of these field days is to show how to use environmentally friendly ways to improve pasture without costing the earth. Some of the topics covered are:

• Pasture- what to plant where and how
• Weed control - when and how
• Reinvigorating bare patches – simple cost effective solutions
• Waterwise watering – why you don’t need expensive reticulation
• Soil testing – why soil testing is the key
• Improving soil health naturally – better ways for better health of animals and the environment
• Managing manure, worms and much more.

Horse Land Water ‘MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES’ booklets and ‘ACTION PLANNERS FOR HORSE PROPERTIES’ are given out to attendees of the field days and these are full of useful information as well as allowing one to keep a log of your property management skills.

Caring for our Country - Horse, Land and water Jan 2009
Some readers of this article may not realise that the WA Horse Council, being one of the peak horse industry bodies in WA, was awarded a funding grant though “Caring for Our Country.”
This Australian Government funding is administered by Perth Region Natural Resource Management office in Midland, formerly known as the Swan Catchment Council.

This federal funding has been made available to enable the Environmental Best Practice for the horse industry to be rolled out state wide to all types of horses and owners of all ages. A huge job.

As horse owners we all realise that, a lovely as horses are, they are capable of inflicting damages to trees and shrubs including ringing barking a one hundred year old tree over night.

Contamination of water supplies, both underground and surface, is a common occurrence from animal manures and has the highest impact in strategic catchment areas with high density population of horses. Especially in and around cities and towns.

The Caring for Country funding is available to enable adoption of two important Environmental Best Practice manuals generated from previous funding sourced through another National fund called the Natural Heritage Trust, commonly called NHT 2.

The manuals were created by Horses SA and are called “Horses, Land & Water.

One manual is a best practice manual explaining how to adopt “Best Practice” and the other manual is an “Action plan” to guide and record the improvements being carried out on the property.
Ultimately this plan results in a certificate of recognition for best practices achieved.

This national certificate will be recognised by the equestrian industry and other related industry and government agencies.

The Perth Region NRM has a number of reference groups which meet on a regular basis with peak industry associations and related agencies.

It was one such group called the Rural Landuse Reference group which approved and supported the Horses Land & Water project, involving the environmental best practices for the horse industry.

Seven other environmental best practice projects for intensive horticulture are also managed by the Perth Region NRM.

Members of the Rural Land Use Reference group visited several sites late last year to see the progress being made. This equestrian project was well advanced in both quality and quantity of work done. At that stage more on ground work had been completed than the other projects

A vegetable growing property at Bullsbrook and a tablegrape project in West Swan were visited as well at Brookleigh Estate.
The Horses, Land and Water project is vested in the WA Horse Council under Dianne Bennit. and managed by Nikki Brooks
A series of field days and workshops relevant to the project are delivered by well known presenter Chris Ferreira and Tracey Bell, assisted by many others behind the scene.

The visitors were very impressed with the visit to Brookleigh and were able to view and discuss the environmental best practice outlined in the manuals and to see the resulting outcomes in the field
Congratulations to all involved.

Sandy Pate
Rural Landuse Manager Perth Region NRM,
Jan 2009


The Western Australian Horse Council was recently invited, as the peak equestrian industry body, to provide a member for the Lotterywest Trails Grants Assessment Panel. As a member of the Tracks and Trails portfolio, Janet Cameron represented the Western Australian Horse Council on the Assessment Panel.

A total of 48 applications were received with a total funding request of almost $1.6 million. Steve Hammond from Lotterywest informed the panel at the start of the meeting that due to the high demand for funds and the high quality of the projects proposed, that Lotterywest were able to increase the allocated funding available this year only from the usual $750,000.00 to accommodate some extra projects. Fourteen projects were deemed not suitable for funding and several others required further consideration from Lotterywest, however all available grant monies were allocated to the remaining successful projects.

Unfortunately none of the applications was made for equestrian trails. Walk trails continue to dominate trails funding, closely followed by cycling. It is anticipated that demands on funding will increase with other trail types such as motorcycle trail bikes and canoeing becoming more organized in terms of forming organizations to apply for funding.

Tanya Mills from the Department of Sport and Recreation will be a guest speaker at the Western Australian Horse Council AGM on the 5th August, speaking about the types of grants available to the equestrian industry. Funding is also available from the Royalties for Regions program for regional projects. Money is available for equestrian trails – all that is required is that trail users get together and organize a project worthy of consideration for funding.