Ready Preddy: County opens new park

Despite slimmed down budgeting, Albemarle County will open two new parks this year. On May 19, it cut the ribbon on Preddy Creek Trails Park, the first to allow horses to canter along with hikers, bikers, and runners on its 571 acres and nearly nine miles of trails,

"We know we're getting a lot of equestrian use because horses leave more than footprints," quipped parks and rec director Bob Crickenberger at the park's Thursday morning dedication. Whether horse droppings will become a problem is TBD. As for dog walkers: bring along a plastic bag.

One way to deal with sliced budgets is to recruit free labor, and Crickenberger and Supervisor Ken Boyd paid tribute to the volunteers who put in more than 1,700 hours clearing 8.6 miles of trails. The cost to the county for the park was $332,990, according to Crickenberger.

Albemarle bought the parcel in 1969 to use as a reservoir, but a 1977 study determined its capacity wouldn't suffice, said Boyd. The nearly 600-acre tract sat untapped for years.

"In 2003, when I first ran for the board, I was walking door-to-door around the neighborhood, and I was asked what we were going to do with that Preddy property we owned," recalls Boyd, who was unaware the county held such a large tract, which includes 104 acres in Orange County and 15 acres in Greene.

When Parks and Recreation did a needs assessment in 2004, number one on the list of what citizens wanted were more natural areas and walking trails, says Boyd. The proverbial light bulb went off; in 2006, Albemarle supes formally okayed the project.

Preddy Creek hugs the far northeast border of the county, and later this year, another horse-friendly park will open in the far northwest corner of Albemarle. The approximately 600-acre Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve will open late this summer, and bumps the county's parks total to 3,900 acres.

Updated 5/21 with Albemarle's cost for the park.

Read more on: preddy creek park


this story should be linked to the one about Lyme disease. This park will be a convenient place to contract that illness.

"As for dog walkers: bring along a plastic bag." So a 10lb pile of horse poop to ride through is OK but, if fluffy drops a duce, that's a problem??

This is exciting news! How lucky we are to have a public park where we can ride horses!

About 5 of those 1,700 volunteer hours came from actual horseback riders. Cyclists and hikers built Preddy for the county for free. We get repaid for our time and effort in trails we can’t use –the poop is a problem. What’s next, Albemarle County increases the summer fee to Walnut, which cyclists/hikers also build and maintain...? This is horse crap.

I wish people would keep their dogs on a leash on the trails. Nobody seems to care about this rule and nobody is there to enforce it. Just because you have a dog that you think is well behaved does not mean you can break this rule. Having been attacked in the past I am fearful of dogs running up and jumping on me. The next dog that does this to me on the trails I am kicking the poop out of.

That's one clever headline for a story about Preddy Creek Trails. It reminds me of the song "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by the rock band Queen whose singer was named Freddy and in the song they say "Ready Freddy". Keeping the memory alive through headlines for stories about nature parks. Very clever.

As an equine volunteer, I personally helped for three work days = 9 hours. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped finish the outer loop and close trails that had errosion problems.

Maybe this was what O was referring to with the shovel ready jobs schtick?

hiked on these trails yesterday, and they were great. the horse poop was definitely an issue, as there were large piles in the middle of the trails. trails could also use better signage/mile markers and perhaps signs with maps intermittently. as a first time hiker, it was hard to tell if i was going in the right direction, and it seemed others on the trails had the same concerns.

So when the "proverbial light bulb went OFF" does that mean the sups stopped thinking?

Oh and perhaps those horseback riders can volunteer once a week to pickup what they left behind from their horsies behind. I can see that being a reason to not use the park.

Seems to me if there isn't routine maintenance to dispose of the excrement left by the horses, that park will become an extremely unpleasant place to be in the summer months. Horse flies, mosquitos attracted to horse droppings; and anyone who doesn't watch where they walk will have to deal with an unsanitary mess as well. Dog owners must clean up after their dogs yet horse owners get to ride off into the sunset, so to speak? Why do you need a park to ride horses? If you own horses, surely you have the foresight to have a place to ride them? Seems this was rather whimsical and not well thought out. I'm glad you had volunteers to build the trails for this park, but it seems Albemarle County better have some "volunteers" in place to clean it up regularly.

No, we often do not have a place to ride our horses except the countryside -- not all of us have money for indoor barns and quite frankly a great deal of the pleasure derived from riding a horse is to do so out of doors and away from the barn. Get over your class envy. Those of us who ride probably drive beat up old cars and go without many things you would consider essential in order to pursue our passion. We are not all rich land owners with hundreds of acres. To suggest we should only have horses if we have those kind of finances is grossly unjust. Riding on the roads can be suicide as people blow horns, speed by and/or nearly take your leg off going by so close. Hooray for Albemarle County and the volunteers who made this happen. If you don't want to encounter horses at this park go to one of the many other parks that do not allow horses (heaven knows in Albemarle County we are blessed with natural spaces). Hopefully we will work out a rota/system for the poop removal but a little tolerance would go a long way.

Went to new park for first time on Saturday. Had great time hiking various trails with wife and young child. Hoof prints were much much evident than horse poo and neither were that traumatic. All using trails--walkers, horse and bike riders--were courteous and respectful of others' space. Saw no reason for the gloom and doom being expressed in these comments.

Yeah I don't think this horse thing is going to go well. If you have to pick up dog poop, then horse poop should be a no-brainer.

Actually, "hook reader" what I said had nothing to do with class envy. It has to do with thinking responsible horse owners would have an actual place to ride the horses. Class envy? You don't know me. You seem to be projecting your own class envy. If I had a horse, I would have an ample place to ride it, because not doing so seems rather irresponsible. I have known people who aren't rich who have horses, but they manage to have enough acreage to ride their horses on, because that is what is best for the horse. I grew up in the area of the new park, went to school at Stony Point and don't worry, I won't be walking there, too reminiscent of my childhood. I stopped dodging horse chips a long time ago. My hobby is my greenhouse; I don't have to exercise plants, thank goodness. Class envy. Perhaps you should get over your bitterness.

Do the horse riders not feel that they should pick up the poop? Seems a no brainier to me. If an animal under my control soils a common areas it is only common courtesy to clean it up. I do that when I walk my dog on community or other peoples property.

Checked these trails out today. It was really, really enjoyable.

Horse excrement was evident, but not in an offensively massive quantity. Maybe something could be worked out with the horse riders that use the park on an informal basis where one of them goes through once a week with a shovel and a bucket? Also, people that want free fertilizer could score some there.

Certainly no need to ban the horses. Animal poop in the woods hardly seems to be something worth getting upset over.

how bout the county give about 4 acres to drive off road vehicles and 4x4's? how bout they think about the whole crowd. not just the minority.

Objective Observer,

I had horses for my children, and they had lots of bridle paths to ride on, as well as along country roads. Course' this is one of the reasons I have gone on and on about county development here on The Hook. Thanks to urban sprawl development, made especially bad with the McMansions, those byways and paths are all but a fading memory. My favorite was when a development tried to get rid of the horse farm next door because of the smell. Well, what are you doing developing out in the country then?

Where am I going with this? I guess I find your comment about 'responsibility' to be a tad ignorant, and self righteous, as if the people who own horses should have the opportunity to utilize a community resource. I see lots of constant chatter and attention given to the needs of hikers and bikers, for bike paths, and trails, paths, parks, and everything else. Never for horses. So, now we have one park that works for horses and there is an uproar about how bad it is for the bikers and hikers. There are plenty of parks and trails in the county for bikers and hikers alone. Lighten Up!

On the excrement thing. Big as horse droppings are, they are far less nasty, and broken down far more quickly, than dog droppings. They are also give far more in the way of use to the green side of things. In a few months, the finches and other birds will have figured out what is going on, and those droppings will be broken down in a matter oh hours. I have watched barn finches break down a pile in a matter of minutes.

However, it not too much to ask of the horse users to stay to the side of the path as much as possible, and have a group of volunteers that help maintain the trail with the rest of the volunteers.

Old Timer: I was born in Albemarle County. I went to elementary school at Stony Point a long time ago. I am also familiar with a very different Albemarle County from the present one. My principal lived next to the school and owned horses and used to run them on the track on occasion. We would have the unpleasant task of sometimes dodging horse chips when running laps or having to hose off our shoes. But, the bikes you mentioned don't need daily exercise and hikers have their own brains and are responsible for getting their own. I don't feel it is ignorant to wonder where the horses are getting regular exercise when there is no public land for them. I feel slightly sorry for them.

But the bigger issue is the excrement left there. My neighbors have horses. The dung attracts large, biting flies and at certain times of the summer you don't go outside if you choose not to slather yourself with chemicals to avoid them. I'm glad the birds do the job around you, because they certainly don't around here. But my neighbors do have plenty of room to exercise their horses, and I really don't care about the flies, but I worried when my kids were young because sometimes they came in with huge welts from the flies. I agree with your comment and if they stayed to the side of the path at least kids not paying any attention (as kids do when playing) wouldn't step in it, but it would still attract unpleasant insects. It seems if the dog owners are expected to clean up after their animals, so should the horse owners. The slightly defensive attitude some are taking when asked about this makes me wonder if you think somehow horse dung is less of a health threat or nuisance than other animals. Don't you think if they use the park they should be responsible for their messes as well? There may not be much dung there at the present time, but, if the park attracts more horse owners it could become a problem if a solution isn't in place.

I completely agree with you on the sprawl issue. I feel very sad remembering the farms that are no longer there. I remember some new neighbors complaining about the unsightly farming equipment belonging to the farmer that lived on a farm passed to him by his parents. If my husband did not work here, I would be looking for a farm in Orange because it does sadden me to see so much of the green areas disappearing to development; though I fear Orange will not escape it either.


I am dropping objective because I am starting to think you do have an axe to grind, even if its a very small one. You are beginning to pull in some in some non-sequitors here.

There is a difference between someone letting their horses walk on the school running track versus a wooded path. The principle should have been required to clean up on that one, no doubt. It was bad manners, and very thoughtless.

As for bikes needing or not needing exercise, their riders do, and I've run into a lot of bikers who are so reluctant to share the path they will run you over. Besides just being plain arrogant. To use your logic, the bikers should have been responsible enough to have provided a riding space for themselves, and not expected to use a public park. Think about it: Horses and bikes can both legally go on the road, yet we have bike lanes, not horse lanes.

The horse flies that are so nasty they leave huge welts are attracted by the horses themselves. They are bad, I agree. The green flies attracted to the manure can bite, but generally leave you alone. I agree putting on bug repellent is a good idea, but that would be a good idea in any case. I am more scared of Lyme's than a horse fly bite.

I think in a few months the birds are going to figure out their best grain/seed source is from the manure, and start cleaning up. Beyond that, general trail cleaning should happen, and horse people should volunteer. Riding to the sides of the trails would help, and it would knock back the brush anyways.

The trails are very nice, and I appreciate the work that folks put in to create this park.

Alice the Canine Messiah and I figured it out very quickly. We agreed she would only poop on top of the trail muffins.

Regarding what might be on the ground: It seems to me that being aware of where I place my feet is always an important part of walking, not just when I am in the woods. I mean, being aware just does not detract from my walk. It actually enhances it.

But that's just me...

horse poo is composed of only grasses/hay and breaks down in a matter of hours/days (dog poo is much more offensive in smell, consistency and takes days to decompose). horse flies are not attracted to horse poo - but they are attracted to horses and must live near water to reproduce - and they do have an awful, awful bite. I hope equine owners will clean up after their pets. I think we can share our spaces - including the bikers and stroller-pushers who typically dominant the trails in other parts of the county. Let's enjoy our green spaces and exercise together!

How bout they get some burlap horse diapers like the ones the horsey cops use in central park? They could then dispose of the diapers at a designated compost site and sell composted horse manure to offset the cost of the diapers which would be available and mandatory at the park? Problem solved.

Those of you arguing that horse poop is somehow allowable, but dog poop is not...

Are you saying that you're okay with folks allowing the average horse to dump on your front lawn and leaving it there, but not the average dog?



I was able to effectively use a diaper for the pony cart we had, and it kept it off the roads. If we were in NYC central park, I would definitely use the same diapers if possible. But I think there is an argument about that on ridden horses, for good reason. Such diapers will interfere with the movement of the horse, where they don't really in a carriage. I suppose you could put some muck buckets along the trail to empty them into, but having it slap along their legs for a couple of miles isn't realistic.


From time to time I have spread horse manure on my front yard. And occasionally horses still do drop loads on my front yard. But I clean up the doggy doo and I don't like dogs doing it. Like it or not, their fecal matter is much nastier, has no real benefit to the soil, and stinks much longer. It also has a bad habit of hiding in the grass, whereas horse manure is hard to miss.

I think the horses should suck it up and let the turds slap against their legs for a few miles. I mean what kind of pansy horse can't suck it up for a lil trail ride. We all wore diapers as infants and at times I could not get changed right away so I had to suck it up and get a lil diaper rash now I am a better person because of that experience. I think the horse and rider could learn a lot from this experience.


Thanks for showing your real thoughts on the conversation. No doubt your diaper rash did it to you.

No Doubt.

Bear turds. Squirrel turds. Deer turds. Raccoon turds. Snake turds. Owl turds. Rabbit turds. Salamander turds. Horse manure.

Show me the study that says adding dog turds is somehow environmentally unsound.

Really, I don't care about the bottom of your shoes. Get over it. Grow up.

I don't care either I ride my bike on these trails. Just having fun with all you whiners. Although you have to admit my diaper idea is brown gold the horsey folk are the ones who need to grow up, get over it. Oh yea and MAYBE show just a little CONSIDERATION for others on the trails. But if it means Mr. Ed and Secretariet have to get a lil poop on their legs that can't happen so just let everyone else walk through it.