Mary Arlington (left) and Kim Ayers

Two outdoor hospitality industry professionals held workshops on equestrian camping at the Kansas Equifest in Topeka, Kan., Feb. 23-25.

According to a press release, Mary Arlington, director of the campground owners associations in Kansas, Colorado and South Dakota, and Kim Ayers, equine specialist for Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance, led the workshops. Their goal was to hear from the audience what campground owners should know about those who travel with horses.

Ayers noted, “Positive and lively discussion was enjoyed. These travelers have needs at both overnight and destination campgrounds. The attendees shared what they need, want, and avoid.”

Attendees were also encouraged to share their frustrations and the logic behind them. “We could sometimes counter with the business side of the issues but mostly we took simply took notes since it became clear that education and communication could create better opportunities for campground owners and horse travelers,” Arlington said.

“Not surprisingly with this group, equine accommodations were highest on the list, with the human element being secondary,” she added. “Hookups for the living quarters are appreciated but the camping experience includes the horses, and these folks are mostly concerned with the comfort of their horses. Many attendees shared a desire to keep their horses on site, in sight, and when possible with a run-in style cover for the horses.”

The Topeka event catered to horse owners and businesses in Kansas and surrounding states, and attracted upwards of 5,000 people per day.

Arlington said, “The valuable insight to the needs and desires of those who travel with horses is being shared. Earlier this week campground owners in Kansas were provided an overview, and the message will be shared again in Colorado and South Dakota in the coming weeks.”