Riding Trails Made Unsafe by Association


Update July 13, 2019: The Association stated yesterday in their weekly email blast that a small number of vaults will be relocated off the trails and asks that members notify the Association of any problematic vaults or boxes.

The Problem

As I mentioned in a previous article, the Association’s Internet fiber network has compromised the safety of some of our trails. Buried vaults installed in the middle of trails pose two hazards to horseback riders. Horses can step right through these lids, as has already happened to at least one rider (horses typically weigh 1,200 pounds, with a substantial fraction of that weight coming down onto a 6″ round hoof). Just as worrying, they can easily slip on the large plastic vault lids. As it stands now, there are sections of our trails that have been made unsafe for horses due to fiber network box placement.

Fiber network box on horse trail along San Elijo

This is not only a safety issue, but an Association legal liability issue. The Association carries liability insurance to cover accidents on our trails, but the Association has most likely created a “dangerous and hazardous” condition which usually makes insurance policies null and void. 


At the last Board meeting, July 2nd, the Board stated that they were aware of the problem and that they were going to install sturdier lids so that horses couldn’t step through them. A sturdier lid might work for a walking horse, but a cantering horse? There is a reason horses have steel shoes, and I have my doubts whether any kind of plastic lid could withstand a steel shoe falling with the weight of a galloping 1,200 pound animal. But more importantly the Board seems to have missed the real danger. The hazard includes slipping on the lids, especially as they can be obscured by wood chips. Broken horse legs and thrown riders are real concerns with slips. 

The Only Solution

The boxes that have been placed in the middle of the horse trails need to be moved towards the houses away from the trail. You either do this, or deem portions of the horse trails unsafe for horses.

Unfortunately this will cost money, and I strongly suspect we will end up paying for it. 

Had the Board involved anyone who knew anything about horses before they started installing boxes on our trails, this could easily have been avoided.

The Two Questions

Is the Association going to move fiber boxes (the big ones as well as the small flower pots) away from the horse trails?

Are we going to be stuck with the bill for this?

In the meantime, be extra careful when riding on the trails.

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