Where are the Hitching Posts?

La Cañada trails people tout this town as Trail City USA. So where are all the hitching posts? wonders local resident Denise Loveless, who dropped by the Valley Sun office on a recent day with photographic evidence that there are riders who, at least on occasion, eschew cars in favor of four-legged transportation.

"We [in La Cañada] should promote riding horses, not discourage it," said Loveless. "Why not put hitching posts in front of business establishments along Foothill Boulevard? You could ride your horse to any of the local restaurants, tie up to the hitching post and enjoy your meal."

She adds that, with the help of insulated saddlebags, frozen items could be transported home via horseback from any of the local markets. "Think about it," she said. "There's room to make a little space for the cheapest transportation in town, aside from walking; but that isn't really transportation, is it?"

To celebrate her recent birthday, Loveless was joined by two of her friends, Deborah Cally and Gina DiAngelo-Cox on a horseback trip to Taylor's Steakhouse for dinner. Having seen no hitching posts on site during previous visits to the restaurant, Loveless planned ahead and towed a horse trailer to the parking lot. The three horses were tethered to the trailer while their riders enjoyed the meal indoors. Subsequently, the owner of the restaurant, Bruce Taylor, told Loveless he would be willing to put up a hitching post for local equestrians.

"Having the opportunity to grow up with horses is the most memorable and lasting of experiences," Loveless said. "It's amazing to me that more people do not embrace the equestrian life," she said. "The sense of responsibility alone is a lesson for all of us, and the younger the better."

The city's director of public works, Steve Castellanos, was surprised when asked this week about the possibility of installing public hitching posts. "I've worked here five years and I've never seen horses on the boulevard," he said. He quipped that perhaps riders could tether their steeds to some of the bus benches in town, "although it seems like if a horse is tied up in the area of a sidewalk we'd want to consider the pedestrians."

Castellanos said that as long as a hitching post was installed on private property it would pass muster with City Hall, but cautions that the real issue would be who would clean up after the horses. The state is clamping down on wastewater issues, he points out, and horse manure is not a welcome addition to the storm drain system.

Loveless doesn't see cleanup as a problem. "We are responsible horse owners, folks. Give us a barrel, give us a scoop and we'll do our part," she said.

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