HAPI Trails and an equine subdivision make a perfect match

HAPI Trails and an equine subdivision...

DRIGGS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - It isn't every day we find a story where the 'haves' and the 'have nots' hammer out a mutually beneficial agreement.  We have that story now.  A Driggs horse rescue group was desperate for land.  An equine subdivision had no horses.  Put the two together with some intense negotiators, and it's a dream come true all the way around.

Teton Saddleback Vista in Driggs was advertised and sold as a subdivision for horse owners.  There was a top of the line barn, stalls for rent, and an indoor riding arena. Something didn't work out for the developer, and the buildings were auctioned off and torn down.  It left a gaping ugly cement hole where a beautiful horse facility once stood. Enter VARD! 

" It stands for Valley Advocates for Responsible Development," Anna Trentadue, VARD director said.

Anna Trentadue and Shawn Hill work to keep the Teton Valley beautiful.  In the past, some bad development decisions made for some messy looking subdivisions.

" You could see they were being designed rather hastily without much attention to details," said Trentadue.

When it came to the Teton Saddleback Vista, VARD wanted to find someone that could use the horse space, before everything went to weeds. Executive Director Shawn Hill explains it this way.

" We did some non-profit matchmaking,” explained executive director Shawn Hill.   “HAPI Trails rose to the top of the pile."

That's the other half of this story.

"This is a palomino mare," said Julie Martin, of HAPI Trails. "She came from a hoarding situation.  She was pretty emaciated when she came in."

HAPI Trails stands for Horse Adoption Program Incorporated. It started in 2009 when the recession hit, and many people couldn't afford to care for their horses anymore.

"This one was the worst of the group.  She had elf feet from never having her hooves trimmed. But you can see she's healthy, she's strong," said Martin.

HAPI Trails had more needy horses than it had space to keep them.

"We put the two together and thought they could work out an arrangement, and they did.  Intense negotiations and it finally happened," said Hill.

"We've been wanting a facility where we could expand our capacity and bring in more community involvement,” Martin added.  “A total rehab facility for horses and people."

There were several advantages for people living in the subdivision.

" One of the biggest advantages is the tax breaks," said Jon Wisby, Teton Saddleback Vista homeowner.  "We were paying $4000 a year in taxes, and it's going to go down to about $400." 

“With horses on the property it's more asthetically pleasing to look out and see horses,” said Jennifer Carter, the HAPI Trails board chair. “HAPI Trails volunteer their time, so we come over and maintain the fencing and get rid of the weeds.  That's a benefit to homeowners.  As our program flourishes we'll bring in more community members and connect with other organizations that are doing horse activities."

Credit needs to be given to Cecelia Connell, who lives  lives in the Saddleback subdivision and made it her mission to get horses back on the property.

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