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December 1, 2018


29


COMMUNITYSan Marcos COMMUNITY


Staged protestors were part of a community clinic on trail horse safety in San Marcos that helped build horse-rider trust in unfamiliar situations.


Happy (and safe) trails


Former mounted officer Mo Parga is bringing up new volunteers If you drove past the Walnut Grove Equestrian Park arena in San


Marcos one spring Saturday about lunchtime, you may have seen the mayhem. There were loud protesters shoving signs at 15 people on horse-


back, including some kids. There were smoke bombs, loud music, and some large, strange-looking beings. But all was OK. The riders also had complete control—with the help


of Mo Parga. Parga, a San Diego native who retired this year after nearly 33


years in the San Diego Police Department, was one of the clinicians at the City of San Marcos Day of the Horse May 20 in one of the county’s only municipal equestrian facilities. For years, Parga headed the now-disbanded mounted unit with the SDPD, but her passion for horses, community and vol- unteerism has spawned a new chapter—helping to form, train and coach volunteer patrols for local community trails. “I have a love for the volun-


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teers, and if I can help promote more volunteer mounted trail groups, I’ll be happy,” says Parga. “The trail volunteers are good PR and eyes and ears for the rang-


Mo Parga with 15-year-old student Lauren Rowe at a Basic Sensory Clinic at the San Marcos Day of the Horse.


ers—not enforcement. San Marcos is going to have some eyes and ears for the rangers on the horses.” “My goal is to promote safety and calmness while they are riding,”


she adds. “In the sensory training, they can see and learn along with their horse. The horse gets to trust the rider that they are not going to get hurt. In turn, the rider learns to trust the horse and feeds off the horse giving them confidence. “It’s about them working together as a team so that the horse won’t spook on the trail and has trust in the rider, which is huge.” Parga says the first step to establishing a volunteer mounted patrol in a community is to reach out to the civic organization and get its blessing. She can then work together with the municipality and the volunteers with the process.


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