The Landsman Kill Trail Association is made up of horseback riders who enjoy the pleasure of riding on safe and scenic trails away from the dangers of vehicular traffic. The idea for such an organization was conceived in the spring of 1968 when eight people met to discuss the possibilities of developing a trail system in and around the town of Rhinebeck.
The meeting resulted in the placement of a notice in the local tack shop requesting signatures of people interested in forming such an organization. Stressed in the notice were concern for the lack of safety in riding along the shoulder of roadways and the need for a system to be in place prior to the advent of large-scale development predicted for the area.
Twenty-four people responded to the notice and the Landsman Kill Trail Association was formed. By October of that year, after six months of member volunteers planning, gaining landowner permission, chain sawing and bush hogging, the LKTA trail system was opened with its first annual fall trail ride.
Over a dozen landowners had given permission for the group to develop trails through their properties. Approximately ten miles of trail had been planned, identified, rediscovered, developed and marked. Farm roads, former town roads and pathways overgrown for years were incorporated into the first section of trail. Then State Senator, Jay Rolison, was present to cut the ribbon to formally open a trail from Slate Quarry Road on the eastern end of Rhinebeck - north and west to River Road. In his address to the fifty-five riders who turned out for the ten-mile ride, he remarked, "it is the kind of community spirit and cooperation displayed here today which is really the strength of our country."
In October 1970, the LKTA held its fall ride over twenty miles of trail, completing a circle in the countryside around the village of Rhinebeck. By 1971, twelve more miles were added, expanding the system to include two trails on the west side of the town of Red Hook. The following year the circle was complete around the village of Red Hook.
Today, the LKTA boasts of having opened over seventy-five miles of trail from Staatsburg to Tivoli and east into the town of Clinton. Approximately one hundred and twenty landowners have given permission for trails to cross their property. The association holds annual spring and fall rides for members and guests and sponsors two annual Hunter Paces for teams of riders over about an eight-mile course of thirty or more jumps.
Over the years the association has participated in parades, sponsored educational equine lectures and clinics and contributed to the Dutchess and Ulster County S.P.C.A.s, the United States Equestrian Team and the Dutchess County 4-H and Pony Clubs.
The 1998 fall ride, which boasted seventy riders, was occasion for the association to hold a brief ceremony where the ribbon cutting took place in 1968. Charter members George Gallow and Kay Verrilli acclaimed the strength of the organization after thirty years and praised the members for their dedication which made that success possible.
Of the twenty-four original members who opened the first section of trail, many are still active. Others have joined, bringing the present membership to over a hundred, many of whom have been members for over twenty years.