by Sarah Wynne Jackson
As the leading organization saving trails for horse use, Back Country Horsemen of America continues to grow and expand. They have 27 member state organizations across the nation with a combined membership of 13,000, and those members have cumulatively provided $63,000,000 worth of trails work over the last 16 years. They have also preserved our right to ride horses on countless trails from coast to coast.
But because there’s still so much work to do, BCHA has added an Executive Director to oversee and manage operations of this national volunteer 501(c)3 public benefit organization. They found the perfect candidate right within their own ranks.
A Life With Horses
Rick McLean became a member of the Back Country Horsemen of North Carolina, Foothills Chapter, a number of years back. He currently lives and grew up in the Piedmont region of the state, where his family has resided for several generations. His father bred Shetland ponies and rode the trails, instilling in Rick a passion for both horses and the back country.
As a youth and young adult, Rick dabbled in the rodeo, sat on a few saddle broncs, and showed locally, but riding a good trail horse in America’s wilderness remained his true love. After he married his wife, Judith, and children arrived, he decided he needed to get a “real job” to support his family.
Giving to the Community
With a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, North Carolina, under his belt, Rick began a life of public service.
He served as Chief of Police in Whiteville, NC, and Town Manager of both Carolina Beach, NC, and Mooresville, NC. He now owns and operates Hidden Creek Stables in Mooresville, a small family farm where he and his wife purchase trail horse prospects, develop them into safe, dependable trail horses, and place them with folks who enjoy trail riding.
The Joys of Retirement
After retiring from public service, Rick was free to pursue his passion once again. He and Judith have traveled all 48 states to see this beautiful country of ours from horseback. Although most of their trips last only a few days, they have taken a couple of six-week-long journeys in America’s Southwest and Northwest regions. They have plans to ride in Alaska in the future.
In addition to being a BCHA member, Rick is also a member of the Blue Ridge Horsemen’s Association and a Life Member of the North Carolina Horse Council. Several years ago, he completed the classroom and field work in trail design, construction, and maintenance sponsored by the North Carolina Horse Council.
Honoring the Past and the Future
Back Country Horsemen of America is pleased to welcome Rick McLean to the team. His education and experience will enable him to guide BCHA forward to new accomplishments and the realization of current goals. His love of riding and the back country will fuel his enthusiasm to preserve our right to ride horses on public lands.
Rick says, “I’m passionate about horses and riding, and I’m passionate about preserving trails for horse use. I’m really excited about this opportunity to get involved and do my part. My dad would have been so proud. His passion was riding his horse on the trail, in the mountains. I’m honored to be able to do this in his memory.”
“My grandchildren ride and enjoy horses,” he adds. “They’ve taken lots of rides with my wife and I. I hope there will always be trails for them, and their grandchildren, to enjoy.”
About Back Country Horsemen of America
BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes in regards to the use of horses and stock in the wilderness and public lands.
If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit http://www.backcountryhorse.com
The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!