Dorie Trapp started riding horses when she was 5 years old. Her father used to let her ride from the Andover/Linthicum area all the way to Patapsco Valley State Park, on the other side of the Baltimore Washington Parkway.
Today, that ride can only be done on weekends; all the cars on the roads makes it too dangerous for horses. And that has created a problem for the Andover Equestrian Center, which is running out of space and trails for people to use.
"Our land keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller and now it's just ridiculous," said Trapp, who manages the horse riding park for Anne Arundel County.
The park, located on Andover Road next to Andover High School, is being crowded by developments and Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which has expanded in the past few decades. Now, a new development across the street has further restricted the park and its horses.
The new Shipley-Fairmount development consists of 80 single-family homes built on 30 acres of land that used to contain numerous riding trails used by the equestrian center. Today, bulldozers have taken over and transformed the land into mounds of dirt, soon to be sculpted into lots for people's homes.
"It was an open field," Trapp said. "We used to ride on it. It's very frustrating, since we used to have so many good trails."
The equestrian center has 23 horses, but an appointment is required to ride. Many senior citizens centers and county groups sponsor trips to the center, one of only a few such horse farms in the area, Trapp said.
The farm has 23 acres, but Trapp said these are not enough. The state park is only a few miles away, but to get to it requires a trek on some busy roads, including Route 1.
"It can only be done on weekends," she said. "It's almost impossible with all the traffic."
The other option, Trapp said, is to load up buses of people and horses and drive to the park for a day of riding. But that requires lots of planning and preparation.
Horses can still ride around Andover High School, she said. The state used to allow horses to ride around the fringes of BWI, but that was before it grew into an international airport.
Despite the drawbacks, however, the center is doing well.
"We are in high demand," Trapp said.