The Horse Pass was established in 2006 by the Minnesota legislature as Statute 85.46.
Everyone over the age of 16 is required to buy a Horse Pass before riding any DNR-managed horse trails, and to carry the pass with them on the trail.
Money from Horse Pass sales goes into a dedicated fund and is used directly for the maintenance and improvement of horse trails and horse facilities. From 2007 through 2019, the Horse Pass generated $1,368,700 for equestrian projects to improve trails, parking, bridges and more.
Horse Pass fees and dates
- Annual pass: $21 ($20 plus $1 issuing fee). Valid January 1 through December 31 of the year in which it is purchased.
- Day pass: $5 ($4 plus $1 issuing fee). Valid only for the date shown on the pass.
Where to buy a Horse Pass
Whenever possible, horse trail users should get their passes before arriving at the trail:
Some state parks can sell Horse Passes on site using a self-pay kiosk. Follow the instructions on the kiosk. Carry your copy of the self-registration form as proof of your purchase while you ride. If you purchase an annual pass from a kiosk, it will be mailed to you.
Self-pay kiosks are not available at state forest horse trails. If you are riding in a state forest, you must buy your Horse Pass in advance.
Horse Pass goes with the person, not with the horse
Each person needs to have their own signed Horse Pass and must carry it with them on the trail. The pass is valid only for the individual whose name is on it - only commercial Horse Passes are transferable.
- If two people are riding the same horse, they both need to have their own Horse Pass.
- Someone driving a horse and buggy must have a Horse Pass, but their passengers do not.
- Someone who is riding one horse while leading a second, riderless horse - or while leading a second horse with a rider under the age of 16 - needs only one Horse Pass. If the horse being led has a rider over the age of 16, both people need a pass.
- If a stable puts different riders on a horse throughout the day, each rider needs their own pass. In this case each rider may buy their own individual Horse Pass, or the stable owner may buy a commercial pass.
Mules and donkeys also require a Horse Pass
You need a Horse Pass to ride or drive any hooved animal on a DNR-managed trail.
In this context, MN Statute 6100.0500 Subp. 5h defines "horse" to also include any mule, donkey, llama, alpaca or other hooved animal that transports people or equipment.
Commercial Horse Pass for business owners
The commercial Horse Pass allows riding facility owners to buy annual passes that can be issued to riders who hire or rent horses from their stable throughout the season.
- $21 for a single commercial pass ($20 plus $1 issuing fee)
- $201 for 15 commercial passes ($200 plus $1 issuing fee)
The commercial Horse Pass is only sold to business owners through the DNR central office License Bureau.
Projects funded by the Horse Pass
Money raised from Horse Pass sales goes into a dedicated fund and is used directly for the maintenance and improvement of horse trails and horse facilities around Minnesota:
- Acquisition of new horse trails;
- Development of horse trails and facilities; and
- Maintenance, enforcement and rehabilitation of trails that allow horse riding, leading or driving.
An Equestrian Advisory Group made up of horse community representatives advises the DNR on project priorities.