St. Landry Parish officials became concerned about the safety of the Kountry Bunnies planned trail ride last month, following the shooting of 18-year-old D'andrea Goodley in Acadia Parish.
Safety concerns coupled with state ordinances barring horses on the Bunnies' original route pushed their trail ride to Sunday, which was in a new location in Plaisance with less participants.
"Less than we had last year due to I guess all that's been going on," says Kountry Bunny Lashanna Willis.
The Kountry Bunnies say over 250 people showed up on their horses Sunday afternoon, which was hundreds less than last year because of all the controversy.
"Last year we had almost one thousand. I guess because everything that's been going on lately and you know even though it has nothing to do with the trail ride I guess it's just some people maybe know if it's okay to ride horses or if it's not okay," says Willis.
Mark Bonnet, a 14-year-old horse rider, has been riding trails since he was two and says the attendance of riders on Sunday in Plaisance defies the growing trend of participants for most other rides.
"When I was small there used to be a small bit of horses. Everybody knew everybody, now it's everybody know everybody—but the population grew," says Bonnet.
According to Willis the Bunnies had 12 Parish deputies present at the event along with privately hired security, which rider Neil Bob says makes the most difference regardless of any chance in location.
"Well, last year it was a little bit better, but this year it's much, much better. The security, you know what I'm saying? We just gotta keep the violence down and keep everybody coming here, this is a family thing this is what we're here for, we're going to try to make it the best. We could you know keep everything down, bring it back family oriented," says Bob.