The Weekly Gripe

Gripes the News
The Soapbox
Gripes in the pipes
*

There aren't enough bridle paths in the UK

103 comments  Add a comment

My gripe is the stupid ignorant and uneducated comments made by some people.  Horse riders constantly get moaned at for being on the road thereby causing motorists to have to slow down.  I often hear, "horses shouldn't be on roads, that’s what bridle paths are for" or "horses should be ridden in fields or woods, not on roads because the hold up traffic and cars have to slow down".  With this in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

Bridle paths - There are hardly ANY in the UK, especially compared to the amount of footpaths.  Instead of moaning, how about doing something constructive and writing to your local council and suggesting that more bridle paths be created, this will help get some of the horses off the road and therefore hopefuly make them safer?

Getting to the few bridle paths that there are isn't straight forward as we often have to ride on the road!  Do you think we actually WANT to ride on the road when you consider the fact that a fair portion of drivers are actually quite horrible to us?  We can’t certainly can't ride on the grass verges because then the council would complain.  In fact if we’re caught riding on them we could even be fined.

Fields and woods are often private property hence, we can’t ride in them.  Trust me we would all love to, but the sad fact is they’re quite often just not accessible to horse riders.

Not enough bridle paths If you have passed a horse slowly and considerately on the road, and the rider has not said thanks, nodded or smiled to acknowledge your consideration, then I apologise on their behalf and of the UK riding community.  That kind of ignorance is also wrong and I have in fact myself on more than one occasion called out the window it won’t kill you to say thanks you know!!"

On the other hand, if you have just zoomed past a horse and rider at anything over 30 to 40mph (depending on what type of road or circumstance) with absolutely no consideration), then I hope you get you deserve...

Most of us riders are drivers too and we all slow down for horses. It doesn’t hurt to reduce your speed.  But what might hurt would be a one ton horse coming through your windscreen because it was too much of a hardship to show some consideration!

We all have to co-exist out there on the roads, so all we are asking for is some consideration - and on our behalf we will try to be courteous too.

By: Vicki


Leave a comment

First Prev 1/7 Next Last

Jan

Jan

Often it's not the car that spooks the horse, a plastic bag in the hedge, a small bird flying out or even the universal MacDonald takeaway rubbish on the roadside that will scare a horse into stepping out into the road IN FRONT OF YOUR CAR, PLEASE SLOW DOWN. It's warm and snug in your car, you don't feel the wind and rain, you are unaware of the water splashing the horse as you drive past, or the crack of the ice as you drive over a frozen puddle/pothole. YOU ARE NOT EXPOSED to all the things that a horse may find scary. So, riders please acknowledge considerate drivers with a smile and a nod, mouth 'thank you' and smile....DO NOT TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE REINS TO WAVE! Always wear Hi Vis clothing when out hacking.
Stay safe, avoid roads when you can, and, yes, bridleways often end at an A Road, not ideal.
Janet.
25/11/15 Jan
0
Will1992

Will1992

Completely agree, I can't find any Bridle Paths near me! Also, generally speaking, people who seem like they're from the country seem alright as far as consideration goes, but people in suits who strike me as businessy city types often either pass me at speed and/or come past seemingly as close to my horse as they can, as if that will somehow teach me to take up some of their precious time, what's the point?!
24/06/11 Will1992
5
Ella

Ella

We definately need more bridle paths! We only have a few around the area that I live in.
25/05/11 Ella
-1
Meg

Meg

These people do seem to be generally not nice, the way they not only abuse the bridleways but the horses as well. My horse can be rather shall we say, un-cooperative at times, and yes I have shouted at him - I hardly ever raise my voice to him so when he's doing something silly and I need his attention I will shout - it works better than a wallop with a stick - that's not to say I haven't smacked him with a stick because I have but only as a very last resort when what he's doing is downright dangerous and I need him to listen to me now! Mostly I have a harmonious relationship with him based on mutual trust and respect, sounds like these people need reporting to someone. Try visiting a few local livery yards and speaking to the people that run it - explain that you do not want to close the bridleway and would like the galloping and bad behavior to stop. Livery owners/managers rarely like trouble causers at their yards.
03/03/11 Meg
-7
Owner

Owner

Im a horse lover,and all I ask is for the riders to respect that they are riding through my land, I have no problem with most as they walk past my house on the bridle,not only do a few gallop and give me the 2 finger salute when I ask that they do the same,but the cursing at the horses and the walloping on the horses flesh from the riders is disgusting,and yes Meg most riders are very curteous,just seems a rowdy element has creeped into the usual crop of riders,I thank you for replies,and I agree that there should be more suitable bridle paths,thats why I dont want to get ours closed,I would like to buy some land from our neighbouring farmer to take path a bit further from house,but been told I face an uphill task as farmer not to friendly,I can only ask :)
03/03/11 Owner
-11
Meg

Meg

Owner, whilst I understand your frustration please don't scare the horses. Foe a start it's hardly their fault, it's the person on board. Secondly, if the object you use to spook the horse does actually work you may find a horse going flat out gallop across your land and through your garden having been scared silly and dumped it's rider! It's hard enough to keep a horse in walk or trot under control in an open space when it spooks, in gallop it's near impossible. As a rider as far as I am aware there are no specific rules for what speed you can ride on a bridle path, try putting a sign up requesting they walk past your house for safety reasons. You could speak to the equestrian officer of your local council for advice, they could possibly put the sign up for you. Failing that you could put a gate or two up, one at each end of your house - make sure they're horse friendly or they'll complain - Anyone who has a bridleway has to ensure it is accessible from the back of a horse (I think that's law but not 100%) I know this will be costly though again maybe the council will help with that. It annoys me when I hear of other riders abusing what little bridleway network we have - to walk past someone's house is just sensible and courteous, even trot or a controlled canter but to gallop could be dangerous - what if someone stepped out of your house/garden/property in front of them? Hope it helps and please don't tar all riders with the same brush.........some of us are ok!
02/03/11 Meg
-6
Boblet

Boblet

It is the old story, a few spoiling it for the rest, all you need to do is use your imagination, put the odd polka dot scarfe blowing in a a tree. Horses can be skittish. think of your own user friendly diversions, the odd flake of hay at strategic points works wonders in distracting a horse. What you must not do is make a noise around horses, putting a bin lid back on has been known to unseat the carefree rider.
02/03/11 Boblet
-13
Owner

Owner

Id like to know what are the rules for bridlepaths I live on one that goes through my property,not a problem until recently when they have now started to gallop on the path my house shakes,and when I complained I got the 2 finger salute,I thought bridle meant just that on the bridle ie not galloping etc,well if I get no respect from riders that go through my land I will go to court and get the path closed,which I dont want to do any suggestions?
02/03/11 Owner
-12
Weston Babe

Weston Babe

Angus, you've clearly had an unpleasant experience due to two arrogant people who happened to be horse riders. We have met arrogant people from all walks of life and ages, but we don't presume that all others that come from their backgrounds are the same. I'm not on anyone's side here, I don't ride horses, in fact I'm terrified of them, but in over 50 years, I've met some really nice people who just happened to be on horseback and some really nice people who just happened not to be on horseback.
08/02/11 Weston Babe
5
angus

angus

just been walking today with my dog. had two agrogrant horse riders speed past me no thank you. and road back and neally ki11ed me and my dog. is that and animal lover/ WOT DO THINK.. THUNDERSLEY BRIDEL PATH 158
11/01/11 angus
-4
Nikki

Nikki

Thanks for your apology. Things might be hunky dory with bridleways and green lanes in the North East, but in other parts of the country people are not so lucky! Round here, we have a lot of set-aside, which is great for off-road recreation such as horse riding, but I have plenty of horsey friends who have to ride miles to reach any off road riding whatsoever. You are right about people putting up a fight - unfortunately, I find that people round these parts are very reluctant to do anything themselves - they always want "them" to do something - in other words, other people! I take your point too about children and quad or trail bikes, but here we are talking about a sport that is as ancient as the hills we like to ride on - man has been riding horses for thousands of years, civilisation as we know it was built on the back of a horse, and the roads that so many people object to us riding on and having right of way on were built by the sweat of their brows. I think this is why riders feel so strongly about their seemingly anachronistic right to ride on the roads - without horses, there would BE no roads.
30/11/10 Nikki
-4
Weston Babe

Weston Babe

Hi Nikki, Sorry if I offended you. I take your point on a lot of things. I live 55 years in the country and maybe we are lucky, because honestly there's loads of bridleways and green lanes in Durham and Northumberland. I know some farmers block them off, but surely if any are proposals to close any, then there's an opportunity for people to object and I would have thought that if one is closed, then an alternative should be created..If it's got really bad in Northmptonshire, then there mustn't have been enough people who were willing to fight to keep Bridleways open. Most County Councils will try to walk all over people to get what they want, but if enough of the public put up a fight, they usually back down. I'm in an argument right now with a County Council who wants to close a bridleway and downgrade a country road to a Byeway and I know it won't be easy, but I'll do whatever it takes. I know there's an organisation called the Byways and Bridleways Trust, who fight tooth and nail with Councils to keep these old rights of way open and maintained. I think you've misunderstood my second comment - I am suggesting that anyone who thinks it's a good idea to take up riding for the first time, to check out places to ride. Clearly, you don't fall into that category as it's something you've been doing for a long time. I have often said that city kids who want a quad bike or trail bike for Christmas should not then demand that farmers allow them to use their land - the parents should do their research first.
29/11/10 Weston Babe
-1
Nikki

Nikki

Weston Babe: I suggest you take notice of someone who has lived in the countryside all of her 57 years! I can show you an ordnance survey map, as an example, of the part of Northamptonshire where I live from the '70's, and then also show you the same map brought up to date to last year, and you will see quite clearly the loss of not just bridleways, but footpaths and green lanes. You are right when you say you cannot just going closing any rights of way on a whim, but you are wrong if you think that this very rarely happens. It happens continuously as houses are built, bypasses built, roads widened etc. etc.

As for suggesting that before buying a horse, you should check that you have access to suitable land on which to ride them is, if I may say, rather a naive statement for several reasons. 1) As I have already said, bridleways frequently get moved or are closed due to housing developments, road works etc. etc. 2) especially in today's climate, it is not easy just to up sticks, sell your house and move to "somewhere suitable". 3) Frequently people move, have to move for their work, and whereas when they first bought their horse or pony the area in which they lived had plenty of off-road riding, maybe the area they are moving to is different. Why should they sell a beloved pet and abandon a hobby which is doubtless a great source of pleasure and exercise, just because a few mindless idiots cannot be bothered to slow down for a few precious seconds to abide by the law and give way to horses.

I could go on, but will spare you!
28/11/10 Nikki
-11
Weston Babe

Weston Babe

Just another point. I think it's a good idea for anyone with a hobby, to check to see if they can actually indulge in their hobby before embarking on it. Unless you have previously checked that you have access to land or that there are bridleways, it's not a good idea to buy a horse. Just the same a those city kids that get quad bikes given to them and demand that farmers allow them to ride on their land - no, it's private land. Our prime leisure time is spent backpacking and walking and we fully expect to have to travel quite a long way to do it. It's something we considered before moving to the city.
27/11/10 Weston Babe
-11
Weston Babe

Weston Babe

Bridle paths are rarely created these days, most of them have existed for centuries and have become rights of way for horses / pedestrians / cyclists because they have been used coninually for a long time. They were originally used by country people go get from village to village or farm to farm. They cannot be closed by anyone without a court order obtained by the Council. There are hundreds of miles of them in almost every county and if you go to the County Council's rights of way people or buy an O.S. Landranger map, you'll see exactly where they are. Good luck.
25/11/10 Weston Babe
-3

First Prev 1/7 Next Last

FEATURES

Gripes the News
Gripes in the pipes
The Soapbox
spinner