Articles have recently appeared in the press calling for a ban on mountain biking in the Lake District (because of 'scars which deface the landscape') and skiing in Scotland (destroying the mountainsides), control of tourists visiting the monuments of Stonehenge etc. This time it's the turn of horses.
I was once sworn at by a walker for churning up a woodland path. This path had been kept open by riders who, in their own time, removed fallen trees and cut back overgrowth so that the path could be used by everyone. The riders used it almost daily, whereas this Sunday walker could not have even entered the wood for overgrowth if it were not for its continual use by riders. Eventually it would have been yet another path lost forever.
The British Horse Society has fought hard to reopen bridleways. The new Toll Ride system has meant many more riders can use safer routes than the increasingly dangerous roadsides.
I would rather see a stable and a jump in the countryside than burnt-out cars, broken and rusty farm machinery, and face the threat of being run down by an off-road four-wheel-drive machine, which must damage more trees and tree roots than horses could.
Rodmell, East Sussex