A horse owner is ignoring demands to pick up horse poo on an access lane to the livery yard despite receiving physical and verbal abuse from an angry local resident.
Keira Howells, 18, and her mother Karen were approached by a resident earlier this month when bringing their horses in from the field.
The Howells have kept their two mares, Splodge and Lucy (pictured), at the yard in Mordiford, Herefordshire, for over a year.
The livery yard has been on the farm for twenty years, but is now bordered by houses following the development of the farm buildings.
“This summer the residents near the stables started complaining about the poo on the lane, but we have every right to use it has it is a bridleway,” Miss Howells told H&H.
Two weeks ago the situation escalated when one of the residents, who was shovelling up poo in the lane, tried to hit Keira’s horse with her shovel as she was passing.
A stream of verbal abuse followed.
“We walked away and rang the police as thought this is ridiculous,” said Miss Howells.
A policeman from West Mercia Police and a community support officer took a statement from the Howells that evening and also visited the lady who had voiced her objections.
A week later the Howells were “shocked” to receive a letter from West Mercia Police advising horse owners to “try to avoid riding where droppings are likely to cause offence”.
“We had been led to believe by the police that our behaviour was perfectly acceptable and we didn’t have to pick up the poo,” said Miss Howells.
But the letter asked riders to move their horses’ droppings into the verge from a path with a hard surface, and maybe discuss organising a horse poo-picking rota with fellow local riders.
“Consider using the horse feed bags to collect the droppings in and allow local residents to help themselves from a designated location,” said the police.
But the livery yard owner on the advice of the NFU’s legal team has reassured his 18 clients there is no law stating poo needs to be picked up.
The bridleway concerned is used by other local riders in the area.
“We aren’t breaking any laws; we just want to enjoy our horses,” said Miss Howells.
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“The police had told us to film any other incidents on head cameras.”