Yard-bound and angry

Having spent the last few weeks yard-bound following the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak in our area, we are left wondering if playing by the rules gets you anywhere.

Missing the pre-novice championships at Aston-le-Walls was heartbreaking. We are weekend riders and this was a big deal for us. Spending countless hours and indeed money on lessons, we felt our horse had a good chance of being placed in the top 10, after coming second in our regional final. But we duly withdrew after notifying BE of our situation.

We are therefore left gobsmacked and enraged by other people’s attitudes; dog walkers are still out walking their dogs on footpaths and we have witnessed several horse moves in and out of the protection zone — all of which are being unpeanlised. Some people’s selfishness will never cease to amaze us!

Kim & Ian Carey

Tilford and Rushmoor Riding Club act promptly

The committee of Tilford and Rushmoor Riding Club took the early decision to cancel our forthcoming events, until the all clear is given.

Although our club field is only within the surveillance zone, attendees would either have to hack along roads where farmers had prudently closed footpaths through fields with livestock.

Horse transport vehicles would have to find alternative routes to the convenient A3 and A31, both of which pass through the protection zones nearby, although there was no signs up or any evidence of the livestock transporter restrictions being policed or enforced!

While this is only a minor inconvenience to our club members, we felt it was important to try to minimise horse movements where it was within our influence to do so. As horse keepers, we rely on the agricultural community for so much so the least we can do is respect their predicament and do our best to mitigate against any further adverse impacts.

Let us all hope that we get the all clear on the 27 August and then our members can be rewarded for their solidarity and patience at our club show on 30 September.

Jo Strange
Chairman, Tilford and Rushmoor Riding Club

Stuck in the exclusion zone

We are currently stuck within the 3km foot-and-mouth exclusion zone. My friend and I were due to compete in our school team at the national schools show jumping at Hickstead on 8 August, but the arrival of foot-and-mouth has stopped all our plans in our tracks.

I also have a friend visiting us from the Isle of Wight with her pony and she is not able to take her pony home, unless we can get hold of a license, which is proving impossible. It is such a shame that the government has not provided for the equestrian community (and other non susceptible animals) by issuing licenses to allow movement to leave the exclusion zone.

Mary Melville and Morgan Curtis
Wanborough, Surrey

Have you been affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak? Send your experiences to hheditor@ipcmedia.com