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Riding schools and yards in Teesside are being urged to clean up after their horses.

A letter sent by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council on 26 June asks riders to take “all steps that are both reasonable and practical to deal with fouling by their animal”.

It goes on to say: “Please do not allow your horse to foul adjacent to entrances to houses and driveways.”

Deborah Carr-Davidson, who owns a 20-horse livery yard on Calf Fallow Lane, received one of these letters and thinks it’s “laughable”.

“Ultimately, you can’t dictate to a horse where it leaves its droppings. Do they think you can control this? Do they want us to go back round afterwards with a bucket?” she asked.

She added residents have not been welcoming to riders.

“On several occasions I’ve heard that residents have shouted at riders and even chased them in their cars, which is disgraceful,” she said.

Peter Allen, from Staisby Grange EC , said he had not received a letter but often invites the council to visit.

“Riding gets misinterpreted sometimes, so it is useful for them to see what we do,” he said.“While I wholeheartedly agree dung should be removed if it fouls footpaths, roads are a different matter — there are no rules against this.”

A council spokesman said the letter was a direct result of “a number” of complaints.

“We wrote to riding establishments requesting their co-operation,” she said.

“While there is no law regarding the removal of manure on public highways, we ask riders to have a duty of care.”

The British Horse Society (BHS) advises: “If a rider is on a road and their horse has dropped [muck] outside someone’s driveway, and it is safe to do so, it would be courteous to dismount and kick the dung into the gutter.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 July, 2011)