A new road surface in Grassington, North Yorkshire is causing a serious problem for horses, who slip when ridden along it.
Local rider Susan Midgely is so concerned for the safety and welfare of herself and other riders that she has written to North Yorkshire County Council Highways and the British Horse Society to report the problem.
“The new surface went down just after Easter,” explains Susan. “No sooner had my horse got all four legs onto it when he began slipping. I had no choice but to get off and lead him along the steepest parts.”
Susan, who keeps two horses at her home in Wood Lane, says that road nails or studs make no difference. “I have both of mine shod every six weeks and, because we do a lot of roadwork, they have road nails – but they still slip.
Other riders in the area have all reported a similar problem, causing something of a headache for the local highways department, who put down the new surface to reduce noise, tyre wear and environmental waste.
“I have to admit when I got the call about horses slipping on the road my heart sank,” says Richard Marr, county divisional engineer for North Yorkshire County Council highways. “I thought we had provided the residents with a quieter surface when another problem appeared.”
“Our initial response was to propose laying a narrow strip along the side of the road for the horses to walk along, but then I was contacted by a carriage driver who said it would be no use to him as his ponies went down the middle of the road.
“Now we are proposing to resurface the steepest part of the road which is the problem area.”
A spokesperson from the BHS said: “The problem of slippery road surfaces is happening in little pockets around the country and we are looking intoit. We have contacted to Department of Transport as well as the Road Surface Dressing Association.
“We advise anyone who experiences problem with a road surface to immediately contact their local highway authority.”