The owner of a horse who bolted for home when he was spooked by motocross bikes on a bridleway has urged other riders to be on the alert.
Lyndsey Stevenson was riding her 14.1hh 14-year-old gelding Usher at Margery Woods, at Waltham Heath, Surrey at 3.30pm on 12 January when she came across the bikes being driven on the bridleway.
Lyndsey told H&H: “I hack there all the time. I had come down from the heath into the woods and I could hear a noise coming from the top of the heath. There’s often trees being cut down so I didn’t think it was an odd noise.
“As I turned into the woods Usher felt a bit on his toes and the noise got louder and louder. Up on the heath I saw bikes at the area I had just come from. I thought it would have been silly of them to come the way I was going as it’s narrow and bendy so I kept going.
“Then I heard a noise and thought ‘oh god’.
“Usher grew and started jumping sideways. I didn’t want to fall off so when he jumped again I swung my leg over and landed on my feet grabbed the reins as two bikes came round the corner.”
Lyndsey said the two bikes turned around and “sped off”.
“Usher jumped again then bolted and I couldn’t hold on to him – he cantered off up the bridleway. It was really scary, I phoned the yard, as they knew I was out by myself, and they sent people to help,” she said.
“I got two-thirds of the way home when I turned a corner on to a byway which has houses and I saw a family holding Usher on the road. The lady said he was walking along the road purposefully and looked like he knew where he was going. They held on to him and assumed a rider was coming.”
Lyndsey’s friends arrived from the yard and Usher was walked home.
“We trotted Usher up and he’s fine but he is nervous around vehicles now,” said Lyndsey. “He’s always been bombproof – he would be the horse to lead others through roadworks. We compete in TREC so he’s used to weird things.”
Lyndsey said she wants to raise awareness to anyone hacking in the area and has reported the incident to Surrey Police.
“There were lots of people around with children and walking dogs; there’s a lack of regard from the bike riders for everyone else. Would they have been able to stop in time for a dog off the lead?,” she said.
“It’s only a matter of time until something else happens. I want people to be careful and I urge people to report incidents, the more we report the more the police can do.
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“I’ve been riding in that area for 10 years and now it doesn’t feel safe any more. People complain horses shouldn’t be on the roads but then the bridlepaths aren’t safe.”
It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a bridleway
A spokesman for Surrey Police said: “While we have no evidence that would help us identify the bike riders, we would be keen to hear from anyone who has had similar issues in this area. If you have been affected by similar behaviour, please dial 101.”
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