Riders are being warned to watch out for a dangerous type of drain after a number of horses have caught their feet.
Helene Mauchlen of British Horse Society Scotland (BHSS) said the accidents, including one in September where a horse broke its leg, have happened on paths where open drains are sited.
“Cross drains are in use all over the UK, but a particular style is being used on some paths in north-east Scotland,” she said.
“It is like a metal box and just the size that a hoof could slip into.”
She said other horses have suffered severe hoof injuries.
Aberdeenshire rider Hilary Nicol’s horse caught his leg in one of these drains.
“Luckily, he struggled a bit then stood still. If he hadn’t, it’s not worth thinking about,” she said.
Now the BHSS is working with landowners to get the drains changed and is asking riders to identify where they are.
The drain where the horse broke its leg is on the Tarland Way — a new path in Aberdeenshire that is managed by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT).
COAT is now installing strong grilles on all the drains.
Murray Swapp of COAT said: “We hope to have them installed by Christmas.”
Report a dangerous drain to email@example.com or on
Have you found a horse hazard on a popular riding route? Email your photos and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 December 2012)