An investigation is underway in a forest in Suffolk after a pony and teenage rider fell into a bog on an organised ride on 23 October.
The 14-year-old girl was taking part in the Finn Valley Riding Club’s 12-mile pleasure ride in Rendlesham Forest with a friend and adult rider.
A few minutes after the three had set off at noon, the girl’s mother received a phone call saying her daughter’s pony was stuck in a ditch.
The riders were coming down a track in single file when the pony barged past the horse in front, came off the track and fell into a bog.
James Smith, the riding club’s chairman said when he marked out the route at 6.30am that morning the bog “was unnoticeable as was grassed over.”
As soon as he was told of the incident, he cycled down the track to help.
“I found the girl off the pony covered in mud,” said Mr Smith.
“The pony looked like she was lying down, but was stuck with all four feet in the bog. She was very relaxed, eating the grass round the edge of the bog and not particularly anxious.”
Luckily the pony didn’t panic so Mr Smith went in to take the saddle off and see if she could be encouraged to get out without a tractor having to be called.
After asking the rider for her permission Mr Smith, who was by now up to his waist in mud, gave the pony a “couple of smacks on the backside” and with the help of a lady pulling the bridle the pony managed to free herself.
Both pony and rider were very dirty and smelly, but were otherwise unscathed.
The bog was marked off with a rope afterwards to ensure the other 45 riders taking part avoided it.
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“We probably won’t use that track again in future,” said Mr Smith.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “We are investigating the incident and are doing everything we can to make sure horses and riders are safe when riding in the forest.”