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Rider suffers life-changing injuries after horse on bridleway spooked by off-road bikes

A rider suffered life-changing injuries when her horse spooked at off-road motorcycles and fell on top of her.

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after the incident, near the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border yesterday (17 May).

The 41-year-old woman was riding on a bridleway in College Woods, just off Deadman’s Lane in Goring Heath between noon and 1pm. The horse was spooked by the motorcycles, which were also in the wooded area.

“The horse fell and landed on top of the rider, causing her serious and life-changing injuries,” a police spokesman said, adding that the horse was uninjured.

Following the incident a 22-year-old man from Earley was arrested on suspicion of driving a vehicle while over the prescribed limit for drugs and possession of class B drugs. Another 22-year-old man from Woodley was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs. Both have been released under investigation.

Five off-road motorcycles and a white Ford Transit van have been seized.

Investigating officer PC Chris Weatherley of the joint operations unit for roads policing said: “We are looking to establish if the bikes that rode past the horse caused it to bolt.

“We also need to establish if the bikes were using the bridleway or footpaths, which would be a public place, or whether they went deeper into the woods, which would have been more private.

“I am appealing for anybody who witnessed the incident at the time who may have seen the horse and rider or off-road bikes, to please make contact with police.”

The injured woman was treated at the scene by air ambulance medical professionals, but taken to hospital by road ambulance.

She remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Anyone with information should make a report online, or call 101, quoting reference number 43200145217.

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