“Have some respect and clear up after yourself” is the message from equestrian centres fed up with people leaving their own and their animals’ mess for others to deal with.
Richmond Equestrian Centre in North Yorkshire, Kelsall Hill and Ouestry Farm EC are among those to put out pleas to errant equestrians — Richmond has twice closed to all but private clinics and events as a result.
Abigail Turnbull, who owns and runs Richmond with her husband Andrew, told H&H the centre has to deal with horse poo all over the lorry park and in the arenas after hires, as well as litter and dog mess.
“We’ve been out there till midnight before, clearing it all up,” she said. “It’s soul-destroying when you work so hard, then go into the wagon park and think ‘We haven’t finished yet’.”
Abigail said the centre had had such issues before; they tried to impose fines on offenders but found some people became aggressive when confronted, while others would not pay up.
There is also the issue of people breaking equipment and not owning up — “We don’t mind, it happens, but tell us so we can remedy it for the next person,” Abigail said — and changing distances or leaving poles lying around after arena hire.
“We had one British Showjumping show and people were driving through piles of poo left in the wagon park afterwards,” Abigail said. “We provide a wheelbarrow and poo-pick, so it’s disappointing.
“Andrew, who works pretty much 12 hours a day, said ‘That’s it’, and put the post on Facebook saying we were closing.”
Abigail said many people had been supportive of their stance, to remain closed until 24 August, and she understands there are some people who do not realise their horses have pooed in the arena, for example, and are apologetic when alerted to the issue.
“A handful said this goes with the territory but most said we were spot-on, and people need to respect the venue,” she said, adding that Richmond is also the Turnbulls’ home.
“A few said why don’t we employ someone to go round and poo-pick, but we’re still recovering from Covid, and who would want that job? Or they say we should look at the CCTV but we haven’t got time to sit for hours watching CCTV.
“So Andrew tends to do it; we’re known for being clean and tidy here and people need to respect that. A few people have said it’s like those who drive round and throw their McDonald’s wrappers out of cars, and it’s society, but why should it be like that? I don’t understand the mentality.
“A couple of times, Andrew’s said ‘That’s enough, I’m filling the place up with cattle!’ We don’t want to do that; we love what we do, but come on, folks, two minutes of your life to clear up after yourself won’t kill you.”
Kelsall Hill, Cheshire, has put up a post encouraging equestrians to clear up their mess from the lorry park, while Ouestry has also had issues.
“Multiple times we are finding poos being left, poles moved to the sides or to other fences and fillers being moved and not put back, which is then left for the next person,” the County Durham centre said. “Please have some respect for the facilities we have worked hard for.”
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