'Constant stream' of bikes in the New Forest scares horses, says equestrian association

Sportives 'should be less frequent and with smaller fields'

by Sarah Barth   July 20, 2013  

New Forest Sportive

Huge fields of riders taking part in organised sportives in the New Forest scare horses and should be limited, the New Forest Equestrian Association has said.

Dr Tony Hockley from the Association told the Daily Mail: "The concept of sportive events is totally new.

"The biggest problem is speed and volume. When you have 5,000 people riding against the clock they aren’t going to slow down for horses on the road.

"We have always had cyclists and races in the New Forest but with the numbers of them involved now it is a constant stream of bikes racing that goes on all day."

Last month we reported how a woman whose horse had to be put down after it was frightened by a group of sportive riders in Sussex said that cyclists had no respect for other vulnerable road users.

Jo Flew and her daughter Joanna were out for a horseback ride on June 23 when they happened upon the route of the Etape de Sussex along Daleham Lane.

When they came across about 20 cyclists, Jo's horse kicked Joanna's in fear and broke its leg.

Jo told the Sussex Express: “We knew a cycle event was taking place but we had no idea what time. On our way home it became apparent that it was happening.

“A few bikes raced past which was OK as our horses were used to them. But then looking behind us there was suddenly a large number in groups of about 20, but only seconds apart.

“As they came past our horses became very frightened. We felt like we were being swallowed. This caused my horse to kick out at the bikes but instead it kicked my daughter’s horse, Willow, in the leg.”

A spokesman for British Cycling said: "We share the roads with many other user groups and as such there is a clearly defined process for allowing permission for a cycle race to take place on the highway.

"We are always very clear that all cyclists should obey the Highway Code and be respectful of other road users at all times.

"In our guidance for road race organisers we ask them to find out if there are any local liveries and stables nearby and to make them aware of any events happening."

It's not the first time the New Forest Equestrian Association has intervened in matters relating to horses and other road users.

Just this week Dr Hockley told the Salisbury Journal that it would be a 'great shame' if new open top bus tours of the New Forest - funded by the Department for Transport as a measure to reduce vehicle traffic in the area - endangered horses. 

He said: “Just the noise of the air brakes or a bus travelling at speed over a cattle grid can spook a horse."

 

25 user comments

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Daily Mail lol

meursault's picture

posted by meursault [24 posts]
20th July 2013 - 13:30

9 Likes

Why do people insist on calling Sportives races?? yeah its timed, but the objective is a personal challenge/ride, not who can go the fastest

posted by pdows47 [105 posts]
20th July 2013 - 15:29

9 Likes

It's just another distraction from the real problems.

Year after year well over 50 (65 in the last year) New Forest animals get killed by drivers yet no one seems to be outraged about it and no one is actually doing anything to address the issue. Killing while driving became a norm.

I can only guess that imposing restrictions on motorised traffic wouldn't be popular with affluent voters, wouldn't it?

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [193 posts]
20th July 2013 - 16:15

8 Likes

I can sort of see the point, large numbers of riders and SOME will be prats around the horses.

However, how many cars are there in the New Forest, and as mentioned by BBB, how many animals are killed as a result?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1600 posts]
20th July 2013 - 16:50

12 Likes

I lived near the New Forest for a few years and every trip I made down there, I should point out I drive/ride as per the highway code and slow down for vulnerable road users. However the biggest problem seems to be a do as we say attitude, not do as we do. The amount of local business vehicles (and I dare say local's private cars too) bombing around over the speed limit and tailgating people.
This seems to be a case of NIMBYism, they pay for expensive houses to live in the New Forest and obvioulsy don't want sweaty lycra clad oiks ruining the view, or holding them on their drive to Waitrose. One evening I was driving down a road, lights on as it was dark and came upon 2 horserider's 2 a breast with no form of illumination or high visibility, I slowed down as quickly as I could and they then shouted abuse at me. Unfortunately my crystal ball was in for servicing that week Wink

posted by martib [52 posts]
20th July 2013 - 17:31

11 Likes

I agree with them
Horse hate bikes, especially those which speed by from behind with little warning.
I'm the first to moan f a horse can't cope with the roads but we have to be fair. As usual the majority of the cycling community cannot see past their own interests.
Call them what you will, any event that gives times and make a fuss of them in a race. More to the point the general public see them as such.
Comments such as that above just smack of bitchiness and suggest a grudge against those who choose a different way of thinking.
Horse were out there before us.
The large forums do no one any good but those who profit from them and they are most definitely doing the image of cycling no good at all.
Might I suggest that people look at all sides of the problem before firing off.

posted by mattsccm [288 posts]
20th July 2013 - 17:40

7 Likes

Complete rubbish.

NIMBY horse riders complaining again about someone else using THEIR New Forest.

Recent BBC article after rise in New Forest animal deaths ;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-23363550

"Sue Westwood, clerk to the Verderers, responsible for New Forest ponies, blamed a complete lack of awareness or consideration by motorists."

Virtually all horse deaths in the New Forest are caused by motor vehicles.

They are even moaning about an open top bus tour service.

I would have thought in the New Forest there are miles upon miles of bridleway and forest trail. How come horse riders are on the road?, except maybe for short sections to join up off-road routes.

I would have thought horse riders would prefer a more off-road route.

posted by seanbolton [158 posts]
20th July 2013 - 17:51

6 Likes

Quote:
I would have thought in the New Forest there are miles upon miles of bridleway and forest trail. How come horse riders are on the road?, except maybe for short sections to join up off-road routes.

and it only takes a few metres of road. Colleague lost a horse crossing a road outside their house. would have used no more than 5m of tarmac but that is all it takes. One idiot traveling to fast.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1600 posts]
20th July 2013 - 18:03

8 Likes

F***ing daily mail for gods sake ...

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
20th July 2013 - 19:02

9 Likes

Constant stream of cars scares hedgehogs, at least bikes don't leave a trail of flat horses behind them.

DevonJohn

posted by solkanofastera [24 posts]
20th July 2013 - 19:19

13 Likes

notice the horse lot havent complained about the 41 animals killed in the last 6 mths by motor vehicles

posted by Sangharaja1 [9 posts]
20th July 2013 - 19:20

9 Likes

Never had a problem with horses - although their riders tend to look down on you a bit. Big Grin

Agree with all the above concerning motorists. I passed two horse riders last week on a narrow twisty lane near Rivington. Two corners later I met the usual Audi driver gunning 45mph and waved my hand down to warn him of danger around the corner. No effect.

Most horse riders are more concerned with cars than bicycles.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1114 posts]
20th July 2013 - 19:44

3 Likes

Sangharaja1 wrote:
notice the horse lot havent complained about the 41 animals killed in the last 6 mths by motor vehicles

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
20th July 2013 - 21:09

11 Likes

I’m more than happy to slow down for horses, and it has nothing to do with the usual nice young ladies in jodhpurs. Honest Big Grin

It's just polite

posted by Mart [110 posts]
20th July 2013 - 21:31

4 Likes

pdows47 wrote:
Why do people insist on calling Sportives races?? yeah its timed, but the objective is a personal challenge/ride, not who can go the fastest

What do you think the 'personal challenge' is if not to do the course as quickly as possible? 90% of the field are not at risk of a DNF. There are no points for artistic merit. True it is not a 'race' with a peloton as everyone has mixed abilities, it is more of a mass timetrial, but you are delusional if you expect people won't be going fast in a sportive.


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1582 posts]
20th July 2013 - 21:49

7 Likes

Quote:
True it is not a 'race' with a peloton as everyone has mixed abilities, it is more of a mass timetrial, but you are delusional if you expect people won't be going fast in a sportive.

"Going fast" is a relative term though isn't it? Go past a horse at 20mph on a road bike and they'll yell that you're going too fast. Go past a horse at 20mph in a car and you'll get a wave of thanks for passing so carefully.

On this one though, it's all sides. The New Forest and more particularly, their Verderers need to change their attitude big time.
Horse riders need to have far more of the Forest open to them to ride.
Car drivers need to slow the fuck down and accept that it's an ancient Forest, they shouldn't be speedig anyway, that would mean far fewer animal deaths and far less of the "I'm being held up" rage towards cyclists.
And cyclists need to remove their head from their arse and see how their behaviour might be construed.

Oh and re Sportive riders going fast - on the rare occasions I do a Sportive, I'm doing it to see a new place where I wouldn't normally ride so I take my time, look at the scenery and stop for photos. Last one I did I even stopped in a local village coffee shop! It was lovely. Smile Not wishing to boast but I already know I can come in the top 10% of a Sportive quite easily if I push it but I save that for the proper racing - you know, the one where the number goes on the back!

posted by crazy-legs [610 posts]
21st July 2013 - 7:59

7 Likes

I always slow down and give plenty of space plus I make normal talking noises so the house is aware of my presence and I find the young G ood looking riders polite, forums such as this discussing these topics are brilliant they teach those who are unaware how to approach awkward situations how to do things as safely as can be, but as in all walks of life accidents happens, we can only minimize the risks.

posted by billyman [133 posts]
21st July 2013 - 8:52

7 Likes

Constant stream of cars scares horses AND cyclists - so can we just have less cars?

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
21st July 2013 - 9:54

9 Likes

Having ridden horses and bikes in the area the problem is impatient car drivers. Odd to take a shot at cyclists other than for the fact the author is looking at another category of new forest user that slows them down....
That said, some cyclists do need to learn how to ride around horses so anything that informs is a good thing.

posted by arfa [592 posts]
21st July 2013 - 11:57

9 Likes

I find the issue of horses on the road very interesting, if I as a road user was scared of cars/buses/lorries then I would not put myself in an environment where I would come across them, if a horse rider suspects there horse may become spooked then they shouldn't be on the road.

I was cycling through a village the other night with my wife, doing perhaps 10 mph when we rounded a gentle bend, there was a horse in the middle of the road on turning round on itself, having a 'moment', if we hadn't been on such a leisurely ride our prescence could easily have thrown the rider off.

(my wife who is a vet has VERY strong views on this!)

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 10:22

11 Likes

The New Forest seems to be the new front line in this debate. I agree that there must be many off-road routes through the forest. The wild ponies seem to just take themselves off to different parts when there is increased noise or disturbance.

I would also like to see all of the road users get along better. Speeding cars are always going to be the biggest danger for all of us.

Lycra and Jodhpurs, a match made in heaven no?

miles_from_anywhere's picture

posted by miles_from_anywhere [27 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 10:40

13 Likes

CraigS wrote:
Constant stream of cars scares horses AND cyclists - so can we just have less cars?

So right. Visitors cars block the centre of the New Forest solid in summer. No one seems to mind about that. And horses scare me when I'm cycling!

posted by LeDomestique [34 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 11:10

10 Likes

There may be procedures in place to agree authority to hold races, but what about sportives?

This is what the horse lot are complaining about.

And I do think the sheer volumes of these events means central coordination to give permission should be required. Eg look at the comments in the recent article on Box hill issues (sportives going in different directions, only some agreed with national trust etc)

However, there are always going to be groups of cyclists on the road, it's a legitimate activity and should be encouraged. If you own a horse and you know it gets scared by bikes travelling past, then you are irresponsibly putting vulnerable road users lives in danger. The comments recently from certain horse riders reported on this site do smack of them valuing a horses life over and above a humans!

posted by 700c [625 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 11:36

10 Likes

Keep the horse in a field, end of.

posted by duc888 [39 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 12:27

8 Likes

I wonder what the story would have been had that lady's horse kick the cyclist in the head and killed them rather than kicking another horse

posted by md6 [172 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 12:43

12 Likes