Abuse shouted at horse riders

HORSE owners in Clevedon have become increasingly concerned with the amount of abuse and rude comments they receive while out riding in the town.

Riders at a stable yard in All Saints Lane say no matter where they ride, either on main roads or in quieter wooded areas, they are regularly told by pedestrians and car drivers they should not be where they are.

They have even been sworn at and, on one occasion, a dog walker in Strawberry Hill Woods shook a stick at one of their horses.

While riding her horse, Oscar, along Clevedon Road towards Tickenham, Rachel Attride was left shocked when a car driver sped up behind her, slammed on his brakes and shouted out of the window ‘what the **** do you think you are doing on this road?’

Rachel, aged 45, said: “We probably get abuse from people, on average, about once a week.

“We are so careful. We always smile and say thank you to people if they stand to one side while we ride past them.

“This driver sped up behind me and screeched on his brakes. Luckily my horse is pretty calm. If he wasn’t, it could have been a disaster.”

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To avoid riding on some of the busier roads, Rachel and her friends also ride through Strawberry Hill Woods, which are also used by many dog walkers.

Rachel said: “We don’t really have many dedicated bridleways in Clevedon so we also go around the top of the town along the quieter roads.

“I feel we are 100 per cent considerate and it would just be good if people weren’t abusive to us.

“What upsets me is that some dog walkers don’t want us using the same areas as them but they are obviously animal lovers.

“Some people will purposely let their dogs off the lead near our horses and one then even said ‘if your horse hurts my dog I’ll go to the police’.

“There is a need for more bridleways in the area. If we could access Strawberry Hill Woods through a separate bridle path that would be fantastic.”