Summer horse riding trial at Thriftwood extension to Ockwells Park

Opening Soon! Summer horse riding trial at Thriftwood extension to Ockwells Park 

Linking to an existing bridleway, the new route will help increase the amount of safe off-road access for local horse riders. 

The idea came from the RBWM Local Access Forum – Multi-User Sub Group who seek to improve the network for everyone wanting to walk, cycle and horse ride safely away from busy roads. 

Thriftwood seasonal route map for horse riding.

Questions and answers for allowing horse riders access at Thriftwood

Why are you allowing horse riding on Ockwells?

  • Allowing horse riders to access land at the Thriftwood area of Ockwells Park is reasonable as the land is council owned and it would be unfair to disallow one specific group of residents (horse riders) from using it.
  • The council would like to support vulnerable road users. Allowing horse riding on the Thriftwood area of Ockwells Park will improve safety for horse riders as vulnerable road users by giving them increased opportunity to ride off road and away from vehicles in their local area.
  • Allowing horse riding at the Thriftwood area of Ockwells Park will support local livery stables and equestrian businesses to stay in the area.
  • Increasing off-road provision for horse riding will set a good example to other private landowners who might then allow it on their own land.

How will you make sure they don’t damage the land?

Horses are expensive to keep so riders take care of them and won’t risk injury to themselves, the horse, or other people by going too fast especially on wet or uneven ground. There is space available so that horses can ride alongside the trodden track used by walkers.

We will monitor the ground during the trial to see if there is any adverse impact and take any remedial action necessary.

How will you make people aware that they might meet horses?

We will erect signage to let people know they might meet horses and there will be local engagement through social media and local Councillors.

Whose fault is it if there’s an incident between a horse and a dog?

It is important to note that all Park users have a responsibility to act with consideration and courtesy to each other. 

A dog owner has a legal responsibility to make sure their dog is always under control and supervision when in a public place even when they are off lead. This means they must be able to call their dog back and place on a lead if necessary.  There is additional guidance at the British Horse Society (BHS) website.

There is good visibility at the Thriftwood area of Ockwells Park where horses will be allowed which is important so that dog walkers, walkers and riders are able to see each other from a distance and take appropriate action to minimise potential conflict. This has been seen and attested to by users of the National Trust area at Pinkney’s Green where horse riders and dog walkers use the area side by side with no incidents.

Will they be allowed there all year round?

No, the route will be closed over winter due to wet ground conditions.

The horse-riding access will be seasonal and is likely to be dictated by the ground conditions at any given time.

Wet conditions mean horse riders won’t want to ride.

Can they go wherever they like?

No, there will be way marker posts to show horse riders the route. These will be posts painted blue at the top, so they are visible from a distance. There will be a map showing the route at the entrances on Thrift Lane (Cox Green BR13) and this will also be highlighted to local livery stables.

There will be signs saying “No Horses Beyond This Point” showing riders where not to go.

Will the horse riders be permitted to ride in the recreational fields nearest to the cafe and car park?

No, there will be no horse riding allowed in the recreational fields nearest to the café and car park.

Have you considered potential harm to dogs from horse excrement?

Yes, where horses have been recently wormed with ivermectin this can be toxic to dogs. It is the same wormer used in cattle and sheep so dogs will likely come across it in other environments. It is only toxic in large quantities to most dogs although a few breeds are more intolerant of it. If dogs are under close control, as they ought to be in this instance, owners should be aware if their dog is consuming horse manure and be in a position to stop them from doing so. Apart from the ivermectin risk horse manure is not dangerous to dogs. For more information see the Pets4Home website