Bus firm donates to riding club after spooking horse

Natasha Cromptonwith her horse Ferdi
Natasha Cromptonwith her horse Ferdi

Steps are being taken to ensure horse riders’ safety after a teenager was left injured when a bus caused her horse to bolt.

Bus company Stagecoach made a contribution to a local riding club after the incident which happened in Westhoughton on May 1.

Olivia Essex was making her way down Hindley Road to Lands Farm, when a Stagecoach bus passed, alarming the horse and throwing her to the floor.

Olivia was with her friend, 16-year-old Natasha Crompton, who was yet to mount her horse when the bus drove passed but lost control of the unmounted pony, resulting in the animal running uncontrolled down the road.

At the time, a Stagecoach spokeswoman confirmed the incident and said the company would be working to improve driver training.

Natasha’s mum Susan told Wigan Today they had been working closely with the bus firm to ensure the future safety of other young riders in the area.

Susan said: “In Westhoughton we have quite a big horse community and the stretch of road where the incident happened isn’t great.

“So I had asked Stagecoach to help raise awareness of the dangers. The first thought of mine was to use the ad space on the buses themselves to promote the British Horse Riding Society.

“But then Stagecoach said they get too much revenue from that space, so they said no.”

She added: “We then discussed putting signs up by the road, but the council need to give permission to do that.”

So Stagecoach then sent Susan a cheque for £300, which is going towards the local group, Westhoughton Riding Club.

“We are still raising awareness, but we decided the money would be best going towards the horse club, that everybody comes together for.”

Stagecoach confirmed that the matter has been fully investigated internally and that the company has cooperated with Susan Crompton where appropriate.

They have offered to work with her in raising awareness of the best practice for drivers in these situations.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach Manchester said: “Safety is always our top priority and our drivers are professionally trained. Following this incident, we have been in close contact with Mrs Crompton. Representatives from our driver training programme also recently met with a representative from The British Horse Society.

“As a result, we plan to include road safety material from The British Horse Society as part of our driver training in the future. We have also made a donation to a local horse riding event as a gesture of goodwill to the community.”