Locked gates a frustration for horse riders in Wigan

Horse riders are being hindered by locked gates and metal stiles designed to keep off-road bikers away from bridleways, a woman has claimed.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 7:00 am

Carolina Hook regularly rides her pony Queenie from stables in Aspull along paths in the surrounding area.

But the mother-of-three is becoming increasingly frustrated at finding these paths have been blocked and she has to turn around.

Mrs Hook, who lives in Aspull, said: “I don’t think they are being blocked because they are trying to stop the horses.

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Carolina Hook and daughter Dante on their horses

“I think the issue is in most places they are being blocked because there are men on quad bikers who run through these areas like there is no tomorrow.

“They are the cause, I believe, of where it’s being blocked in several places.

“Talking to people who have owned horses for over 20 years, they have said you used to be able to ride through, but it’s more and more restricted now and there is not a route that we can do successfully because of this.”

Mrs Hook, 49, says there are a lot of farms in the area, so she believes many horse riders have the same problem.

She has tried to get information about which paths they should be able to access, without success, and hopes someone will be able to help her.

She said: “It’s a bit of a problem with Aspull bridle paths and I don’t know where we are allowed to ride. The bridle paths can go on and all of a sudden it ends. You have people shouting at you and putting up signs saying you are not allowed to ride here.

“I started looking into this about three months ago hoping it would be an easily solved issue, because I do understand that there are so many of us and I don’t understand why this hasn’t been sorted yet.”

Mrs Hook says there are a lot of green areas in Aspull where horses could be exercised, but she fears riders will instead have to use roads.

She is particularly worried about the safety of her 13-year-old daughter Dante and her pony Poppet.

She said: “I don’t want to just ride on the concrete on the main roads because of the heavy load of traffic. It’s not really safe.

“I have a 13-year-old with her own pony and I have a tracker on my child, high-vis on the horse and she has her mobile phone.

“I bought her a Go-Pro so she can film because sometimes people aren’t cautious and an accident can happen.”

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