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Horses and riders support economy


For someone who claims to be “a horse rider”, Neil Harris (Village Views, August 2017) shows surprising ignorance about this.

He says that the number of horses in this area should be controlled, because they leave droppings in the road.

Perhaps he doesn’t realise that these horses are part of the equine industry which is of significant benefit to the UK economy, contributing approximately £7 billion a year.

As a sporting activity, riding has the highest proportion of participants with disabilities, who are female and who are over the age of 45. For many riders this is not, as Mr Harris states, “where they practise their hobbies”, but how they make their living.

The region this side of Birmingham has traditionally been known for its high horse population, utilised by many riders supporting also the local economy.

I have ridden locally, including through Rowney Green, for decades and I can assure him that while local people may have used their land to provide stabling and riding arenas (why does he, “a horse rider”, object to this?) the number of riders on the roads here has decreased significantly, even though they have a perfect right to continue to use them. 

What is especially noticeable is the massive increase in housing in Rowney Green and in the number of drivers who do not know how to drive around these roads, which they share with pedestrians, cyclists, riders, farm vehicles and occasionally farm animals.

It seems that every house with the space to do so has sprouted another dwelling, making a big increase in the population there, and everything which accompanies this. 

As for lack of pavements, there are many grassed banks and verges where these would normally be found, not to mention the cars and service vehicles often blocking pedestrian access. 

Do people live in Rowney Green because they enjoy the views over fields, views which would not exist in their current form were it not for the equine industry in the area? And are they not informed beforehand of the presence of horses and logically their droppings on the roads as part of this industry?

I suspect Mr Harris’ complaints reflect less on the traditional place of horses here, than on their existence ‘“spoiling the look” of creeping suburbanisation in Rowney Green.

Heather Powell, Alvechurch