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Welcome to FORBA and ride Etiquette letter


Settle Loop

Bridleway Watch Scheme

This is your chance to report back on any problems you encounter when out riding.

The Bridleway Watch idea has taken off well in Bacup and Stacksteads area.

The first meeting to allocate routes was held at Wendy Walmsley’s house where Sue Fletcher, Vanessa Hanson, Linda Ward and Wendy between them covered the area’s riding routes.

However, we still need feedback from Rawtenstall, and Ramsbottom. Any offers?

For Sale / Wanted

Contact Chris Peat if you have any equinine related products that are surplus to your requirements, or obversely, if you want anything that readers and members have found surplus to their requirements, it can be advertised in this space.

Holiday Destinations

A break away for you and your four legged friends


Mr Mark Capstick

01524 271335


Birks Farm
Kirby Lonsdale
Carnforth Lancashire

A self catering cottage to sleep up to 6. Choice of stabling or grazing. Plenty of bridleways to chose from. Maps and route descriptions available.

For More Information About

The Derbyshire section of the Pennine Bridleway
The Settle Loop section of the Pennine Bridleway
The Yorkshire section of the Pennine Bridleway
Treks and Trails offer a variety of guided walking holidays in the UK, Europe and Asia.
The Pennine Bridleway

Retail Links

Listed here are links to related businesses that you may find useful and interesting articles that have appeared in the horse press.

Regular bridleway news nation wide, buy maps and route descriptions
New web site for World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH)
Michelle Miller – saddle fitting & tack repairs
Craven Farm Ride – Cross Country ride with optional jumps
Mary Towneley Loop Guide Book Buy The Book


Horse Accidents website launched

The British Horse Society has launched a dedicated horse accidents website, designed to provide statistics and data which will be used to lobby the Government for better riding conditions.

The website,, will provide anyone involved in an equine-related incident with an easily accessible method of reporting it. Currently, an equestrian-related road incident may go unrecorded unless a human is injured and taken to hospital for treatment from the scene of the accident, thus statistics are poor.

Initially, the website will record road traffic incidents concerning ridden and driven horses, incidents involving low flying aircraft, road surface dressings, dangerous dogs, fireworks, wind turbines, and issues with gates. There will be provision to add other concerns as they are identified.

If you or your friends have fallen victim to any such incidents, then the BHS need your help; sharing your experiences could make a huge difference to all riders. Accurate statistics are essential in order to enable the BHS to lobby government for better conditions for equestrians and the BHS can only campaign when they have sufficient information to carry forward concerns.

An important article appeared in the latest BHS mag about liability/insurance. What it amounts to is that if you are involved in an accident and are not wearing Hi-Viz clothing the other party can claim you have acted negligently – it’s clear now – we must wear Hi-Viz when out riding or face the consequences.

PASSPORTS – this is important! Do you know if you are transporting your horse without its passport and you have the misfortune to break down, your road rescue company may refuse to get your horses safely home without their documents as they will be breaking the law and they will be fined not you if they are stopped! Seems like a good reason to take your passports everywhere doesn’t it?

Ask H&H: travelling horses

Jennifer Gordon Smith

Horse & Hound explains whether horses travel better facing in a particular direction

Q: I am looking to replace my old lorry. I cannot afford to buy a new top-spec lorry so am having one built, but I am unsure which direction the horses should face — I’ve heard different things from different people.

Some say horses are better not travelling in the herringbone position but, if this is the case, why are most lorries made to travel horses this way? It will be a two-horse lorry with a side ramp.

RG, Bristol

MICHELLE Rothwell, owner of Sussex-based transport company hoofmove, says this is a much-debated subject.

“I have tried various vehicles in my search for the safest and best way to transport horses,” she says.

“I found that horses travel best facing backwards, which is why we use Theault horseboxes, which have two rear-facing stalls.”

Her findings are backed up by research done by Dr Natalie K Waran at the University of Edinburgh on the Effects of transporting horses facing either forwards or backwards on their behaviour and heart-rate, which was published in the Veterinary Record in 1996.

“The most indicative finding is that the average heart-rate was significantly lower when horses travelled facing backwards,” says Michelle.

“They move around less, vocalise less and tend to hold their heads in a lower, more normal position. In this position there is less pressure on the fragile head and chest.”

Jane Gillie from Borders-based Eric Gillie Horse Transport, assisted in the research done by Dr Waran, and has 34 years’ experience of shipping horses.

“Initially, we give all our horses the choice of facing forwards, straight across or herringbone,” she says.

“Each horse needs to find its balance, but as long as you give them plenty of room, drive well and don’t leave them in the box too long, they shouldn’t travel badly.”

Her advice for buying a new horsebox is first to find out in which direction your horse prefers to travel by taking out the partitions for a short distance, and buy accordingly — preferably a vehicle that allows you to move the partitions around.

“I would say nine out of 10 of our horses prefer to stand herringbone than forward-facing,” she says. “The reason you see so many rubbed tails when you travel them forward-facing is because they use their back ends to balance, when they should be using their head and necks.”

Nicola Mellor from horsebox manufacturers Equi-Trek is also an advocate of rear-facing travel.

“Research in both the UK and America has proven that horses that face away from the direction of travel arrive at their destination more relaxed and less stressed that those that travel forwards,” she says.


hoofmove Tel: 08450 620088

Eric Gillie Tel: 01573 430252

Equi-Trek Tel: 01484 662912

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (6 March, ’08)

How safe is your lorry flooring?

Kathy Carter

It is obviously vital to maintain the interior of a lorry in order to travel safely and to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy for insurance purposes.

While floor checks do form part of a lorry’s plating, this does not guarantee long-term floor safety, and owners should also be vigilant about checking their own vehicles as follows:

Lift rubber mats at least once a month and allow the floor to dry out.
Check routinely for signs of mould or white patches on wooden floors.
A correctly installed aluminium plank floor (not chequer-plate sheet) is preferable to any type of wooden floor. Aluminium is lighter, stronger, safer and longer lasting. However, aluminium floors still benefit from having the mats lifted to dry out.
In the interests of safety, do not travel horses in a vehicle with just a single skin wooden floor.
If you do have a well-maintained, double wooden floor, check underneath your lorry or trailer at least every three months for any signs of softness in the wood, and to ensure that the steel cross-members (bearers) are not rusting.
If having a new aluminium floor fitted, check the installer is using quality materials — ask to see them.
Make sure the installer is using an isolating membrane between the steel chassis and the aluminium flooring to prevent electrolytic action; this occurs when metals such as aluminium and non-galvanised fittings (such as screws and bolts) come into contact with each other, trade electrons and corrode.
If possible, have your horse trailer, or lorry body and chassis, inspected at least twice a year.
When making regular checks yourself, if you find anything suspicious, take the vehicle to a horsebox specialist immediately for a safety check; reputable companies charge a minimal fee. Choose a local company with excellent references.

Coping with a breakdown

Expert advice from HORSE magazine on how to cope if your equine transport breaks down with horses on board

1. Stop

If possible, try to get your vehicle to a safe place. This would mean the hard shoulder on a motorway, as close to the left-hand verge as is possible. On smaller roads, a verge or gateway would suffice, away from any bends or blind summits.

2. Warn others

Switch on your hazard warning lights. Place a hazard triangle or flashing lamp on the side of the road, 50-100m behind the vehicle. If you are parked on the road close to a bend, someone should warn oncoming traffic before the bend. In poor visibility, or darkness, leave the sidelights on.

3. Personal and passenger safety

Anyone on the road is potentially in danger from other vehicles. Where possible, the police suggest drivers should stay outside the car on the nearest verge. On no account should doors on the same side as the road be utilised. Be aware of your own safety and wear bright or reflective clothing if you have any.

4. Unloading horses

This should never be done without the police present – this applies to country lanes, as well as motorways. Although you may be concerned about your horse’s welfare, think of the consequences if your horse breaks free. Talk to your horse to calm him, or call a local vet and have the animal sedated if necessary.

5. Be prepared

Before you begin any journey with horses, check you have the following useful items:

A mobile phone
A warning triangle or flashing light
Jump leads
Warm jacket
Reflective riding tabard
Membership details for your breakdown and recovery company
Your vet’s number, should you need advice.

According to Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance Services, when taking out a policy, horsebox owners must sign a declaration confirming the vehicle is roadworthy.

“It is the individual’s responsibility to tell their insurance company if there is anything that may influence the insurer’s acceptance,” he explains. “It is also the horsebox owner’s duty to ensure a reputable horsebox builder has thoroughly checked the floor, as failure to do so could put the policy at risk in the event of an accident. It would be irresponsible of an owner to have not carried out the above checks, as it obviously puts the welfare of their horses at risk.

“Also, when a lorry has a change of use and is converted to a horsebox, it is important that weight and use factors are considered. When carrying horses, there is an increased risk of the floor rotting. An insurer would expect these considerations to have been looked at before insuring a vehicle,” concludes Jeremy.

This advice was first published in Horse & Hound (2 August, ’07)