Key national organisations were amongst those addressing delegates at The British Horse Society’s equestrian access conference.
Representatives from Natural England, Sustrans, The National Trust, Hampshire Local Access Forum and others made the journey to the charity’s Warwickshire headquarters to speak about their work and to share ideas for furthering access and rights of way for equestrians.
A popular area of discussion was the identification of safe off-road riding. Representatives from the Trails Trust shared methods for claiming and dedicating rights of way while Sarah Bucks, chairman of the BHS Access and rights of way advisory committee, gave a talk on the Society’s forthcoming book on researching rights of way.
The conference was also a sounding board for several exciting developments in the equestrian world, including the results of the Society’s pioneering research into the Health Benefits of Riding. Professor Andrew Church of the University of Brighton presented the findings of the research. The preliminary observations of a trial of self-closing gates on bridleways was also shared, this information will help formulate future BHS recommendations on equestrian gates.
BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, Mark Weston, said: “It is refreshing to see so many organisations that are prepared to press for the improvements of equestrian and multi-user access. The conference highlighted a number of ways in which the BHS can work, and indeed is working, with other organisations to strengthen equestrian access.”