HORSE riders say they are scared to use a road linking their stables to a country park because of cyclists scaring their mounts.
Riders who keep their animals at stables off Manor Road and Lambourne Road, Chigwell, their route to Hainault Country Park, say cyclists who do not use their bells or shout when approaching can scare horses, causing them to bolt or jump sideways into the road or pavement.
Lesley Malloy, 60, who keeps her horse at Forest House Stables in Vicarage Lane, Chigwell, said: “It’s hard for us to know when a bike is there.
She said she recently fell off her horse when it charged off after seeing a reclining bike, where the rider sits closer to the ground than usual.
“It came out from between two cars and the horse didn’t have time to see him and it bolted. I still have pain.
“It’s very scary and frightening. People are doubtful about going out.”
She said she had noticed more cyclists on the road since the success of Team GB at this summer’s Olympics.
“Maybe the Olympics has inspired it and it’s their hobby, which is fine, but I just want people to be more aware,” she added.
She has tried speaking to nearby cycling clubs and posting messages on notice boards in the area, but this had not done anything to stop the problem.
“We can’t hear them and we would appreciate them calling ‘coming through’ or at least take notice if they’re asked to stop,” she added.
Sharon Holder, 42, who also keeps her horse at Forest House Stables, said: “Horses suddenly see bikes, especially if they’re between cars.
“They can see cars from a distance and focus on them, but suddenly there’s a bike there and they react.”
She said that a week ago, a bicycyle had scared a horse she was out with along the route.
“He came up out of nowhere and the horse spooked and charged onto the pavement,” she said. “The cyclist said ‘I tried to say hello,’ but he hadn’t.”