Exmouth beach warning for horse riders after near miss incident with dogs

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 July 2020

Horses on the beach at Exmouth. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Horses on the beach at Exmouth. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Alex Walton

Horse riders have been reminded to avoid riding on Exmouth’s golden sands when the beach is crowded.

The warning comes from a regular visitor to Exmouth seafront who witnessed an incident where a spooked horse nearly trampled a dog near Orcombe Point.

East Devon District Council, who owns the beaches in the region, advises that horse riding should not take place on one of its beaches if it is likely to be busy.

Grahame Woodward, who along with his wife has visited Exmouth five times in the last month, has urged horse riders to be aware of who else is using the beach when they go for a ride, especially when the tide is coming in.

In a letter to the Journal, he said: “This incident, which could have had very serious consequences for the horse owners had someone being injured by the spooked horse, was entirely avoidable had the horse riders used their common sense and decided against exercising their horses when there was clearly the potential for conflict with one or more of the many dogs off the leash on limited beach space.”

According to Mr Woodward, who was walking his dog towards Orcombe Point on Monday (July 20), a large dog reacted badly to two horses coming onto the beach.

He said this prompted one of the horses to ‘kick out’ at the animal and dismount its rider before chasing a second dog across the sand.

The small dog was saved by its owner from being trampled by the unmounted horse.

Mr Woodward added: “I must say how lovely it is to see horses being exercised in the sea at Exmouth and I saw that a number of people were taking photographs on their mobile phone.

“But however ‘nice’ a dog ordinarily is, all breeds can be prone to sudden ‘flight/fight’ reactions in certain situations.”

East Devon District Council say not all beaches are suitable for horse riding.

The authority also suggests that horse riders should give way to other beach users, act sensibly and remember that not all beach users are familiar with horses.

The council also said riders should check tide times before riding and horse boxes are not permitted on the beach.

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