Milnrow & Newhey Bridleways Group

The Great Manure Debate

Gone are the days when your horse’s manure inevitably deposited en route, would be welcomed by a grateful gardener, keen to shovel it up and put it on their roses; after all you would have to pay for it at the garden centre and cart it home yourself!   Times have changed - even the suggestion to someone objecting to your horse’s untimely deposit can aggravate the situation somewhat.  Perhaps gardening is not such a popular hobby these days.


Horse and Hound have reported on the issue of horse manure on more than one occasion over recent years.  Citing a car rental firm which called for riders to be fined for not poop-a-scooping because it “makes a mess” on the roads and can be slippy for motorbikes and cyclists, the article reassured readers this would unlikely be the case anytime soon.   In 2014, the same magazine reported results of a poll where 97% (of over 3000 residents) thought that riders should clear up their horses’ manure from the road.  89% thought riders should be fined like dog owners mainly due to the misconceived idea that it poses a health risk.  Even more surprisingly, according to the Liverpool Echo (2009 and 2017), Merseyside mounted police have not escaped criticism for not picking up their horses’ manure while carrying out their duties.


Not everyone loves horses, we get that, but it’s important to remember that horse manure is not hazardous to health for humans or animals (unlike accepted daily pollutants such car exhaust fumes).  It mainly consists of the indigestable part of grass, which quickly biodegrades, helping biodiversity, fertilising the land and washing away without a trace in our wet and drizzly climate.  So there is little surprise to the horse owner that there is there is no legal requirement for riders to move their horse manure from a highway, byway or bridleway or hefty fine for not picking it up.


All that said, riders want to live in their communities without fear of reprisals or lynching by social media. Therefore, in the interests of keeping the peace and showing consideration, the British Horse Society suggest if your horse poos on the road and it happens to be in front of someone’s drive way, then dismount if safe to do so and kick it to the side or return after your ride to remove it. 


There are however, lots of considerations while riding out – traffic, obstructed or poorly maintained bridleways, inclement weather, loose dogs, spooky horses.  Therefore, it’s frequently not ideal to get off your horse and deal with their droppings – you may be on a busy road or have a fidgety horse who will not stand quiet while you do the necessary.  Then there’s the situation of having to safely remount - while some riders may not be as agile as they could be (yes those accusations have been made), other riders may not wish to put the strain on their horses back by pulling themselves up into the saddle from the ground.  These factors are perfectly comprehendible by the horse rider but less understood by the non-riding public who tend to think riders are just too lazy and inconsiderate.   


So while we hope there’s not going to be too much cause, Milnrow & Newhey Bridleways have gathered a team of volunteers who will go out and remove any offending poos that have been reported to us.  As a collective of like-minded people we should show solidarity, stick together and show we are a considerate bunch of folk who just want to enjoy our equine pals in peace and harmony.

If you want to join the volunteer team, please get in touch and we’ll add you to our chat group.


Contact Information

Milnrow & Newhey Bridleways Group

Meeting times

Meetings held 4 times a year