With spring now here and the weather improving, it is the ideal time for horse riders to get out and about and enjoy the countryside.
However, as lambing time is also under way, the British Horse Society Scotland (BHSS), Dumfries and Galloway Region, would like to highlight the importance of responsible riding, especially with regards to fields with stock and their young.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code, approved by Scottish Parliament in 2004, gives information and guidance on how everyone can safely enjoy the countryside. Riders should be aware that pregnant ewes, if stressed, can easily miscarry, while newborn lambs are at risk of being separated from their mothers if disturbed. Therefore an alternative route should be taken while out hacking to avoid entering fields and creating a potentially damaging situation. Not only will this avoid causing the sheep immense stress but also avoid the knock-on economic loss that the farmer will take as a result.
As advised in the Scottish Outdoor Access code, walkers (including those with dogs) and cyclists should also follow the same advice in order to allow everyone to enjoy the countryside.