Riders Access Group
Falkirk Area Riders Access Group (FARAG) is a voluntary organisation of people interested in horse riding and carriage driving in the area around Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland. FARAG was founded in 2000 to mark the millennium with a determined effort to improve horse access to off road areas.
Safety and improved quality of life for horse riders and carriage drivers. Our work also benefits motorists and other road users by helping to reduce the risk of horse / vehicle accidents.
FARAG aims to co-operate FARAG seeks co-operation with all land owners, walkers, cyclists and others who love the countryside, aiming to ensure that access is always responsible, bringing pleasure to everyone and annoyance to no-one. We all value this beautiful part of the world, and responsible access is the way to bring the whole community together in enjoying its beauty.
Farag now has a Facebook page here
We were not quite sure what sort of a response to expect from this, but so far it has been very positive.
The hope is that this might prove an easier way for FARAG members to exchange thoughts on matters of mutual concern without having to relay everything through Sheila. Please let us know what you think.
Falkirk Area Riders Access Group (FARAG) is involved in various consultations with public authorities and grant giving bodies. We liaise closely with Falkirk Council.
Voluntary associations such as Falkirk Area Riders Access Group are entitled to apply for grants for access improvements that are not available to Falkirk Council.
However our influence depends upon our membership. We need maximum support to be effective. If you are a local rider or carriage driver we really need your support. In principle we cover the whole of the Falkirk Council area.
Inevitably however our work concentrates on those areas where members come forward with ideas. There are many square miles of countryside in Falkirk District and we cannot know what riders need everywhere unless riders tell us! Similarly, our influence is undermined if members leave once their own area is catered for.
In some cases landowners are hostile to horse access, and whilst sometimes this results from prejudice it cannot be denied that a few horse riders have in the past let us all down by exercising access rights irresponsibly. We need to educate everyone involved about what responsible access means.
The British Horse Society says there are the equivalent of eight road accidents a day involving horses. There are over three million horse riders in the UK .
Most riders would rather not be on the road because they are aware of the danger. But there aren't enough bridleways and opportunities for countryside access. Those bridleways that do exist are fragmented and often cannot be reached or followed without using public roads.
Horses can easily be unsettled, especially by inconsiderate drivers and other road users. A horse will remember a bad experience on the road and be fearful in situations he feels to be similar, even if a driver sees no danger. Horses may spook at litter or gusts of wind that a driver may not even notice. Most incidents arise from a lack of understanding, so educating motorists and horse riders is important.
The law in Scotland now permits access. It does not make it feasible. In many areas there are physical barriers of terrain or vegetation. In others equestrian access, though legal, is denied by "kissing gates" or other obstructions.
What is needed is an organised effort to open up the countryside to responsible access.