Public transport firm pays out to horse club

Natasha and her horse Ferdi at Lands Farm
Natasha and her horse Ferdi at Lands Farm

Steps are being taken to ensure riders’ safety after a teenager was left injured when a bus caused their horses to bolt.

Bus company Stagecoach made a contribution to a local riding club after the incident which happened in Westhoughton on May 1.

Olivia Essex was making her way down Hindley Road to Lands Farm, when a Stagecoach bus passed, alarming the horse and throwing her to the floor.

Olivia was with her friend, 16-year-old Natasha Crompton, who was yet to mount her horse when the bus drove passed but lost control of the unmounted pony, resulting in the animal running uncontrolled down the road.

At the time, a Stagecoach spokeswoman confirmed the incident and said the company would be working to improve driver training.

Natasha’s mum Susan told the Observer they had been working closely with the bus firm to ensure the future safety of other young riders in the area.

Susan said: “In Westhoughton we have quite a big horse community and the stretch of road where the incident happened isn’t great. So I had asked Stagecoach to help raise awareness of the dangers.

“The first thought of mine was to use the ad space on the buses themselves to promote the British Horse Riding Society, but Stagecoach get too much revenue from that space, so they said no.”

She added: “We then discussed putting signs up 
by the road, but the council need to give permission to do that.”

So Stagecoach then sent Susan a cheque for £300, which is going towards the local group, Westhoughton Riding Club.

A Stagecoach spokesman said: “Safety is always our top priority and our drivers are professionally trained.

“As a result, we plan to include road safety material from The British Horse Society as part of our driver training in the future.”