Horse rider ‘lucky to be alive’ after cattle stampede

Lara with Georgie, the horse that got charged by the cattle

Lara with Georgie, the horse that got charged by the cattle - Credit: Archant

A woman injured by a stampede of longhorn cattle while riding her horse has said she is lucky to be alive.

Lara Newson, who keeps her horse at a farm in Lilley near Hitchin, was out with a friend last Wednesday riding her horse across a field when they were charged by a herd of longhorn cattle that belong to Offley Hoo farm, which led to the 42-year-old goring her right leg.

Ms Newson, who has been riding horses for 40 years, said: “The track which goes from Austage End to Great Offley is an official bridleway, so people using this track are unaware of the risks they are taking.

“At first we couldn’t see the cattle as they were standing behind the trees, but as we were calmly crossing the field the entire herd of about 40 longhorns stampeded.

“As they came nearer they lowered their heads to charge and we had to gallop to the gate, but whilst opening it one beast caught up with us and charged, goring my leg.

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“We are lucky to be alive. Had we been on foot we would not have been able to outrun the herd. Had we been less experienced riders we would have come off and undoubtedly been trampled to death.”

Ms Newson, who lives in north London, said people should be alerted to the incident before someone is killed, but said the incident would not prevent her riding.

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“I’m an experienced rider but I won’t be riding on that bridleway while those cows are there,” she said. “I have always known cows to be docile animals, but these were not. We were terrified.”

Ms Newson, who regularly rides her horses in the area, said she would not be able to ride for at least a month because of her injury.

“The bone is bruised and I have a deep laceration which is very painful,” said the mother-of-one.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council, which is responsible for rights of ways, said: “We have been made aware of this incident and have been in contact with the injured party and the landowner to establish what happened.

“Landowners are obliged to ensure the safety of the public when using these public highways. The livestock in question have now been removed from this field and the matter has been reported to the Health and Safety Executive.”

The Comet contacted the manager of Offley Hoo, Matt Broadhurst, who said: “I am not prepared to make a comment on the incident.”

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