Race horses banned from Woolacombe beach

Victor Dartnall's horses have been banned from Woolacombe beach. Victor Dartnall's horses have been banned from Woolacombe beach.

Thursday, January 24, 2013
3:53 PM

Racehorse trainer speaks out after being banned from beach after nearly two decades riding there.

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A RACEHORSE trainer who has been exercising his horses on the beach for 18 years has been banned from Woolacombe Bay.

Victor Dartnall said he was threatened with an injunction on Tuesday from beach owners Parkin Estates if he bought his horses back onto the beach.

He has been training race horses, including Grand National winners, since 1994 and riding them on the beach during the winter months since 1995.

Mr Dartnall, who is based at Higher Shutscombe Farm in Brayford, said the only horses now allowed on the beach were those of the local riding school.

“In the winter weather when it’s snowy we can’t exercise the horses on the ground, but they need to move or they will get cramp and develop problems,” he said.

“Whenever we go down onto the beach it is always empty; on Monday I counted 11 people and four dogs along with our six horses.

“It’s a three-mile beach and there is plenty of room for everyone.

“We only ever go when it is frosty during the winter and the local people and holiday makers love it.

“They often stand back and watch the horses and the horses have a wonderful time as well.”

Mr Dartnall said the problems have been building up for some time and now they will have to find another beach to exercise the horses on.

“The horses were never doing anybody any harm, and I think this just satisfies their prejudices.

“I’m now trying to find another beach we can take the horses to but it will mean longer journeys and that’s difficult with a horsebox.”

The Gazette contacted Parkin Estates but no one was available for comment.

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