A VOLUNTEER described being faced with with piles of horse manure on the Innerleithen section of a multi-use path.

Neil Andrew is in a squad which maintains the Sustrans path – popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Mr Andrew told a meeting of Innerleithen and District Community Council (IDCC) on Monday evening: “I am refusing to touch horse poop, it’s something that someone else has selfishly left.

“It is disgusting that the horse riding community in this area is leaving this mess on the multi-use path.

“Children use the path to learn to ride their bikes and it is not nice to fall off in this mess.

“If a rider’s horse poops on the path they should get off and do something about it.

“Recently I had to clean five separate loads of horse dung. There’s no necessity for horse riders to be on the path, there are plenty of tracks in the forest they could use.”

Tweeddale East councillor Julie Pirone, of the Conservatives, said that she rides a horse and the British Horse Society recommends riders dismounting and kicking the dung into the grass.

Ms Pirone added: “I try to avoid surfaced paths and the road and use tracks.”

IDCC member Andrew Weir said: “The right thing to do is to talk to the stables and riders and make them aware of the problem.”

Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler added: “This subject has been raised at IDCC a number of times.

“It is down to the horse owners. It is a multi-use path and people have to use it responsibly.”

Another IDCC member suggested that the main group of riders using the path are from Haughead Stables, near Innerleithen, and that numerous letters have been sent in the past.

A spokesperson from Haughhead Stables said: “We have never had any letters from IDCC and are not the only stables in the area.

“When it is safe to do so we always kick poop away.

“Horse poop is just grass. It is not harmful in any way, unlike dog faeces.

“What really gets our goat is that we could come to IDCC and tell them about the waste thrown in our fields, including human urine in bottles.

“It is too dangerous to use forest paths for horse riding because of all the mountain bikers.”

Mr Andrew added: “If it was the dog owning community causing this problem IDCC members would be up in arms.”

He continued: “Recently I was with some Australian tourists and we had to climb over a pile of horse dung on the River Tweed footbridge at Cardrona. In Australia there is not a problem, the horse wears a bag attached to the saddle to collect the poop.”

IDCC member Sheila Daly questioned whether it was also an issue for health and safety due to the slipperiness of the mess.

A search online quickly reveals that equine urine and manure bags are available from retailers for about £100.