On the other hand,visitor attractions to National Parks and other places of natural beautyprovides positive impacts on the communities who live there. The Office forNational Statistics, 2011 claim that turnover, the amount of enterprises andoverall employment in tourism increased by 11% and 44% in both rural and urbanareas between 2003 and 2009Despite this, disputescan occur between trail users i.e. horse riders and cyclists.
This often occursdue to path/trail width, as users often believe they are the priority. Beeton(1999) suggests that different recreational users have differing conflicts. Inthe USA, it was understood that hikers have a negative opinion of horse riders.A study suggested that 4% of horse riders disapproved of encountering hikers,but over 36% of hikers did not like meeting riders (Watson et al, 1993).
Despite severalenvironmental impacts, horse riding can provide a range of social benefits tothe public, both physically and mentally. The British Horse Society (2017) undertooka survey, whereby 80% of people surveyed claimed that riding made them feel”quite a lot” or “extremely” cheerful, relaxed, happy or active. This is mostlikely the release of endorphins, which causes positive thoughts afterexercising. Riding can act as a meditation process, whereby people within theBHS survey claimed that a large percentage of participants could “escape” fromreal life and focus on riding. Consequently, this has then improved selfconfidence and self-esteem. The spread of invasivespecies can also occur as a result of horse riding, spread primarily throughthe animal’s hoof.
Actionbioscience (2017) state that the introduction ofinvasive species to a location is the second threat to biodiversity. With no predators, invasive species canspread rapidly. Native wildlife is therefore threatened because they lackdefence techniques.
Invasive species can cause death of a native plant, forexample the suffocation of trees whereby ivy (Hedera helix) covers the bark. Soil erosion involvesthe washing away of top soil with the WWF (2017) stating that there has been a50% reduction of top soil on Earth over the past 150 years. This can result inthe washing of nutrient rich soil, consequently impacting crop yields. Reducingnutrient levels can also influence tree species, whereby a reduction in topsoil reduces tree nutrients and impacts tree roots. Consequently, trees canbecome vulnerable to uprooting.
Loss of topsoil means that there is lessinfiltration of water, resulting in a higher risk of flooding and greaterchance of water sources i.e. rivers and streams becoming polluted.Subsequently, resulting in a fish decline and impact on the overall food chain.
The UK Marine SpecialArea of Conservation (2017), state that horse riding can cause greaterindividual ground pressure than cars and walkers. It is therefore unsurprising,that many land owners and farmers are withdrawn to offer their land for horseaccess, despite potential economic benefits.