FED-UP horse owners have called for urgent action to be taken after a rider was abused and threatened by residents during a saunter along the seafront.

Nicola Brown often travels to Frinton to ride her ponies and horses on the sandy beaches.

On Sunday, she was riding along the town’s coastline with friends when she said two dogwalkers launched a ball at their two horses and two ponies.

The ball struck Mrs Brown’s friend’s daughter Grace, 15, who became upset and frightened her scared pony might gallop off and injure someone.

She said the disgruntled couple became aggressive accusing Mrs Brown of breaking the law.

Riding in front of the promenade’s beach huts and on the Greensward is not permitted, however, between May and September riding on the beach is allowed before 9am and after 6pm.

In the winter there are no time restrictions.

Mrs Brown said: “I think people don’t seem to realise that horse riding is dangerous and many people have been killed through accidents.

“It is completely ignorant behaviour to attack a pony which has no idea what is going on. We have enjoyed many rides in Frinton, but it is a shame some people want to spoil it.”

Like Mrs Brown, Emma Overton, 38, from Little Clacton, also uses Frinton’s beaches for her outings.

In the past she has experienced negative exchanges with residents while riding along the seafront, some of which have put her in dangerous situations.

She said last year when she was riding through shallow waters, two dogs rushed towards her horse and started barking and nipping at its heels.

She said the dogs’ owners laughed throughout the ordeal, despite Emma’s horse bolting and charging into deeper waters.

She said: “The recent incident of the ball throwing really doesn’t surprise me and this could have been a terrible accident, which will happen soon unless something is done.

“Some people are trying to make it difficult for horse riders. Even when we do abide by the rules, we get smeared.

“Frinton beach is a lovely ride and I know people travel far to use it but there is always an incident when we go there.”