Appleby Horse Fair 2019 began with a dry day – however, this is not expected to last, which has the potential to cause issues with the River Eden.
Forecasts are predicting rain from Friday afternoon and for much of Saturday, which is likely to result in rising river levels.
Chairman of the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group Matthew Neal said: “If the levels rise too high, the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group will meet and may take the decision, on the grounds of public safety, to close the ramp access to the River Eden and advise all horse owners not to enter the river.
“This decision would only be taken if the rain was so heavy it made the river unsafe to enter.
“If the group does take this decision it will be publicised in the media and on social media and we would urge people to heed advice around the dangers of entering the water in such conditions.”
Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor of Cumbria Police said: “Public safety is always the priority for the police and all the other agencies involved in the fair.
“I would ask anyone visiting the fair to be particularly aware of their surroundings. There are fast-moving horses on the roads, particularly in the Flashing Lane and Battlebarrow.
“I would also reiterate the message that drivers in and around the area drive particularly carefully and cautiously throughout the time of the fair.”
RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Molloy said: “We have officers on the ground across Appleby for whom animal welfare is their primary consideration.
“We are working this year to push the message to horse owners about the importance of hydrating horses, particularly immediately after exercise.
“We would also stress to dog owners to leave their pets at home if planning to travel to the fair as there is the potential to spook horses and causes accidents. Do not bring your dog and leave it in a car where temperatures can rise rapidly, with potentially tragic consequences.”