Equestrians are considering taking legal action against the Government after low flying fighter planes caused them to fall off their horses.

Kimberley Heron was enjoying a riding lesson with a friend when two Royal Air Force Tornadoes passed overhead.

The horses were startled by the noise and bolted towards the stables, throwing the two 50-year-olds off their saddles and onto the ground.

Ms Heron suffered a fracture and bruising to the pelvis which developed into a severe kidney infection while her friend, who refused to be named, broke her ribs.

The women, who both live in The Crescent, Horsham, fell of their horses on May 3 and needed five weeks off work to recover.

They are furious with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for allowing planes to fly over the stables in Pookbourne Lane, Sayers Common, Burgess Hill.

Ms Heron, a data manager, said: "This incident has been heavily intrusive into our lives and we are still suffering the consequences.

"I was bedridden for two weeks because the bruising of the pelvis caused stasis of the kidney.

"My job is very pressurised and I tried to continue working all the while I was at home but in the end I became very ill.

"After ten days the infection developed and I was extremely unwell and on the verge of being taken into hospital."

The women are still having chiropractic treatment for their back and osteopathy for their muscles and joints.

They are considering seeking compensation from the MoD.

Her friend, a teacher, was riding Ms Heron's horse, Tweed, while Ms Heron was riding her 18-year-old daughter's horse, Pearl.

Tweed, who had an underlying problem with his front foot, has been lame since the incident.

Ms Heron said: "It has had major repercussions on my family experience.

"My partner had to take time off work to go and see the horses in the evenings.

"The MoD needs to take more responsibility and must give warning of their training exercises.

"I don't think it is alright to hurt a few Britons before they get to Iraq."

An MoD spokesman said the planes were flying at 450ft and that no flying regulations had been breached.

He said: "Our crews need to be trained to meet every eventuality but it is Ministry of Defence policy that we limit our low flying as much as possible.

"Every flight that you see will be carrying out an operation, or an essential training task that is preparing the crews for operations at home or abroad.

"You are, therefore, likely to see our aircraft operating below 500 feet."

He added that RAF pilots try to avoid flying above stables wherever possible.

Equestrians can contact the Low Flying Cell at Wittering in Cambridgeshire on 0800 515544 to find out about RAF movements.

What do you think? Should the MoD steer clear of farmland for missions or are these operations vital to keep British airmen alive? Leave your comments below.