I've been placing off-putting objects on it to discourage the horses from using it, but it didn't seem necessary as none of them were showing an interest in walking on such a dodgy looking surface anyway. So as time went by and the off-putting objects fell off or blew away, the bridge was left undefended.
Yesterday we had a bunch of kids at the house, and Bridget took a shine to two of the teenage girls, following them about whenever they were in the field. So when they walked across the bridge, she followed.
One foot went right through a board. She got over safely, and I thought she would be scared to cross again soon. Not so. A few minutes later the two girls crossed again, and Bridget went after them. This time, I looked on in fright from across the yard as Bridget went right through with all four legs. She struggled for a few moments, as I ran over, and by the time I reached her, she had extricated herself relatively unscathed, with only a few superficial scratches.
I was full of contrition and sympathy. Bridget, however, seemed to think the whole endeavour had been a challenging experience, and that she could improve her technique with further practice. She turned around, placed her front feet on the bridge again, and said, "Let's see if we can't get it right this time."
So, while I appreciate Bridget's intrepid character, no more delays - the bridge had to go.
After the incident, Bridget stood by the gate, trying to get our attention. She got hold of a piece of plastic pipe and waved it about, and then walked into the corner of the field where she could reach a piece of old gate and grabbed that with her teeth too. I really think she thought falling through the bridge and getting out again had been an interesting escapade and was looking for a fun follow-up activity. I'm signing her up for Outward Bound.
Meanwhile, sorry for being a bad horse owner and leaving a dangerous bridge in temptation's way.