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A few days ago I sat down to write a very different blog post. It seems that nearly every week I see a story on social media of a horse and rider having an incident on the road. These incidents range from something small like a rude comment made by a driver, to a horse or rider losing their life in a tragic accident.
These stories combined with personal experiences of careless drivers has caused many riders to avoid taking their horses on the road at all, sticking to riding over the fields.
However, I have also seen an increase in stories of riders being put in danger by naughty dogs/careless handlers. The past month I have seen a story of a very dangerous incident of a rider being thrown off after their horse was chased and attacked by a dog at the beach and another story of dogs chasing/following a horse on a bridle way.
If you see these stories, as a horse owner you can’t help but think is anywhere safe to take your horse? I know lots of people who don’t hack at all due to not feeling safe and that is just terrible!
But on Saturday I had an experience which restored my faith in drivers. I decided to take Scottie on our first hack since moving yards. We went out by ourselves, in the snow, covered head to toe in Hi Vis. There is lots of good hacking near us, however, you do have to go down a fairly busy road to get to it and others at the yard have said that drivers through there tend to be in such a rush that they don’t give you any space.
Scottie was a little anxious about going out by himself but he was fine. There were lots of parked cars on our side of the road which we needed to overtake and it was at this moment in time that the horses in the field next to the road decided to go mental.
Now Scottie isn’t stupid or silly. But when something like this is going on, we can’t walk sensibly down the road. We had a queue of cars forming behind us, so I we jig jogged sideways for 10m so I could pull in and let them all pass. Despite being upset by what the other horses were doing, Scottie stood perfectly out the way while the cars passed.
One van driver stopped, put his hazards on and signalled for us to go. He then drove slowly behind us, giving us plenty of space as we jig jogged past the horses galloping up and down. Once we were past the horses and Scottie was walking sensibly again, he slowly over took us giving us plenty of space and I made sure I thanked him.
I couldn’t believe how kind and thoughtful this van driver had been. I had pulled over out of the way so he didn’t need to stop and wait for us. But not only did he let us go, he also acted in such as way that no other cars on the road could do anything to put me and Scottie in danger.
This one act of kindness has made my day and shows that there are plenty of thoughtful drivers out there.