Equine lawyers have reported a new foul-mouthed phenomenon – riders “going ballistic” at drivers who appear to be obeying the rules of the road.

And, they say, it is leading to a spate of unfounded allegations against motorists.

Horse Law, the journal of the Equine and Animal Lawyers Association, has asked its members for examples of this behaviour.

Chairman of the association, Professor Barry Peachey, said: “It is an attitude
that seems to be increasingly fostered by riding schools, that drivers are the enemy who have no right to be on a road anywhere near a horse.”

He is aware of three or four current cases.

In one, he said, a child’s parents are suing after a tractor came up a lane behind their child’s pony and, although it stopped about 50yd away from her, the child became very upset.

Her parents are seeking compensation for her ordeal, said Prof Peachey.
Other cases involve riders hurling abuse at passing drivers.

But riding schools say bad behaviour from drivers makes them “hypersensitive”.
Kirsty Moreton of Markfield riding centre in Leics said her novice riders are not taken on the roads because it’s too dangerous.

“We are in a 30 [mph] zone but drivers do 40 or 50,” she said.

And Elaine Luxa of Poppyfield Equestrian Centre in Lincolnshire said she had been moving two yearlings in-hand on the road, with a person walking ahead and another behind those leading the young horses.

A driver became annoyed at having to wait and overtook, pulling in between the horses.

“It does make you overly concerned when drivers behave with such stupidity,” she said.

A petition to the Government, calling for questions about the correct way to pass animals to be part of the driving test, now has 2,137 signatories.

To sign, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34397

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (5 July 2012)