Two riders fell when their horses were spooked by a tractor which failed to slow down, in an “entirely avoidable” incident.

Emma Heron’s horse trod on her ankle and Adele Horsley’s head landed “inches from the tractor tyre” on a road in Cumbria last Friday (25 August).

Emma told H&H the pair were out for a short hack and that both mares and their riders were wearing high-vis gear.

“The tractor, which had a tanker on the back, had already come past us once, quite quickly, on a wider bit of road and the horses had a bit of a panic but didn’t do anything,” she said.

“We went to the end of the road and turned round, and he came back.”

Emma said the tractor was approaching “at speed” and that the driver did slow slightly, in response to the riders’ signalled and verbal requests, but not enough.

“He just kept coming past, he wouldn’t stop,” Emma said. “We got on the verge and Adele had taken the lead as her horse is a bit older and more bombproof. I’ve no idea what happened, it was all so quick, but we ended up the other way round.

“The horses clashed together – I think they both panicked and tried to run away – we were trying to calm them down and he just kept coming past.”

Emma said both horses are normally not fazed by tractors, and that the drivers they meet are usually considerate, but the speed of this vehicle and the fact it was towing a tanker contributed to their fear.

“Adele fell on her back on the road, her head was inches from the tractor tyre,” she said. “My horse was in a bush, trying to get away, and I got caught and fell too.

“I was panicking, thinking if a car comes round the bend, it won’t be able to see her.”

Luckily, apart from superficial wounds, neither rider was badly hurt and nor were the horses.

And although a car driver stopped to help them remount, the tractor driver did not get out of his vehicle.

“I shouted at him and he just said we shouldn’t have been riding two abreast but we hadn’t been, we only ended up side by side as the horses panicked,” she said. “And maybe we should have been two abreast as it might have made him stop.

“But he stayed in his tractor and didn’t say much; no sorry, no anything.

“He was only a young guy but it was a big tractor with a big tanker; it was silly to be going that fast.”

Emma wanted to share her story to help raise awareness among drivers.

“It was very scary but it could have been worse,” she said. “We’re ok and it’s lucky really it was adults rather than any of the children at our yard.



“But it’s just about respect. People might not want horses on the road but we are and drivers need to realise they’re unpredictable.

“This is a situation that could have been avoided if the driver had just had some respect for other road users.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.