As riders continue to face real dangers on British roads, Horse & Hound magazine has launched a road safety campaign with a free road safety sticker available in this week’s issue (28 June 2001).

Horse & Hound believes it is vital that the sticker’s message, “Watch out for horses – please drive slowly”, gets through to drivers if safety on the roads is to improve.

A 15-year-old chesnut mare called Taz, owned by Elsie Slayford, from Pewsey, Wilts, was hit by a black transit van in an accident on a narrow country lane just last month.

The driver of the van failed to stop, despite knocking horse and rider into the high bank beside the road. Both were bruised and badly shaken by the incident. The driver has been apprehended and is likely to face criminal charges for failing to stop and dangerous driving.

Horse & Hound magazine Editor Arnold Garvey said:”Last winter we saw so many horrific road accidents involving horses that I felt we had to do something to try to improve the situation. I have seen at first-hand the devastation these accidents cause, with the wives of two friends hit from behind by cars travelling far too fast.

“It’s very hard for the average motorist to realise the implications of colliding with half a ton of horse, to realise how fast a horse or pony can react, and how unpredictable this can be.

“What we really need is a government-backed television campaign similar to the one which was launched on behalf of motor cyclists a few years back.

“Over the next few months we will have a regular road safety theme in the magazine and will be campaigning to draw attention to the fact that more than 3,000 horses and ponies are involved in road traffic accidents every year, with heart-breaking consequences for their owners and their families, as well as trauma and serious injury to some car drivers and their cars.”