A rider has been left with life changing injuries and the horse she was riding put down following a collision in the New Forest.

Cheryl Kirkhope was struck from behind on Saturday, 6 July by a Mitsubishi truck after she had stopped to give tourists directions.

Ms Kirkhope, who has been riding in the area for more than a decade, told H&H that she believes that the driver thought he could squeeze past her.

Sunny, the 12-year old gelding that she was riding, had to be put down due to his injuries. Ms Kirkhope was taken to hospital suffering from a burst vertebra, multiple broken ribs and severe concussion.

78-year-old  man from Ringwood was interviewed by police under caution in connection with the incident.

Ms Kirkhope, who is still recovering in hospital, said: “The traffic hasn’t got worse. I have just noticed an increased lack of respect for horses and riders on the road.

“The driver was local and should have known to slow down.

“I just want to beg people to slow down so that horses can get out of the way. Otherwise horses will get killed.

Sunnny

Sunny who had to be put down following the crash

The British Horse Society (BHS) say the accident highlights the need to educate motorists to slow down for horses.

Sheila Hardy, senior executive for BHS safety, said: “It is a horrendous thing whenever vehicles collide with horses and often local people are involved.

“The problem can be that local drivers are more confident and take risks that visitors wouldn’t.

“We would also advise all riders regardless of the weather or season to continue to wear reflective gear on both themselves and their horses.”