Police are searching for the driver of a van who left a horse badly lacerated in a hit and run incident.
Beckenham rider Zoe Bullas said both her and her mare Daisy have been so “traumatised” by the experience that she will never ride on the road again.
“Even if she regained her confidence, it’s more me,” said the 21-year-old. “It was terrifying.”
Zoe had gone out for an early morning ride on Sunday (April 30) when a blue van and trailer containing tyres passed too close on a narrow road, spooking Daisy, who spun away from the vehicle, causing Zoe to fall off.
The 21-year-old rider believes the trailer then struck the French Trotter, causing a gash at the top of her rear leg that went through three layers of muscle.
“I always ride out early on the weekend when the roads are quiet to avoid traffic, and it was the first vehicle we had seen all morning,” Zoe explained.
“I saw a van with a trailer on the back approaching for a good 10 or 15 seconds, but he was acting like he was the only one on the road. There’s enough room for two cars to pass if you slow down, but he came straight down the middle of the road.
“The trailer did a double bounce as it came past us and shook. Daisy spun and there wasn’t enough space for her. I think her back end went down and she essentially sat on the trailer.
“I just remember being on the floor and she got up and ran off without me. I couldn’t believe the driver didn’t stop. There was blood all over her.”
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Zoe, who escaped the accident with just scrapes and bruises, ran after the 11-year-old mare, who was caught near her stables with the help of some passing cyclists.
Vets are now hoping that 15.1hh Daisy, who Zoe has owned for six years, will make a full recovery.
“The wound was too wide open for the vets to stitch and there is muscle exposed. The head surgeon at my vets suggested the best course of action was to let it heal naturally,” Zoe explained.
“You could fit a whole hand in her wound a few days afterwards, but the pocket is getting smaller and smaller. The healing has been amazing so far — it still looks bad but it’s not so raw and sore.
“She’s fed up with the box rest but doing OK.”
Zoe is waiting to hear from police whether the van has been caught on CCTV.
“There’s a camera 20metres away from where the accident took place,” Zoe said. “I used to ride out with a helmet cam and typically this happened on one of the times I didn’t put it on.
“It might have caught the car’s details, but I wouldn’t want to see the footage and relive it — it’s bad enough going over it in my head.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said no arrests had been made and enquiries were ongoing.
“On Sunday, 30 April at 08:10 the horse was being ridden in Layhams Road, Keston. A collision occurred between a blue van and the horse; the van did not stop.
“The rider was thrown from the horse, no injuries. The horse received a gash to its side,” he said.