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‘You don’t want a death on your conscience’: rider hopes video of road fall will help educate drivers

A former master who fell from his experienced horse while riding on the road says he hopes the video of the incident will help educate drivers.

Jeremy Gumbley was hacking his 12-year-old former Flat racehorse Red near his Surrey home on 11 December, with his hat camera recording vehicles’ passing.

After some cars had passed too fast or too close, or both, Red spooked without warning, depositing Jeremy on the ground.

Neither was hurt but Jeremy told H&H he hopes the video may raise some awareness.

“A couple of days before, I’d been out and experienced some fast cars, some all right and some people who almost don’t notice you’re there,” he said.

“They drive past at 40 or 50mph and fortunately, my horse is ok, but then the motorist thinks that’s ok and will do that to the next horse, and the next, until one day, something goes wrong.”

Jeremy said he was surprised by the level of interest in his video, and that he tried to engage with those who responded.

“I tried to address the usual arguments people come up with; that horses aren’t insured or taxed, or shouldn’t be on the road,” he said. “I understand but the reality is, whether or not anyone ‘should be’ there, we’re all allowed on the roads so why don’t we get on?

“Slowing down an extra 5mph could allow you to stop your car in time if something happened – and avoid damaging your pride and joy, if nothing else.

“It doesn’t take much to slow down a little bit, but it could be enough to avoid catastrophically changing someone’s life for ever.”

Jeremy said his argument for drivers who do not like cyclists or horses is the same: if they do pass too close and fast, and kill that person, it could mean a prison sentence, as well as having to live with the knowledge they had caused someone’s death.

“No one wants that on their conscience,” he said. “You don’t want to look back and think ‘I wish I’d just slowed down, then I wouldn’t have killed that person – or that horse’.”

Jeremy added that while some people say ‘horses are unpredictable’ as a argument, so are other drivers, and this is no excuse to drive badly past them.

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“When my horse jumped at whatever it was, I still don’t know, we’d just been passed by a car,” he said. “If it had been a bit further down, or if it had been earlier, when a motorbike passed at a speed it couldn’t have stopped, there would have been an accident.

“I love my horses – sometimes more than the people I spend a lot of time with! – and I don’t want them or a person to get hurt.

“I may come across as a miserable bugger but I want to enjoy my ride. I pay all my taxes and my horses are fully insured, and we have all the high-vis on; I’ve taken all this into consideration when I ride on the road.

“But with a lot of drivers, they just don’t know. My wife showed the video to her colleagues and they all said: ‘I didn’t realise a horse could move that fast’. That’s the message.”

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