An owner is urging drivers to take the time to understand how to pass horses on the roads after her daughter received verbal abuse from a car she asked to slow down.
Danielle Hutley, 23, was riding her mother’s horse Maze, a 15hh Arab, at Summer Lane, in the New Forest on 29 September, when she used hand signals to ask a car approaching from behind to slow down.
Danielle told H&H: “I was a quarter mile from the yard on our way home. I asked the driver to slow down with hand signals but he didn’t. He sped past with his window open and I said “don’t slow down then” and then he did an emergency stop and then reversed back at me at speed and got out of his car.
“He began shouting and swearing saying that we shouldn’t be on the road. I took my phone out to take a photograph of the car but when he started shouting abuse and insulting me I started recording – it went on for nearly four minutes before he got back in and drove off.”
“I’ve ridden on the New Forest for years and never had anything like this. The man was about 6ft3 and having someone coming at you shouting like that isn’t easy. I haven’t been out on the roads since but I won’t let it stop me.”
Sharon Hutley, Danielle’s mother told H&H: “Danielle was really shook up when she returned and was white as a sheet.
“I reported the incident to the police and they asked us what we wanted them to do, make a note of it or for them to go round and have a word with the driver. We asked for them to speak to the driver because he needs to be aware that this has consequences,who knows what he could do next time and they said they would.”
A week later Sharon received a letter from the police advising this matter would not be taken any further and she has since lodged an official complaint with the police.
“I know it’s a mild incident compared to what some other rider’s have gone through on the roads, but it is intimidation and it is a form of abuse,” said Sharon. “Some people haven’t got a clue on passing horses and I don’t think the Highway Code makes it known enough. People don’t understand hand signals – I’ve asked people to slow down and had fingers stuck up at me.
“People don’t know the rules of passing wide and slow and I don’t think people are made aware enough that we have a right to be on the road.”
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A spokesman for Hampshire Police told H&H: “We received a report of an incident which took place on Summer Lane, Exbury, at around 4pm on 29 September. It was reported that the driver of a Seat Leon used abusive language towards a woman in her 20s who was riding her horse.
“All incidents reported to police are risk assessed on the basis of threat, risk and harm, before a decision is made regarding whether an investigation can be progressed. A risk assessment of the circumstances of this incident was conducted, and on the basis of the information provided to us it was not deemed proportionate for police to take further action in this case.”
The police said they still encourage people to report incidents of this nature as “every case is different” and will be “assessed on the information available”.
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