A young rider whose horse was killed in a road accident is urging drivers to slow down.
Alicia Whitaker, 18, was hacking on a short section of the A417 near Lechlade, Glos at around 2.30pm on 6 June when a car hit her and her horse from behind.
“I have to go down the road to get to a bridleway, and I was returning from a hack when, on a straight section of road, a car came straight into the back of us,” she said. “The first thing I knew about it was on impact. We flipped up over the bonnet, over the car and landed on the left-hand side on the road on the verge the other side. It was very traumatic and I can’t even describe how frightening the whole incident was.”
Alicia, who was conscious throughout the accident, suffered spinal fractures and a broken ankle. Her horse, a four-year-old Andalucian mare called Allegra, broke both hips and had to be put down at the scene.
“I always hack by myself and Allegra is very docile and perfect in traffic,” said Alicia, who was wearing a HS1 hat and a body protector.
The driver of the car stopped and came to the scene. Another driver stopped and helped call the police, an ambulance and a vet, while a third driver in the traffic behind happened to be a vet and was able to sedate Allegra while they were waiting for the emergency services to arrive.
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Alicia was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford and is now recovering at home in Buscot, Oxfordshire.
“To get a big, 16.2hh horse up in the air and flip us over the driver must have been going too fast,” said Alicia. “I think the real message for drivers is that there could always be other road users, whether they are horses, cyclists or pedestrians. Maybe you, the driver, are in a rush but what’s saving five minutes of your drive compared with someone or something’s life. Please always pass other road users with care.”
Thames Valley police said that, at this stage, nobody has been reported for any offence.