A rider has said she doesn’t think her mare will be the same again after she was struck in a terrifying hit and run which left her needing more than 100 stitches.
Niamh O’Connor from Nuneaton, Warwickshire was returning from a hack at Higham Lane on Tuesday (3 September) when a tractor towing a large trailer came round a bend.
“I was with my mum Emma and her horse Sukhi. I saw the tractor coming towards us and called out to my mum who was behind,” Niamh told H&H.
“I asked the driver to slow down with hand signals, but he just carried on. We were wearing high-vis so he should have seen us.”
Niamh said the tractor “flew past” and the trailer hit her 10-year-old thoroughbred mare Bonnie on her hind quarters.
“Bonnie didn’t spook, but she braced herself and turned her bum as the trailer came round the corner and it took her out. I didn’t know what had happened – next thing we were galloping down the road. My mum was screaming and shouting and the tractor drove off,” she said.
“Bonnie was petrified. She galloped for about a mile before I managed to pull her up in a gateway. I could see the whites of her eyes; she was in a blind panic. If a car had been on the road I think it would have been over for both of us. My mum eventually caught up with me and had blood splatters on her. I got off and my mum said: ‘Have you seen it?’”
Niamh said she thought Bonnie would have to be put down “there and then” when she saw her injuries.
“The injury was close to her tail. I think if we’d been hit a second later it could have been her leg ,” she said.
“I phoned our yard owner and luckily she was able to come and pick us up. The vet met us at the yard and gave Bonnie pain relief and said she needed to go straight to hospital.”
Bonnie was assessed by the team at Chine House Veterinary Hospital and taken for surgery.
“The vets were really positive; though it looked really bad it was luckily just a flesh wound. She needed more than 100 stitches and staples. The team did an amazing job,” said Niamh.
“Bonnie has a drain in the wound and needs to stay in hospital a few more days. She will be on box rest with pain relief and antibiotics and we will need to be careful of infection once the drain comes out.”
Niamh, who was working towards elementary dressage, said she doesn’t think Bonnie will be the same again.
“It’s really upsetting. Bonnie is the loveliest more trusting mare, she didn’t deserve this. Some drivers had been brilliant earlier on; we had two motorbikes stop and another tractor pull in while we rode past, but some drivers are oblivious to horses. I won’t hack on the roads again,” she said.
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The rider is campaigning for safer roads after the frightening incident
‘This is happening all the time – we’re finding animals close to the road with swinging legs or deep cuts.
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“I reported the incident to the police. I’ve seen the same tractor before and think it might be local. The driver can’t get away with this — it will set an example to other drivers can do what they like.”
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said the force is investigating the incident.
“The driver failed to stop at the scene but has since been identified. Enquiries are continuing into the report,” said the spokesman.
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