‘I still have flashbacks’: blameless driver who hit horse speaks out on emotional impact

  • A driver whose car was written off when she collided with a horse who had been spooked by a motorbike wants others to know the impact such accidents can have on all involved.

    Sadie Jeater was not at any fault for the collision, last October, but she still has flashbacks of hitting Rambo and his young rider Amy McKinnon.

    “As I felt the impact of Rambo, I looked up and straight into Amy’s eyes and thought ‘She’s only a kid. What’s happened?’” Sadie told H&H.

    Sadie said she, her partner and their 11-year-old son were driving between Storrington and Pulborough in West Sussex on 10 October, to visit her parents.

    “I drive that road all the time,” she said. “I came up to the bend and slowed right down, and I saw Rambo and Amy coming out of the bridleway to my left. I slammed my brakes on and swerved to try to miss them, but I hit them. Amy and her friend said a motorbike had spooked them. I didn’t see it; but he’d shot forward into the road and was coming towards me. My window smashed, and I saw Rambo rear up, and Amy come off.”

    Sadie pulled up and ran over to help Amy. She held her friend’s horse and spoke to police, and both girls’ parents when they arrived.

    “The parents were unbelievably amazing, even though I’d just hit their daughter and horse,” she said. “The police arrived and breathalysed me and Amy, which was fine, and Rambo was being loaded into a horsebox to go to the vet clinic.”

    Sadie’s car was written off but none of its passengers was harmed. Amy was checked by doctors but also avoided serious injury.

    The British Horse Society (BHS) has released a video covering the incident, from the perspectives of Amy, her mother Gaynor and Sadie. Rambo is recovering and back in work, and BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox said it was thanks to Sadie’s reactions that she managed to avoid a head-on collision with the horse, who could then have suffered far more serious injuries.

    Warning, video contains picture of injuries some might find upsetting

    Sadie, who herself used to ride, has always passed horses on the road appropriately.

    “I find it so upsetting this happened to someone like me who loves horses,” she said.

    “I’m just so glad Rambo and Amy are ok. He had lots of glass in his neck, one quite close to a main artery so he was lucky, and puncture wounds, plus he was all scraped; he’d knocked my wing mirror off.

    “We realised how lucky we all were but if there had been a car coming the other way, I’d probably be dead as there would have been a head-on collision. I didn’t even think about that, my main concern was not to hit the horse.”

    Sadie says that the incident has left its scars.

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    “I’m petrified now when I see a horse at a junction,” she said. “A couple of weeks later, there were two horses coming out; I started to shake, slowed down to about 10mph and was driving along in tears.

    “It’s really affected me; people need to know that there can be horses that you can’t see, and if there’s a warning sign, be vigilant. Drivers don’t understand that if you hit a horse, it stays with you for a long time.

    “My son struggled because of it too for a long time, and I still have flashbacks. I think it will affect me for many years.”

    Sadie has stayed in contact with Amy and Gaynor, and when lockdown restrictions allow, she will go to meet them all properly.

    “I’m going to take her a big box of chocolates,” she said.

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