‘I’ve had nightmares since’: horse hit by car wing mirror in frightening hit and run

  • A horse and rider narrowly escaped serious injury in a hit and run incident when a speeding car lost control and its wing mirror struck the mare.

    Samantha Barker and her friend Katherine Mellow were near their yard at Dawgates Lane, Nottinghamshire, on 27 May when they heard the car approaching.

    Samantha, who was riding her eight-year-old New Forest mare Millie, told H&H the black Volkswagen Golf appeared “way too fast”, braked, but lost control and skidded towards them.

    “The car narrowly missed Katherine, who was in front on her horse Vean, but I couldn’t go anywhere. The wing mirror hit Millie and broke off, she bolted and I fell off,” she said.

    “Millie took off back to the yard and Katherine followed her. Anything could have happened, Millie could have been hit by another car.”

    Samantha said the driver of the vehicle briefly stopped and claimed he was “only doing 50-55mph” before leaving the scene.

    “Two witnesses stopped and one gave me a lift back to the yard. All I could think about was Millie, I was shaking,” she said.

    Millie had friction marks on her side, but was otherwise uninjured in the incident. Samantha attended hospital and suffered bad bruising to her arm.

    “What happened was terrifying, I‘ve had nightmares about it since,” said Samantha.

    “It’s so lucky the car missed Katherine, she told me she didn’t know what she was going to find when she looked round.”

    Samantha reported the incident to the police.

    “Someone must know the driver,” she said. “It’s so frustrating, I’ve only just got my confidence back after breaking my pelvis in a fall two years ago. It feels like this will have set us right back.

    “Drivers need to understand we’re only pursuing our hobby. We’ve had all sorts from drivers giving us abuse – it’s disgusting. I want the council to put some horse warning signs up as there’s nothing on that road even though the yard is there. The road is a 60mph road, but that’s not a target. To some drivers it’s only a horse but to us they’re family.”

    A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police told H&H road users are being reminded to be vigilant on rural roads following reports of the hit and run.

    “After the incident the driver is reported to have sped off. It’s thought the car was left without a wing mirror and had visible front-end damage,” said the spokesman.

    Chief inspector Heather Sutton, rural crime lead for Nottinghamshire Police, added: “Driving off from the scene of an accident and not checking on the welfare of the rider is immoral and an offence, we will always conduct thorough enquiries wherever this has been reported to us.

    “We understand how frightening this must have been for the rider, who was left extremely shaken. It was very fortunate that the horse and rider weren’t seriously injured during the incident.”

    Chief inspector Sutton added that rural policing is something Nottinghamshire Police focuses heavily on, and the force has invested in projects such as new community hubs in areas to allow the police to serve those communities as effectively as possible.

    Continued below…

    “Equestrians in particular make up a large proportion of our rural communities, and we know that hacking is something that can be a really enjoyable part of having a horse. As such, we continue our work to ensure the roads are safe for everyone who uses them, whether on four wheels or four legs,” she said.

    “We would remind people of the additional hazards in rural areas and different users of rural roads and country lanes, and to take extra care when taking these routes.

    “Our enquiries into this incident are ongoing and we would urge anyone who saw the incident or with any information to get in touch on 101, quoting incident 356 of 27 May 2021.”

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