‘He could have killed someone’: Trap driver tackles runaway pony to the ground after road accident

  • A pony has narrowly escaped serious injury thanks to the brave actions of his driver following an “horrific” hit and run collision.

    Charles Burnside had taken five-year-old Ragnar out on the roads in a trap for the first time when he was hit from behind.

    The impact flipped the carriage right over the 13hh coloured pony, so it landed in front of him with Charles still trapped underneath.

    The young gelding, who is usually very “level-headed”, took off , dragging his 25-year-old driver along the road.

    Once he escaped the overturned vehicle, Charles had to give chase to the pony who was heading downhill towards the traffic on the busy A21.

    He tackled the pony to the ground on a grass verge to stop him.

    “It was the pony’s first time out and he’d been absolutely fine with no issues at all, when a car came shooting round the corner and rammed into the back of them,” explained Jan Blumire, who has employed Charles at Chelsfield Equestrian Centre for the past four years.

    “When Charles got out from under the vehicle he had to go running after it down a steep hill. He managed to push the pony over — he doesn’t know how, we think he must have been running on adrenaline — but he said he had to in case it killed itself or someone else and it was the only way he could think of to stop it.

    “He did a fantastic job saving that pony,” she added. “Charles had big hoofprints on his back and concussion but his main concern was the pony who had done nothing wrong. He’d done such a lot of work preparing him and bonding with him.”

    Jan has been checking neighbouring houses’ CCTV to see if anyone has captured footage of the car and its driver, who left the scene immediately after the incident.

    “That was one of the things that upset Charles the most, that the driver just drove off,” Jan added. “And when he got to the main road, which was busy because of an air show, only one person stopped to help and held the pony’s head while he took off the traces.”

    The accident took place at around 10.30am on Sunday, 20 August at the junctions of Worldsend Lane and Church Road in Chelsfield, Kent, where Jan has previously hacked with children from her riding school.

    “Two weeks ago we were there with the kids and if the car had come round the corner, I hate to think what would have happened.

    “We don’t normally take the carriages out alone but as he was just going for a quick walk we thought he’d be fine — if anyone had been on the back they would most probably have been killed,” she said.

    Ragnar was “visibly shaking” after the incident and is “stiff” with a cut on his leg where he got caught in the traces.

    “He’s come out of it remarkably lightly, we’re worried about mental trauma more than anything else,” said Jan. “That pony has been faultless throughout his work and then this has happened but he has a sensible head and we’re hoping he’ll be OK.

    “He’s not a pony that would ever bolt but he was pretty frightened.”

    The shafts on the solid iron two-wheeled vehicle were also broken, requiring repair.

    “We use it for the young ones as it’s heavy and slows them down and it’s been surprisingly solid considering what’s happened to it,” Jan added.

    Anyone with information on the incident, which involved a black Renault Clio, should call police on 101.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    You may like...